Bible Reading: Isaiah 58:1-14
Showing mercy towards others is to walk in the way that Jesus walked. He felt people’s pain and was full of compassion. The heart of mercy, as in all that we do in the name of Jesus, is an issue of the motives and attitude of our heart.
- Those who show mercy receive mercy, but we must careful that the receiving of mercy does not become the motive for being merciful.
- Although in mercy we might help people financially, we must be careful that we don’t excuse our responsibilities by just giving money and thinking that we have “done our bit!”
- Some people care out of a sense of needing to be needed and even people who have experienced rejection might care for people in the hope of gaining acceptance.
- We need to be aware that we don’t care for people in order to gain merit, or find acceptance with God! No amount of “doing good” can earn us acceptance or favour with God!
- We must not carry people’s burdens in such a way that we hinder them from coming to God – or that we become a replacement for God, and they lean on us and not the Lord Himself.
We must always be careful that we don’t use the care of others to mask our own personal needs, or be manipulative for personal gain.
Whilst we must be aware of these dangers, it is equally important that we recognise how much loving care for those in need pleases the heart of God.
In Matthew 25:34-46, Jesus speaks of ministering to the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the sick, and those in prison, and says that as we care for them we are ministering to Him.
In James 1:27, the writer says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world”.
In his epistle, John says that we should love in deed and truth and not in word only [1 John 3:16].
Isaiah says that religion for religion’s sake is worthless. Religious ceremony and fasting that does not issue from a holy life and that that does not minister to the bound, the oppressed, the hungry, poor, and naked, and our own flesh and blood is of no value.
What are the amazing promises in Isaiah 58 given to those who show compassion towards the needy? See if you can find nine wonderful promises between Isaiah 58 verse 8 and verse 12.
Who are some of the needy people that God speaks of in His word and who need compassion and care? What would the Lord have you to do?
Read Job 42:10. What happened to Job when he prayed for His friends?