Matthew 5:7, blessed are the merciful
5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
(Matt 5:7 WEB)
Give mercy, get mercy
All who have ever had to stand trial from some crime, even if it was only a childhood misdemeanor, are probably familiar with the longing that their judgement will prove merciful.
The Hebrew Bible repeatedly extols the God of Israel as merciful, so much so that King David, when faced with the option of judgement at the hands of men or judgement at the hands of God, opts unequivocally for the latter “for his mercies are great” (2 Sam 24:14). God is merciful and values mercy amongst his servants. Repeated warnings, time for amendment of lifestyle, probationary second chances and restorative punishment are all characteristic of God’s dealings with humanity.
Whilst the Lord abounds in mercy, he is also uncompromisingly just, so whilst the merciful get treated with mercy, woe betide the merciless. Yet even they are not without hope. When the justice of God’s way is acknowledged, the merciful obtain mercy, as exemplified by an incident involving the great Chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar. The king, having ignored a prophetic warning to show mercy to the poor, was robbed of his reason until at last he came to accept, of God, “all his works are truth, and his ways justice; and those who walk in pride he is able to abase” (Dan 4:37 WEB). Nebuchadnezzar, having decided that he should show mercy to the poor, himself received mercy.