Mercy, forgiveness and the ways of God. A reflection
1. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
A closer analysis of the whole context in the preceding verses and the previous chapter show that God here is teaching by analogy a very important lesson on forgiveness and the resulting effects of the demonstration of compassion, mercy and grace, attributes of His divine nature. The way I understand it, He is saying that whereas man would exact payment for food and water and work for wages, God gives freely and graciously if wicked man would turn to him and receive pardon. Whereas man in his natural state would not forgive wrong done to him and retaliate, seeking revenge, the Lord is compassionate and forgiving. So, to this extent and in this sense, it is true that man is unlike God. It reveals more about the pettiness of man´s spirit contrasted with the magnanimous, compassionate loving heart of our merciful Father.
12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[c] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,“Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”But we have the mind of Christ.”
2. “And your ways are not my ways.”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21,22. NIV While man since the dawn of time has sought revenge, the Lord God full of compassion and forgiveness has reconciled us to himself through the sacrifice of his Son, the Lord Jesus-Christ. It is He through the operating power of the Holy Spirit who gives us the will, the courage and the strength to seek reconciliation and to forgive those who offend us. The Lord does not ask us to do whatever He commands us without giving us specific instructions, clear explanations and strength to do His will.
Revelation 22:12,16,17 sets the final stage: 12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man [g]according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things [h]for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
In Isaiah 55, the Lord alone extends an invitation to the sinner hungry and thirsty for real spiritual bread and water because of His mercy and compassion for His rebellious wayward children.
Now, it is at the end of the time of grace, the church age, that finally the bride (the church) and the Lord Jesus (who is the spirit of prophecy) both in one accord reiterate the invitation to those who hear and desire to come and share of the heavenly banquet. 17The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. 18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and [i]from the holy city, which are written in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with [j]all. Amen.