“Your mercy, O Lord,
fills the earth.
Teach me your laws.”
“Mercy” and the “Laws” usually are not two words that normally go together in my head.I would normally think of “LAW” as the standard from which I would need the “MERCY.”
In reality, most of us need mercy because we have screwed up a law.
The Psalm writer has a perspective of this earth that sees God’s mercy as the primary reality of his experience. He has experienced great mercy throughout his life. Once we truly realize God’s Laws we see how much mercy God hasgiven us all along.
When I first stepped into the desert world of my Saharawi people, I was a “westerner” who crashed into their Bedouin culture. I had no idea of the values and traditions that were so deeply woven into their thoughts, values, and actions. I wasn’t handed a manual of “do’s and don’t” when I arrived. They just graciously moved with me as I stumbled along as a Westerner in their Eastern world. (Who knew that we shouldn’t walk in front of everybody to find our seat in the “tea circle”…. Or that we ladies shouldn’t stand with the sunlight behind us, illuminating the shorts and tank tops we wore under the gauzey wraps in the 120 degree heat, … or that we should walk behind everyone as we went to our seats around the tea circle…etc., etc., etc.) They were too polite to say anything about how offensive and inappropriate our actions were to their cultural ‘laws.”
When we finally realized that we were trouncing all over their cultural “laws” and began learning and following them, we all collectively breathed a sigh of relief! We hadn’t learned their “laws” of appropriate cultural codes. Once we did, and began to practice them, things took a beautiful turn for the better. They felt so honored that we would choose to adjust “our ways” to embrace their world.
It’s like that with God. When we step into God’s Kingdom, He does not slap a long list of Laws into our hands and require us to memorize and follow all of them. We never could. But His Mercy patiently allows us to be in relationship with Him, even though we are doing so many things “wrong.” As we begin to find our footing in His Kingdom, we begin to wantto know His Ways….so that we can walk in them as we follow Him, out of the growing love between us.