Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Table of Tender Mercies

Let, I pray, Your merciful kindness be for my comfort,
According to Your word to Your servant.
Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live;
For Your law is my delight.
(Psalm 119:76-77)
The Hebrew word translated “merciful kindness,” in verse 76, is chesed, the steadfast love by which God has promised to love us, to show us His mercy and be kind to us. It is His favor, the manifestation of His grace toward us. It is His covenant with His people, and we can trust in it fully. The “comfort” the psalm writer seeks is the comfort of a repentant heart, for he is aware of his shortcomings, and brings them to the Lord that he might find the relief of grace, mercy and forgiveness.

The word for “tender mercies,” in verse 77, speaks of a compassionate and tender love, as of a father toward his child. The psalm writer seeks the manifestation of Father God’s heart so that he may truly know and enjoy what life is all about. For he takes great pleasure in the law (Hebrew torah) of God, the wisdom and instruction He has given to His people.

So here is the eager anticipation of covenant and mercy and forgiveness, and even instruction for living from the father-heart of God. And all of this can be found at the Table of the Lord, the Table of Tender Mercies.

In Jesus Christ we have forgiveness of sins, and the tender mercies of the Father’s heart poured out for us, and we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). When Jesus took the cup and gave it to His disciples, He said, “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). It is the promise of God to be kind toward us and show us His mercy and favor, and it was won for us at the cross, where Jesus died in our place.

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Law of God and all its commandments, and in Him, we are made the righteousness of God. So all the blessings and promises that belong to the righteous now belong to us, if we have received the Lord Jesus.

The Table of the Lord, His body given for us and His blood shed for us, is the sign of our covenant with God, that we are truly accepted in Jesus Christ, and that the Father will show us every kindness. We can always find comfort and relief, and joy for living at this Table — the Table of Tender Mercies.