Mercy Road Daily Prayer & Bible Reading ~ Thursday, March 22, 2012

~ Read Exodus 23-24

Lord God,

Some people look at your word and see restrictions, but I see freedom. Some people look at your word and see rules, but I see love. I see the story of how you redeemed your people, and saved them from their sin. I see the revelation of your justice and mercy. I see an illustration, of how I should serve you. I see a picture of your truth and grace. Gracious God, when I look at your word and study what it says, I see instructions on how to love others, just as you loved me, not so they think well of me, or sing my praises, but simply so you receive the glory you deserve for saving my life.

At the same time, Lord, I must confess, as you already know, that I'm pretty bad at doing what you ask me to do. I'm often false and malicious toward others who say things about me and hurt my "self-righteous" ego. I'm not always good about resisting the crowd when they are doing wrong. I regularly pervert justice by skewing things to my own advantage, and I show favoritism so much, I'm usually not aware I'm doing it anymore.

Though I can't recall ever stealing a physical item from anyone, I know I've stolen others' confidence with the harsh criticisms I've spewed from my mouth. I'm certain I've robbed them of their dignity and grace with my mocking and gossip. I know I've failed to speak your truth in love every time I haven't encouraged others through your goodness and grace. I know my own wickedness, Lord, and it sickens me to look at it. I'm ashamed to know that it's inside of me.

Yet, your commands are not meant to shame us, Lord. It's not your goal that we should despair. On the contrary, you gave the law to reveal the extent of our brokenness. You gave your commands to demonstrate how much we fall short of your glory. You gave your law, to show us just how far you needed to go, to redeem your people from their slavery to sin and save them from the destruction that they faced. You gave it, not to restrict our freedom, but to set us free from our guilt, which we could not have seen without your law. So, I celebrate your law, Lord, just as I celebrate your love. Because I am no longer bound by the requirements of the law, I am free to live by your grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Guide me, Lord, and prepare the way for me as I live to glorify you today. Fill me with your Spirit, that I might proclaim your grace and truth to everyone I meet. Give me a humble and kind heart, for I admit that sometimes it's hard to feel compassion for others when I think they've gotten what they deserve. Mend my brokenness, and heal my sinful heart. Confirm your promise of salvation through Christ, that I might always be yours, and you might always be mine.

By your grace and for your eternal glory I pray, Amen.