Oh boy, another one-verser! Not sure I have time for that small of a chunk today! haha
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion,” Paul quotes from the Septuagint, the modern (to him) Greek Translation of the ancient Hebrew Scriptures. I’m curious about the context of this quote, and I notice my Bible has a footnote there citing Exodus 33:19. So like a time traveler I’m going to leap over there to check it out.
I learned that the quote is part of an answer to a question that God gave to Moses about 1,500 years before. The context is that Israel rebelled, God killed just a small %of them, and now is talking to Moses about how He will relate to the Israelites moving forward. When I got to the cited passage, I noticed one of the Net Bible footnotes referred to a John Piper article about the verse. Being a big fan of his, I decided to read what he said. Hoo Boy! I got more than I bargained for! If yesterday was looking at a passage with a microscope, today, we’re using an electron microscope! Needless to say I never did get back to Romans!
Here are a few key things I learned from Piper’s massive article:
Moses’ anxiety, therefore, about the future of Israel is resolved through a personal revelation of God as a God who is merciful and gracious. Who God is grounds the assurance of how he will act.
…we can say that God’s glory and his name consist fundamentally in his propensity to show mercy and his sovereign freedom in its distribution.
The circular idem per idem formula of the name—I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious—is closely akin to the name in Ex. 3:14—I am who I am—and testifies by its tautology to the freedom of God in making known his self-contained being.
That final quote was the most profound thing I read. God, “I AM who I AM,” needs no other credentials than Himself. He will do what He will do. He will show compassion and mercy on whomever He decides to show it. End of story.
I’m realizing today how much meat there is in the study of Scripture if we take the time to slow down and contemplate what it tells us.
Lord, I apologize for how often I’ve given Your Word no more than a cursory glance–as if it is a newspaper, rather than looking at it as life-giving nourishment for my soul.
Any other initial thoughts on today’s lonely verse? If you have any insights, stories, or thoughts about today’s passage, please comment below! Thanks!