The mercy of God is one of the most precious realities in the world, one of the most revealing themes in all the Bible, and one of the most tragically misunderstood truths about God.
Many of us today are prone, by nature and nurture, to see God’s mercy as peripheral or incidental to who he is. We suspect that perhaps he shows mercy by accident or weakness. But if we let the Scriptures have their say, we will see that when God shows his mercy, he does so with utter intentionality and strength, and we as his creatures get our deepest glimpse of who he is not just in his sovereignty but his goodness. Not simply in his greatness but his gentleness. Not only in his towering might but also in his surprising tenderness.
What did Jesus mean by the expression “throwing bread to the dogs”? The Jews often spoke of the Gentiles with arrogance and insolence as “unclean dogs” since the Gentiles were excluded from God’s covenant and favor with Israel.
For the Greeks the “dog” was a symbol of dishonor and was used to describe a shameless and audacious woman. Matthew’s Gospel records the expression do not give dogs what is holy (Matthew 7:6). Jesus, no doubt, spoke with a smile rather than with an insult because this woman immediately responds with wit and faith – “even the dogs eat the crumbs”.
Make no mistake, God does make known his omnipotence. And he does show his righteous wrath. He is holy. To not demonstrate wrath in a world of sin and rebellion against him would be untrue to himself and unloving to his people. God is phenomenally powerful, beyond our human capacity to comprehend it.
He is the mercy-having God who invites us to look not only at his awesome authority and sovereign strength, but to set our eyes on his mercy and see into his very heart.
Entrust yourself to the God who has mercy.