Rules of Mercy

Exodus 25:16–22, Isaiah 33:17–22, Psalm 118 (read online ⧉)

So much of the Levitical law was about the dos and don’ts. Israelites and (later) Christians became overly concerned about the blood being shed, and all the sins committed requiring it. Yet, God set out an expectation that was right there for anyone to see, if they were able.

God talks about the Ark of the Covenant in this passage. The box that carried the 10 Commandments, a sample of mana, and later Aaron’s sprouted staff was capped with the mercy seat. The mercy seat. All of this was covered by mercy. God’s mercy. Then God goes and states that the mercy seat is where God will meet the people.

Why is this significant? Perhaps if people had focused on mercy, rather than the rules, God’s great commandments (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.) would not have been so lost in rules that were lived out in a way that made God into a horrible vicious creature that so many people feared (the bad kind of fear) and didn’t love.

When you can “see” God as sitting on the mercy seat, you can better understand Isaiah’s words about the beauty of God. Isaiah continues on about the majesty of God. This passage ends with God being judge (with mercy), lawgiver (in mercy), and king (of mercy).

1) Having a right understanding of God is essential to having a good relationship with God. Can you have a good relationship with someone seemingly always angry, bitter, belittling, dismissive, judgemental, unforgiving, or harsh?

2) If we do not start with God seated on the mercy seat, how would we relate to God?

3) When we read Psalm 118 we read about God being the source of true salvation. How does this fit into the narrative of God being seated on the mercy seat?