Mercy over sacrifice, that’s what it’s all about.
Mercy over sacrifice, there truly is no doubt
That God prefers mercy over all sacrifice made by man.
It’s not about man’s sacrifice but God’s own gospel plan.
We see God’s mercy demonstrated in the book of Job
(Which doesn’t rhyme with mob but with words like ‘ear lobe’).
The book starts off with Job, who’s working hard to please the Lord,
And yet what God requires is much more than he can afford.
Mercy over sacrifice is what God does prefer,
Yet Job, it seems, relies on his own efforts to ensure
That nothing bad will happen to him or his family,
Concerned for his children, he sacrifices constantly.
Now, God could have told Satan, “Job is way too proud for me.
His self-reliance does defy my law of liberty.
Job’s armpits drip with fear. His brow reeks with uncertainty.
It’s utter foolishness. Why don’t you humble him for me?”
But God, who’s rich in mercy, didn’t take that tack at all.
His heart was not to set the innocent up for a fall.
His goal, it seems, was to reveal the gospel to this man,
For the One who suffers with us all had formed a mighty plan.
It wasn’t something Job could understand inside his head,
Or wrap his mind around. He must experience it instead:
Not from a savior’s point of view, but from a sinner’s seat.
He must sit in the pit of misery and feel the heat.
Until you’ve truly suffered, it is hard to understand
The Father’s fervent love for you, the mercy he has planned.
For pain that has no purpose lacks the mighty healing touch
That flows from stripes laid on the back of Him who cares so much!
It’s mercy over sacrifice, for through God’s stripes we’re healed.
For through Christ’s sacrifice God’s wondrous mercy is revealed.
When you read through the book of Job, you see he wasn’t perfect. For though he worked hard and sacrificed greatly for his family, something was missing in his life. There were things about God that He didn’t understand. For example, in the midst of Job’s suffering, after Satan has afflicted him, he asks God, “How many sins have I committed? Show me! What have I done wrong? Why do hide your face from me and treat me like your enemy? … For you write bitter things against me, and make me to possess the iniquities of my youth.” (Job 13:23-26)
The reference to iniquities in his youth show that Job was not perfect in the sense of being sinless. However, exposing those sins is not the purpose of the Job book, for when you read the beginning, you see no mention of God punishing him for those sins. Like every man, Job had his flaws, but when God spoke to Satan about Job, He left the past in the past and focused on Job’s good points.
“Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil?” (Job 1:8 KJV) Note: to eschew does not mean to chew on. If anything, it means the exact opposite!
The fact remains, Job was a man like no other, and God had blessed him in his work. Throughout the land there was no equal when it came to fearing God and eschewing evil (to eschew evil = tell evil to “shoo!”)
God spoke glowingly to Satan of Job’s perfect behavior, just as He spoke well of His creation in the book of Genesis. He called everything He made “very good,” not “very bad.” Even after the first people sinned, he didn’t call them bad names. Instead, He provided the promise of a Savior, the “seed of the woman” who would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15). No sacrifice of man could ever atone for his sin, but from the beginning God chose mercy over sacrifice: His mercy, not man’s mercy. There’s a big difference between the two.
After all, to forgive is divine but to feel guilty is human. If you’ve ever felt guilty for something you’ve done, join the club! Do sins of the past continue to haunt you? If so, then what do you imagine God would say? Would He yell at you to stop messing up and order you to get your act together? Would He demand more sacrifice from you? Some people sacrifice continually, trying to please God and/or provide for their families. But it never seems to be enough. Inside they feel condemned, but God’s heart is not to condemn them.
Note that God did not accuse Job before Satan. Satan was the one who accused Job before God. “If you take away his blessings, he’ll curse you to your face.”
For the purpose of proving Satan wrong, God allowed him to afflict Job – not once, but twice. Job lost his business and his family in one day. It was all wiped out. His business was attacked by Sabeans and Chaldeans. All his animals were killed and so were all his employees.
In fact, before every test Job endures, God is quick to point out what Job has done right.
“Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil? And still he holds fast his integrity, although thou moved me against him, to destroy him without a cause.” (Job 2:3)
Although it may seem as if God was, in fact, punishing Job, the purpose of the test is clearly not to find fault with Job but to prove the glory of God’s good name. For the sufferings of Job are nothing compared to the sufferings of Christ, yet in the book of Job we find some small picture of those sufferings, and (at the end) a spiritual resurrection from the dead.