38 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Dress for action[a] like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
7 when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Do some mental stretching: Imagine, for a moment, an infinite God. Not the nine pound baby Jesus with whom we’ve become so comfortable; not Guatama the Buddha, who was initially a Hindu man and then rejected some of the authority of the Vedas and found enlightenment, but the God of Infinity, Time and Space – the Creator. Imagine a deity that lives outside the limitations of time and inhabits all space from the void within atoms to the starry expanses without boundaries and outside solar systems. Make this God as big as you can comprehend, and then open your mind to the possibility if this being being larger than that, for a deity you can grasp is, by my measure, not much of a deity at all. Any respectable deity would be able to grasp me – not the reverse.
Once you have managed to imagine the infinite (don’t try too long), then imagine a funnel. It will have to be bigger than your oil change tool. Big enough at the top to swallow the infinite and small enough at the bottom to fit into our Milky Way solar system, then Earth, and then a continent. As the radius continues to dwindle, it will be the size of a small country, then a town, a cave, and finally, a feeding trough. That’s quite a reduction.
Put the infinite God at the top, and put a human infant at the bottom. Allow the funnel to filter out some things that Mankind can’t yet comprehend so that the human mind at the bottom end will be able to relate and be approachable to his fellow man, but allow the rest of the infinite knowledge and wisdom to flow into this tiny little time-released capsule. Make it time released so that the child will not be overwhelmed with his identity and purpose before his mind, will, and maturity can take it.
Now with the incomprehensible condensed down into the touchable, accelerate forward about 30 years in the life of the time-released capsule of this man, to a spot in His life where the slow release has allowed Him to come to understand this great reduction and His purpose in it. With the choice of an inestimable number of thoughts and words and phrases He could utter to state His purpose, He speaks:
11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
I would think that if I had only three years to enlighten mankind with my wisdom funneled in from my otherwise infinite perspective, I would never find a reason to repeat myself. But He did. And one of the thoughts that He stresses by repetition, He also stressed with his words:
13 Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’
The first time He said this, the church leaders had been scorning him for associating with undesirables: “tax collectors and sinners.” To this He explained that it is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick, and then spoke these mysterious words, telling the listeners to decipher them.
It wasn’t long at all before He and His apostles were accused again, by the self-proclaimed “righteous,” of working on the Sabbath – thus breaking a law. So he deals with the self-righteous legalism head on:
7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
It seems that when the Creator and God of the Universe reduced Himself to the form of a man and walked among mortals for what amounted to a few seconds of His existence, one idea that He urged was Mercy.
Not law, for it is unfulfillable, except by Him.
Not correction, for it is worthless, unless He has prepared the recipient.
Not sacrifice, for He is the only lasting sacrifice.
But Mercy. Compassion. He urged the legal and religious leaders to wrap their minds around this novel and foreign-to-them concept. He stated clearly that if they understood it they wouldn’t condemn the innocent, which would of course let justice roll, as He in is infinite capacity said back in the Old Testament:
“I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
I will not look upon them.
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
24 But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
So His interests do not lie in laws and monuments and prayerful offerings and gatherings, so much as Mercy shown in His name. Not that these other things are foul to Him, but they are not well received absent Love for our fellow man.
So He criticized the self-righteous and befriended the sinner, and even back in Old Testament times he rejected the worship of those who withheld mercy from those who needed it. He was unchanged in character though changed in form, and His character remains consistent to this day. Don’t waste your worship if you’re stingy with your love.