February 13, 2017
All through the scriptures God is described as compassionate. I would imagine that most of us would include the word “compassion” when describing God or His attributes. However, if you are like me, that word has been used so often in our vocabulary about God, that it has lost its strength, its potency. What do the scriptures mean when they say that God is compassionate? How does believing in a compassionate God shape the way that I see Him, shape the way that I see the world?
Compassion is a ache deep within for someone else. It is seeing the suffering of someone else and desiring to remove that suffering. Mirriam-Webster defines compassion as the “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it”. So is that what God is doing when He has compassion on us? Does He see our suffering and desire to remove it?
In scripture we can see that God demonstrates His compassion to us by…
Treating us like a father would treat his children.
Psalm 103:13 – As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
Being slow to anger and rich in love.
Psalm 145:8-9 – The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
Comforting us in our troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
In the Bible, when David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and then murdering her husband, Nathan the prophet confronted him. David, heartbroken by grievousness of his sin, went to God and plead with God to blot out his sin. David knew he could go to God with this request because of God’s compassion.
Psalm 51:1-2 – Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
In the Book of Lamentations the writer mourns about the invasion of Jerusalem. The book is riddled with the description of how this once proud city was devastated and its people destroyed. Yet in the middle of the mournful tale comes words of hope because of God’s love and compassion. His compassion never fails. It is new every morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23 – Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Jesus also shows us God’s compassion. It moved Him to take action.
He touched the untouchable leaper.
Mark 1:41 – Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. “I am willing,” He told him. “Be made clean.” (HCSB)
He raised a widow’s only son from the dead.
Luke 7:12-14 – Just as He neared the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was also with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said, “Don’t cry.” Then He came up and touched the open coffin, and the pallbearers stopped. And He said, “Young man, I tell you, get up!” (HCSB)
He fed the hungry.
Matthew 15:32 – Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”
He healed the sick.
Matthew 14:14 – When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
He made the bind see.
Matthew 20:32-34 – Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
He taught the people.
Mark 6:34 – When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Reading through these verses it is clear that God has compassion on the people He made. He isn’t a far-off God, unconcerned with our life and struggles. Instead He gets into our world. He feels our pain. He sees us. AND THEN HE ACTS.
This is so beautiful, so wonderful. We serve such an incredible and amazing God that He would choose to act on our behalf with compassion.
Where do you see God’s compassion in your own life?
Do you see Him touching your hurts, healing your sickness, teaching you? To be honest I would be hard pressed to give you a personal example of God’s compassion in my own every-day life. Sure, I’ve seen God’s compassion in the hard times, when my heart has been broken, but in the normal day-to-day, not so much. But after reading through the verses above, I am sure that God is dealing compassionately with me on a daily basis. Open my eyes, Lord, to see Your compassion for me. Help me not to miss all the ways that you show me compassion on a daily basis.
What are your favorite scriptures about the compassion of God? Has God shown you compassion in a life changing way or maybe in a simple day-to-day way? Feel free to share in the comments.
Do you have a relationship with our compassionate God? Perhaps this idea intrigues you, but you’ve never really made the choice to accept Jesus’s sacrifice. If you want to learn more about God’s heart for you and how to begin a relationship with Him, head over to the post on Salvation to walk through the steps. May God bless you on your journey and discovery of Him.