The God Who Is Compassionate
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:11)
Compassion is not the most common quality today. It’s what most people know they ought to have more of, but which they relegate to ‘special people’, like the Mother Theresa’s of this world. What a contrast this is to God, who throughout the Scriptures is constantly seen as compassionate.
By the end of this book, you will have read about God’s revelation of himself to Moses on Mount Sinai several times. That’s because, if there’s any passage of Scripture we never get tired of recalling, it’s this one; when God said he was ‘the Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin’ (Exodus 34:6-7). And this fantastic truth is picked up again and again.
David recalled it as the basis of his confidence that God forgives sin: ‘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’ (Psalm 51:1-2). Isaiah recalled it as the basis of his certainty that God wanted to bless his people: ‘Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion’ (Isaiah 30:18). Jeremiah recalled it as the basis of his prophecy that God would restore his people to their land: ‘But after I uproot them, I will again have compassion and will bring each of them back to his own inheritance and his own country’ (Jeremiah 12:15). Nehemiah recalled it as he gratefully reviewed the history of God’s people, remembering that ‘in your compassion you delivered them time after time’ (Nehemiah 9:28). Paul recalled it as the basis of his confidence that God is with us in every circumstance of life: ‘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’ (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
God’s compassion – not just felt, but demonstrated - is still ‘alive and well’ and available to each one of us today. Recall it – and claim it!
Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2:13)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont
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