The Old Testament (except for a few Aramaic chapters in the books of Ezra, Jeremiah, and Daniel) is written entirely in Hebrew. Hebrew is a beautiful language with rich words that often contain nuances our English versions can’t convey.
For instance, the Hebrew word racham is usually translated “compassionate” or “merciful.” That’s an accurate rendering of the term.
However, racham is also related to the same root word that is translated “womb.” Add racham’s meaning to its etymology and you get the picture of the affection and care an expectant mother has for the new life growing inside her.
This is what biblical compassion is, and these insights give us a more complete understanding of our compassionate God.
He’s a God of care and kindness. He remembers. He’s empathetic and tender. He hurts when those He loves are hurting.
But divine compassion doesn’t just stop with concern. God doesn’t just feel badly for those in trouble. He’s protective.
He swings into action to defend His own.
God’s compassion can affect our lives in two distinct ways: It should give us confidence in His promises, and it should fill us with compassion for others.
When Jesus told His disciples to love others, He was telling them to show others the compassion that God had shown them. God’s power isn’t only seen in His ability to control and exert His will.
Often it’s most clearly seen through acts of mercy, kindness, and love.
What does the gospel tell us? If someone is lonely, sit with him. If someone is thirsty, give her something to drink. If someone is cold, give him a blanket.
If someone is homeless, take her under your roof. If someone doesn’t know about Jesus, tell them the Good News. Tell that person about the compassionate God.
We are best able to show compassion when we have first been on the receiving end of divine compassion.
In what ways have you experienced the compassion of God? How can you offer it to others?