GOD IS COMPASSIONATE AND MERCIFUL
All creation is called to worship the Creator. He is so
incredible that it would be difficult to grasp who he is if
it were not for the fact that he has introduced himself to
mankind. He introduced himself to Moses and we can
read of the account in Exodus 34.
It is truly amazing that the first thing God reveals about
His name (or character) was that He is merciful and
compassionate. One might think that God would have
revealed his power and strength but it was his mercy
and compassion that God wanted Moses to know about.
Israel had sinned against God and broken His covenant
with them. They deserved judgement, but God relented.
But this is not just a one-time event. It happened
Consider the prayer of Nehemiah. "But they (Israel)
were disobedient and rebelled against you; they put
your instructions (torah) behind their backs (meaning
they ignored what God said). They killed your prophets,
who had admonished them in order to turn them back to
you; they committed awful blasphemies. So you handed
them over to their enemies, who oppressed them. But
when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From
heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion
you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the
hand of their enemies. But as soon as they were at rest,
they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you
abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that
they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you
again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion
you delivered them time after time (Nehemiah 9:26-28).
God's compassion isn't just sympathy. When we see
someone in trouble, we can feel bad for them, but God's
compassion is so deep that it goes beyond relieving our
pain or discomfort. He wanted Moses to know that his
compassion was for his people who rebelled and brought
all kinds of trouble on themselves.
Exodus 32 tells us that Moses got so angry at the
people that he broke the tablets that God made.
In contrast, God wanted Moses to know that he was full
of compassion and mercy even for people who were
setting up and worshipping idols.
There is a place in Australia that has become a
favourite spot for those who want to commit suicide.
It is a rocky cliff near Sydney Harbour called The Gap.
For nearly 50 years, a man named Don Ritchie has
lived across the street from The Gap. Don sees it as his
responsibility to try to keep people from jumping over.
It is estimated he has saved more than 160 lives by
offering conversation, coffee or tea. In some way, he
tries to bring them hope. Don keeps a constant vigil
toward the cliff with binoculars. On at least one
occasion, a person almost dragged Don over the cliff.
He has been described as an angel. The reporter telling
his story reports that Don has said, "You can't just sit
there and watch them. You gotta try and save them. It's
That's what God does. He watches with compassion and
mercy, then he does what he can to stop people from
Aren't you glad that God is compassionate and
merciful? He is worthy of all the worship and praise that
we can possibly offer.
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