The Compassion Of The LORD…

Purpose of life = knowing the LORD—
being reborn/forgiven/adopted so we can know Him personally—
the Lord Jesus died to give us access to the Father,
to reconcile our relationship to Him.

That’s ultimately why we gather in a local church—
there are many other reasons, but they’re branches of the tree:
the roots & trunk are knowing the Trinity more closely.

We can serve people but not know them personally—
civil servants in a town, cleaners at a hotel, chefs at a restaurant,
pilots on an airplane, construction workers on a house, etc.

We must not lapse into this with the LORDserving Him but not knowing Him.

Matthew 7:22-23: “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord,
did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons
and in your name perform many miracles?’
23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

Ultimately, knowing the LORD is the fuel to serving Him.

Hebrews 12:1-3: “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

And not just knowing the LORD but enjoying Him:
You can know a sunset has colors without enjoying & basking in the colors.
You can know the ingredients of a meal–and even eat it–without actually enjoying it.

So let’s gaze at God & bask in Him & know Him & enjoy Him!

Last post: the willingness of God.
This post: the compassion of God.

Compassion: Occurs 82x in the Bible—
68x in the Old Testament, 14x in the New Testament
(God is the same in BOTH testaments!)

Hebrew word: raham: “to love deeply like parents; to demonstrate mercy,
refers to a strong love which is rooted in some kind of natural bond,
often from a superior to an inferior. Small babies evoke this feeling…”
(NIV Key Word Study Bible).

Greek word: splanchnizomai: “…being so moved by something
that you feel it deep in your stomach [or bowels].
The closest translation that we have is, possibly, ‘gut-wrenched’” (https://www.lifefm.co.nz/more/word-for-you-today/item/2788-%27splagchnizomai%27-).

Let’s look at some passages in the Bible where these words are used:

Exodus 22:26-27: “If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, 
return it by sunset, 27 because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has.
What else can they sleep in?
When they cry out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.”

2 Kings 13:22-23: Hazael king of Aram oppressed Israel
throughout the reign of Jehoahaz.
23 But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion
and showed concern for them because of his covenant 

[b/c of His promise, not our performance, His character, not ours!]

with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.

2 Chronicles 30:8-9: Do not be stiff-necked, as your ancestors were;
submit to the Lord.
Come to his sanctuary,
which he has consecrated forever.
Serve the Lord your God,
so that his fierce anger will turn away from you.
If you return to the Lord,
then your fellow Israelites and your children
will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land,
for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. 
He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.”

Nehemiah 9:16-19: 16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked,
and they did not obey your commands.
17 They refused to listen and failed to remember
the miracles you performed among them.
They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion
appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. 

But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, 
slow to anger and abounding in love. 
Therefore you did not desert them,
18 even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘
This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’
or when they committed awful blasphemies.
19 “Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness.

Isaiah 30:15-18: This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,

but you would have none of it.
16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ [we will save ourselves!]
Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ [we’ll rely on our own strength/goodness!]
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you will all flee away,

till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.”

18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 49:14-16: 14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.

Jeremiah 31:18-20: “I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning:

‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined.
Restore me, and I will return, because you are the Lord my God.
19 After I strayed, I repented;
after I came to understand, I beat my breast.

I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’

20 Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight?
Though I often speak against him, I still remember him.
Therefore my heart yearns for him;
I have great compassion for him,” declares the Lord.

Lamentations 3:19-23: 19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:32: Though he brings grief,
he will show compassion,

so great is his unfailing love.

Joel 2:12-13: “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

13 Rend your heart and not your garments.
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.

Micah 7:18-19: Who is a God like you, who pardons sin
and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Malachi 3:16-18: 1Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other,
and the Lord listened and heard.
A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence
concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.

17 “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty,
“they will be my treasured possession.
I will spare them, just as a father has compassion
and spares his son who serves him.
18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked,
between those who serve God and those who do not.

Matthew 9:35-37: “Jesus went through all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the good news of the kingdom
and healing every disease and sickness.

36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them,
because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

37  [Mark 6:34 includes: So he began teaching them many things.]

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Luke 15:17-20: “When he came to his senses, he said,
‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare,
and here I am starving to death!
18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him:
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son;
make me like one of your hired servants.’
20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off,
his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him;
he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

[+ robe, sandals, ring, & sacrifice for a party!]

James 5:10-11:  Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering,
take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered.
You have heard of Job’s perseverance
and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

My dear friends, are you basking in
the character & compassion of the LORD?

You cannot enjoy a movie without paying attention to it,
without thinking about it.
You cannot enjoy a meal without actually thinking about what you are eating—

it’s possible to gulp/eat food but not actually taste it, not enjoy it!

Same with God, & not enjoying Him
affects our ability to be nourished by Him—
we must learn to enjoy Him,
to think about Him,
to taste & see that the LORD is good (Psalm 34)!
We must learn to actually think about His compassion
in order to enjoy His compassion.

How?

Learn to think of Him more often, quantity & quality:
weave thoughts of Him into every area of our lives,
from chores to the cubicle to the cul-de-sac to the classroom to the checkout line.
Not easy, but worth it!
Like football players who carry the ball with them everywhere they go in school…

Many feel that God is far from us because, well,
our minds are far from Him.
We wont feel close to the LORD &
wont get much out of a worship service/Bible study
if we think about Him in a few compartmentalized moments each week.

What does this look like?

  • Next time you eat a veggie or piece of fruit,
    be amazed that your heavenly Father made that piece with His hands…
    and sent it to you personally,
    more faithfully than amazon prime delivering your stuff
    and more lovingly than mom or dad thoughtfully packing your lunch
    when you were a child.
    .
  • Next time you do laundry or fold your clothes,
    think of the Lord Jesus’ blood which alone
    can remove the sin-stains of our souls,
    which cleans us from crimson red to pure white.
    Think of His robe of righteousness that covers
    your formerly sinful nakedness.
    Rejoice & be glad & do your laundry & clothes shopping
    while thinking of what He’s done for you.

Finally, what is the opposite of compassion? Hard-heartedness.

Not noticing suffering & ignoring it,
or noticing & not caring, not being moved in our bowels.

When our hearts our hard, it is because we are not staring at/thinking about
the LORD’s compassion toward us (which we don’t deserve!).

We must continually put our hard hearts under the Living Waters
of the compassion of Christ thru the cross,
or else our hearts toward God & others will be hard like sunbaked soil—
nothing can grow there; we become a dusty desert not a fertile field.

Closing Challenge

This compassion of the LORD, this mercy & tenderness
from the bowels of His being
is FOR YOU;
undeserved by you, unearnable by you, but FOR YOU PERSONALLY.

This is why the Lord Jesus went to the cross & suffered & died–
to show both the depth & peak of God’s compassion for sinners,
to pay Himself the sin-debt that we cannot pay ourselves,
to pay for the shame & guilt & rebellion of anyone
who cries out to Him for mercy by faith!

You can only receive it by faith, with repentance,
you can only enjoy it by
thinking about Him & crying out to Him & reflecting on Him,
applying His compassion to yourself by faith,
resting in it,
bringing it with you into every area of life, every classroom, so to speak, even RECESS!, learning to live as if it’s true because it is.

This post has been a flawed and imperfect description of a bike;
the rest of your day and your life on earth is thus learning
to ride that bike, trust it, get on and fall/scrape your knees
and get up and back on again.

Enjoying the LORD’s compassion is the difference between

running FROM God
and running TO God,

Enjoying the LORD’s compassion is the difference between

hiding FROM King Jesus
and hiding IN King Jesus…