Exhibiting the compassion of a parent with a child

“Like a father has compassion on his children,
so Yahweh has compassion on those who fear him.”

Psalm 103:13

Almost every mention of compassion in the Old Testament is about God’s compassion toward his people. God is frequently depicted as a loving God who, like a father caring for a child, provides for the needs of his people in a gentle and caring manner.

Isaiah 49:15: ““Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, these may forget, yet I will not forget you!”

Psalm 103:13: “Like a father has compassion on his children, so Yahweh has compassion on those who fear him.”

The apostle Paul carries this idea into the New Testament as he quotes from the Septuagint, keeping this image of God as the Father of all those who believe.

2 Corinthians 6:18: “I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

The picture of a parent with a child helps us to more fully understand the compassion of God towards his people. A baby has no ability to help itself in any aspect of its life, whether being fed, changed, dressed, or comforted; all these things require someone else’s help and assistance.

It is small wonder than that God chooses to use this image as a way of describing his care for his people. As a parent tenderly cares for the needs of a helpless child, so God watches over those who call him Father.

Similarly, we are expected to demonstrate the same level of compassion to our own believing brothers and sisters, as well as to everyone else.

Colossians 3:12: “Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance…”

We can obtain a better grasp of the type of compassion God intends us to have with others by using the picture of a parent with a child. What physical or emotional requirements do they have? How can we make up for what they lack? In what practical ways can we comfort them?

This simple thought exercise may prompt us to evaluate how we connect with people and to truly reflect on the levels of compassion we are expected, as God’s people, to demonstrate in this world.

If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

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