To say that God is compassionate is an understatement. All throughout the Bible, God is listed as the merciful one, a God of mercy and compassion.
Jonathan Gill in his Bible exposition states that this type language is not only rich within the pages of scripture, but it’s also all through the Jewish writings:
nothing is more common in Zohar, and the Talmud than to express the Divine Being by no other name, than “the Merciful”; “the Merciful said” so, and so; that is, God: and so the Arabians generally begin their books and chapters with these words, “in the name of God, exceeding merciful”, or “the merciful commiserator”…
The Hebrew word for merciful is defined with some of the following expanded ideas: “to stroke or lovingly caress, or to be secure as within a womb.” Based on these concepts, we can come to understand that to be merciful is to care and protect for another as if that person was their very own helpless child. This refines the definition to the point of a needle: to truly express compassion is to lovingly help those who are helpless.
Almost every biblical reference in a search of the word merciful comes up as a description of God, with only few exceptions.
Proverbs 11:17: “The merciful man does good to his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.”
This proverb speaks of how God rewards the merciful, because in expressing mercy and compassion, a person is reflexively doing what’s best for their own soul, since God will reward them for their faithfulness in caring for those unable to help themselves.
All of Psalm 112 is an ode to the righteous person, the one who fears God and keep his commandments. According to this psalm, this quality of mercy is a predominant aspect of righteous living.
Psalm 112:4-6: “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright, gracious, merciful, and righteous. It is well with the man who deals graciously and lends. He will maintain his cause in judgment. For he will never be shaken. The righteous will be remembered forever.”
As we recognize God’s most dominant quality of mercy and compassion, we should be filled with the same quality as we seek to emulate him. As we are made in his image, we share his qualities, and our responsibility is to reflect those qualities around us in this life.
This is the message that Yeshua encourages us, rather commands us, to be engaged with if we are to be considered children of God.
Luke 6:36: “Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful.”
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