Bonding ourselves to God through compassionate generosity

When we help those in need, it is as if we are binding ourselves together with God himself.

It is well documented within the word that God desires that those who have ability should lend to those in need.

  • Psalm 37:25-26: “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging for bread. All day long he deals graciously, and lends. His [the righteous one’s] offspring is blessed.”
  • Psalm 112:4-5: “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.”

Notice that in both instances the encouragement is to lend, not to give away. The word comes from the Hebrew root lavah, which means to be joined or twisted together, implying an obligation of a borrower still being joined to the lender until the money is repaid. This idea stems from the Torah command to be committed to assisting those who have either fallen on hard times or who could just use some assistance.

Leviticus 25:35 – “If your brother becomes destitute and cannot sustain himself among you, you are to support him as an alien or temporary resident, so that he can continue to live among you.”

In the foregoing psalms, the concept of lending to those in need leads to blessings and positive outcomes for those who lend to others. In the proverbs, a fine example of this type of lending provides us further insight into why it is that these blessings and favorable outcomes occur.

Proverbs 19:17: “He who has pity on the poor lends to Yahweh; he will reward him.”

Once again, the word for lend here comes from the root lavah. The idea being conveyed with the intent of the original words seems to be that those who extend kindness to the poor are in actuality lending to, that is joining together with, Yahweh himself. Now, it is Yahweh who is then joined together with the lender, which ensures that the lender is “rewarded” (defined more accurately as “made whole.”) It’s as if God is guaranteeing the lender will be made whole in some way, even if the human recipient never repays the kindness bestowed. Based on this type of logic, when we are faithfully and sacrificially helping those in need, it is as if we are binding ourselves together with God himself in a sacred bond that remains in place until it is completed.

This should give a whole different meaning and emphasis to our generosity in helping others. When we provide help in this fashion, we are not only compassionately assisting our fellow human who may need some additional support, but we are working in harmony with the principles of the Creator of the universe who is intertwined in the transaction. He remains committed to ensuring we are made whole in some sense that can result in (according to the psalms) blessing, maintaining of our purpose, and light in the darkness. There is no “giving to get” something in return, but rather lending freely to others with a sense of communing in a relational way with God. Our generosity leads to others’ needs being met and we can then be blessed in ways that can only be understood as coming from the gracious hand of a loving God. When we provide for others from the heart, we are opening ourselves for an opportunity to be twisted together with God within his purpose. The outcome is up to him, but will always be something that we would qualify as a blessing or desirable outcome, even if it isn’t what we might expect. It shows up in ways that can only be defined as a life illuminated by the blessing of God. All of Psalm 112 defines what that looks like.

Psalm 112:1-10 – Praise Yahweh! How joyful are those who fear Yahweh and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will last forever. Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust Yahweh to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

Will the compassionate person of generosity experience all of these blessings? Perhaps, perhaps not; perhaps others not listed here. That’s not the point. The point is that when we are obedient to God’s word from the heart because we believe it is the right thing to do, he is faithful to honor that genuine obedience in any way he chooses; that’s his prerogative, because we have bound ourselves together with him.


If you enjoy these daily articles, 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 on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com

Loving from the heart

True compassion for others begins with an all-consuming love for God.

True compassion for others begins with an all-consuming love for God.

Many believers are familiar with the prophecy of Micah if for no other reason than this famous verse about acting with compassion:

Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

But Micah is only signifying what God had repeatedly told Israel over and over. Notice how Micah says, “He has shown you…” This is not something that God had done in a corner somewhere distant; no, God had repeatedly told them how he desired their hearts to be right and to demonstrate compassion with others in all things, providing this justice and mercy in tangible ways.

Through Isaiah, he warned them of the impending judgment for their failure to learn that lesson.

Isaiah 1:16-17: “Wash yourselves, make yourself clean. Put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil. Learn to do well. Seek justice. Relieve the oppressed. Judge the fatherless. Plead for the widow.””

Through Zechariah, he emphasized how there should be no evil in the heart, no falsity in the words out of the mouth in the carrying out of his commands.

  • Zechariah 7:9-10: ““Thus has Yahweh of Armies spoken, saying, Execute true judgment, and show kindness and compassion every man to his brother. Don’t oppress the widow, nor the fatherless, the foreigner, nor the poor; and let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart.’”
  • Zechariah 8:16-17: “These are the things that you shall do: speak every man the truth with his neighbor. Execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates, and let none of you devise evil in your hearts against his neighbor, and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate,” says Yahweh.”

This repeated injunction of focusing on the heart is emphasized in the teaching of Yeshua and his disciples, as well.

Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Matthew 18:35 – “So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart.”

Most importantly, Yeshua emphasized how the basis of the Kingdom of God, and the righteous actions of the heart, were rooted in a sincere, genuine, and complete love for Yahweh. This was the first and greatest commandment which would lead to the second most important commandment: to love others.

Matthew 22:37-39 – He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The failure of the religious leaders to exemplify true and genuine compassion was also the condemnation Yeshua pronounced against them, using the same words of Isaiah:

Matthew 15:8 – “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

These compassionate actions are at the very center of the message of the Bible, and the Yeshua’s words in the Sermon on the Mount simply clarify something that God had been saying all along: the goal of all of Torah, or God’s instruction, is loving one another genuinely from the heart, not out of religious obligation. This is the message he taught his disciples: that true love for God causes us to truly love others. This was the message that the disciples sought to distill to those under their care and direction, as well:

  • Romans 8:28 – “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God…”
  • 1 Corinthians 2:9 – “But as it is written, What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived — God has prepared these things for those who love him.”
  • 1 Corinthians 16:14 – “Do everything in love.”
  • 1 Timothy 1:5: “but the goal of this command is love, out of a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith…”

If you enjoy these daily articles, 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 on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com

Practical compassion

God expects his people to act upon his words, not just believe them.

God expects his people to act upon his words, not just believe them.

Zechariah 7:8-11 – Then this message came to Zechariah from Yahweh: “This is what Yahweh of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other. Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing.”

Judgment had been poured out on ancient Israel due to the fact that they had refused to listen to Yahweh. They had rejected the plain teaching of his Torah and instead had chosen to oppress and take advantage of those who could not defend themselves among their own people.

Yahweh had been very clear in his Torah about how they should have been treating the disadvantaged among their society:

  • Exodus 22:21-24 – “You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. You must not exploit a widow or an orphan. If you exploit them in any way and they cry out to me, then I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will blaze against you, and I will kill you with the sword. Then your wives will be widows and your children fatherless.”
  • Deuteronomy 24:14-15 – “Never take advantage of poor and destitute laborers, whether they are fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns. You must pay them their wages each day before sunset because they are poor and are counting on it. If you don’t, they might cry out to Yahweh against you, and it would be counted against you as sin.”

Their fathers had even taken an oath that they would act justly in all of these matters.

Deuteronomy 27:19 – “‘Cursed is anyone who denies justice to foreigners, orphans, or widows.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.'”

Due to Israel’s unfaithfulness even to their own oath covenant, God systematically removed them from the land, first by the Assyrians and then the Babylonians. In effect, the Israelites had brought down wrath upon themselves by disobeying the Torah. If they would not follow the law from their hearts, then the curse of the law would fall upon them, and it did.

I’m not sure how much clearer God can make it that he expects his people to take care of those among them who cannot take care of themselves, those who are easily exploited and taken advantage of, those who may not be familiar with the culture. In effect, through these Torah commandments and the historical demonstration of consequence, Yahweh is illustrating how he expects his people to demonstrate compassion.

How can we express compassion with these people groups today? Rather than inventing some new program or agency to deal with these issues from afar, as we abide by the Torah of the heart, God desires we make these instructions personal to our experience and our lives. Who within your sphere of influence can benefit from this instruction: an aged woman who is a widow who can’t provide for herself, a child (or children) who have lost their parents, a foreigner who is struggling with the dominant culture and system?

Yeshua taught that practical compassion and mercy are the curative qualities that provide healing and preservation of righteousness.

Matthew 5:7, 13 – God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. … “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

This is how the eternal Torah of God continues to impact the lives of people today. When we not only believe the words that are written there, but we take them to heart and then personally act upon them in real ways, we open up the compassion of God to others, and the possibilities of expanding the Kingdom in the process.

James 1:22 – But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.


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 on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com

Actively loving our neighbors

A compassionate heart cannot remain inactive when becoming aware of real needs.

A compassionate heart cannot remain inactive when becoming aware of real needs.

Romans 13:8-10 – “Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not covet; and any other commandment, are summed up by this commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.”

Paul writes this passage in the context of being faithful with the State authorities, paying taxes, and culminating in verse 14 by “putting on the Lord Yeshua.” It’s as if all of Paul’s logic in the daily life of the believer is wrapped up in “throwing off the deeds of darkness, and putting on the armor of light,” ( v. 12).

The key aspect of this armor of light is love; not the syrupy, undefined, wishy-washy love of our current pop culture, but a love that has a definite purpose and character. Paul defines this type of love as a love that does no wrong to a neighbor. It involves throwing off the deeds of darkness, which he defines as: “carousing and drunkenness…sexual impurity and promiscuity…quarreling and jealousy,” (v. 13). When we are acting in any of these ways with others, we are not acting in love. The armor of light can only be exposed when we “throw off” these “deeds.”

If we are to do no wrong to a neighbor, it implies that we should do right to our neighbor. In Hebraic thinking, there is no static condition in which we do neither good nor bad. If we are not doing good, then we are by default doing bad, and if we are not doing bad, then we are to be doing good. The text of Torah from which this principle of loving our neighbor is derived mentions we should not even hold any grudges against our neighbor.

Leviticus 19:18 – “Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself; I am Yahweh.”

This specific command is dropped in the midst of all kinds of things we should not be doing to our neighbors (Leviticus 19:11-17):

  • do not steal from them
  • do not oppress them
  • do not rob from them
  • do not be unfair with them
  • do not spread slander about them
  • do not jeopardize their life
  • don’t harbor hatred toward them

According to Paul’s logic in Romans 13, these would all be included in “deeds of darkness.”

If these are the negative qualities, then the positive qualities contained within the armor of light must be the opposite:

  • give generously to them
  • cheer them up and support them
  • act with fairness
  • speak well of them
  • help to protect them
  • show practical love toward them

This practical outworking of a love that is defined in this manner shows what type of love the Bible is talking about when it comes to our neighbors. It is a love that acts in positive ways towards others. It doesn’t just think happy thoughts towards them, but it actively works to build them up and contribute to their well-being.

In what ways can you act in this manner toward your neighbors, friends, and family? All of these individuals come under the umbrella of “neighbors” in the biblical sense. How can you manifest the armor of light most practically and effectively? By looking at these brief examples, we can see it involves taking our focus off of ourselves (the deeds of darkness that serve our own pleasures and interests), and placing our focus instead on the needs of others for their benefit. This is how we can then begin to “put on Yeshua” by living out his command:

Matthew 7:12 – “Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”


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 on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Sincere compassion opens the way for God’s provision

A heart that truly cares for the needs of others has the ability to receive the resources necessary to meet those needs.

Core of the Bible podcast #78 – Sincere compassion opens the way for God’s provision

A heart that truly cares for the needs of others has the ability to receive the resources necessary to meet those needs.

Today we will be looking at the topic of compassion, and how God provides what others need when we act sincerely from the heart. Additionally, instructing others in the way of God is in itself an act of compassion toward those who are willing to hear.

These principles were demonstrated by Yeshua as his popularity had begun to grow in Israel, and large crowds had begun to follow him looking for miracles and instruction from Yahweh. They were hungry for physical healings and spiritual guidance.

Mark 6:34 – Yeshua came out, saw a great multitude, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.

Yeshua’s compassion here is expressed through a recognition of the general population of Israel’s lack of correct doctrine, and their eagerness to learn. The context of this verse is set as Yeshua and his disciples have been tirelessly ministering and are now attempting to find a secluded place to be refreshed. Yet, hundreds of people find out where they are going across the lake of Galilee and end up waiting for them on the shore when they arrive. Seeing these crowds, Yeshua is moved with compassion, and decides to continue to provide instruction.

It is interesting here to note that whenever a text mentions Yeshua has compassion on someone, he immediately does something to help them. Here are some examples:

Matthew 14:14 – Yeshua saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Matthew 15:32 – Then Yeshua called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.”

Matthew 20:34 – Yeshua felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.

Mark 1:41 – Moved with compassion, Yeshua reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!”

In the case of our subject passage in the sixth chapter of Mark, Yeshua’s compassionate response to the crowds who had rushed ahead of them to meet them is to continue to provide them instruction, even though he and his disciples had been worn out from the constant interactions with everyone at the previous location. They were simply trying to find a quiet place to rest and be refreshed, and could easily have said something like, “Please let us get some rest. If you come back tomorrow morning we can continue to provide some instruction and healings.”

Instead, the text says Yeshua saw that they were like sheep without a shepherd. A good shepherd won’t leave the sheep to wander on their own; they cannot provide for themselves. Left to their own devices, sheep tend to get injured or lost and cannot feed themselves because they don’t know where to find the pasture.

This was how Yeshua viewed the condition of the crowds. In a spiritual sense, they had been scattered and left behind by the religious leaders of the day who were more interested in upholding man-made traditions than providing the people the spiritual guidance they needed from the Torah. For the most part, the leaders were corrupt and sought only to serve themselves and their own purposes by trying to appear holier than everyone else, and they held everyone to impossible standards according to their traditions.

The leaders were fulfilling the prophetic picture that Yahweh, through his prophet Jeremiah, had lamented regarding the the status of their disarray:

Jeremiah 50:6 – My people were lost sheep; their shepherds led them astray, guiding them the wrong way in the mountains. They wandered from mountain to hill; they forgot their resting place.

Recognizing this, Yeshua railed against the leaders for their failure to live up to the true purpose of Torah and to properly serve the people the spiritual instruction they needed.

Matthew 23:13, 15 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you don’t go in, and you don’t allow those entering to go in. … “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make one convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as fit for hell as you are!”

In the balance of the twenty-third chapter of Matthew, Yeshua goes into great detail regarding the specific failings of the ruling elite in Israel. They were essentially holding people to the letter of the law while they themselves circumvented it through loophole justifications. Their hypocrisy and corruption was known to all but rarely, if ever, challenged.

It was within this larger context that Yeshua sought to provide instruction, real instruction from the Torah, to the people. When they heard his words and saw they great works that validated his teaching, they were amazed and excited that a true teacher had arisen within Israel, and they didn’t want to miss any opportunity to hear him.

Matthew 15:29-31 – … Yeshua passed along the Sea of Galilee. He went up on a mountain and sat there, and large crowds came to him, including the lame, the blind, the crippled, those unable to speak, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he healed them. So the crowd was amazed when they saw those unable to speak talking, the crippled restored, the lame walking, and the blind seeing, and they gave glory to the God of Israel.

This was Yeshua’s mission: gathering together the lost sheep of Israel, those who had been wandering due to a lack of direction and guidance from the very Torah or instruction that God had provided them to keep them on the right path. He was to begin instructing his disciples in the same mission:

Matthew 10:6-7 – “… go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.'”

So when Yeshua saw the eagerness of the crowds that met them at the shore of the sea, and how they were anxious to learn and be healed, he couldn’t help but have compassion on them. He intentionally set aside continued time to instruct them in the truth and to provide physical restoration to those who diligently pursued him.

In a moment, we will see how the entire context of this scene actually serves as a metaphor for spiritual guidance and instruction, and how we can be inspired to provide the same level of compassionate guidance to others.


As we continue in the narrative of the sixth chapter of Mark, we find an object lesson is presented to the disciples that we also can be challenged by today.

Mark 6:35-37 – When it grew late, his disciples approached him and said, “This place is deserted, and it is already late. “Send them away so that they can go into the surrounding countryside and villages to buy themselves something to eat.” “You give them something to eat,” he responded…

I am a firm believer that nothing is presented within Scripture that lacks meaning, and certainly not within the carefully constructed narratives of the gospel accounts. We can see in the parallel passage in Matthew 14 that the same unfolding of events takes place: Yeshua and his disciples seek to find rest, crowds meet them when they come ashore; Yeshua continues to teach them, and they are then challenged to provide food for the people.

What follows in both accounts is the miraculous feeding of the five thousand people.

Mark 6:37-44 – … [The disciples] said to him, “Should we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” When they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.” Then he instructed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves. He kept giving them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. Everyone ate and was satisfied. They picked up twelve baskets full of pieces of bread and fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were five thousand men.

To me, besides being a bona fide miracle that provided the needs of this great crowd, this is more importantly an object lesson, a continuation of the same principle that Yeshua had just demonstrated to the disciples. In their exhaustion from a full day of ministering to the people, they had no energy left. Yet, the people still needed more. They were hungry for guidance, and they needed healing and help. So Yeshua, as exhausted as he was, continued to give. The compassion he demonstrated allowed for a miraculous provision for the people.

The miracle of the bread and fish simply illustrates the same principle: the people were hungry for spiritual truth, and were supplied by a miraculous provision from God. At the end of the day, the people were not merely physically fed; they were spiritually fed, with “food” left over.

This was the lesson Yeshua wanted the disciples to understand: those who rely on the provision of God will never lack to provide to those who are truly in need. God will always meet the needs that are present when believers step out in faith that he can do so. All that is required is the compassion to want to help others, and God will make the rest happen.

So, these lessons also hold true for us today. First, we can learn that instructing others in the way of God is an act of compassion toward those who are willing to hear. Next, we should also understand that the most willing disciples are those who are hungry to learn. And finally, instead of sending people away because of our own lack, we should learn to rely on God to provide what is needed to meet the needs of others. All we have to do is allow the compassion of God to work through us to reach them.

We should always be mindful that instructing others in the way of God should be motivated by compassion for others who are willing to hear. If we are trying to teach only for the sake of prestige, or wealth, or obligation (or worse yet, only to win arguments), it will rob that form of instruction of its power and purpose.

Although Yeshua and his disciples had limited resources, God provided enough food to satisfy everyone with more left over.

This metaphorically reinforced his act of compassion to begin with: instructing them in the way of God. The crowd’s hunger for truth was not only satisfied, but there was so much more left over; and it continues to bear fruit to this day!

In like fashion, we can be sure that when we act compassionately in faith, whatever our response, God will be faithful to fill that need through us. Instruction in the way of God, when it is coming from a heart of true compassion to meet the needs of others, will be blessed with multiplication and fulfillment.


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 on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Following the compassionate example of our Father

God continually exemplifies compassion for a people who are contrary to him.

God continually exemplifies compassion for a people who are contrary to him.

Zechariah 10:6 – I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back because I have compassion on them, and they shall be as though I had not rejected them; for I am Yahweh their God and I will answer them.

When we speak about compassion with others, we will typically consider attributes like care, concern, and assistance for their well-being. These are not incorrect, and may come rather easily when we are emotionally moved with situations involving individuals who are struggling or who have fallen on hard times. However, when we look at the compassion that God has demonstrated on his people, we learn other aspects of compassion that we may not have considered.

In the case of this passage in Zechariah, Yahweh says he will have compassion on the houses of Judah and Joseph. He then explains through the prophet that this compassion will be exhibited through a demonstration of mercy; it will be as though he had not rejected them at all. In this, we can learn an aspect of compassion that we can practice in our own lives, as well.

If one of the aspects of biblical compassion is restoration of relationships, then we can see how this characteristic blends together with other characteristics that God desires of us, such as being peacemakers and forgiving those who have wronged us. The example of Yahweh with his people serves to illustrate time and again his undying compassion for his people, and it always results in him extending grace and mercy to those who have strayed from him.

  • Isaiah 54:7-8 – “I deserted you for a brief moment, but I will take you back with abundant compassion. “In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but I will have compassion on you with everlasting love,” says Yahweh your Redeemer.
  • Isaiah 65:2 – “I spread out my hands all day long to a rebellious people who walk in the path that is not good, following their own thoughts.
  • Jeremiah 30:18-19 – This is what Yahweh says: I will certainly restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents and show compassion on his dwellings. Every city will be rebuilt on its mound; every citadel will stand on its proper site. Thanksgiving will come out of them, a sound of rejoicing. I will multiply them, and they will not decrease; I will honor them, and they will not be insignificant.
  • Micah 7:18-19 – Who is a God like you, forgiving iniquity and passing over rebellion for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not hold on to his anger forever because he delights in faithful love. He will again have compassion on us; he will vanquish our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

If the compassion of our God is demonstrated in his steadfast love for his people by overlooking their iniquity and their unfaithfulness, then our compassion for others should be exhibited in the similar fashion.

Matthew 5:44-45 – “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, “so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.


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 on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Living, and dying, for others

Compassion and obedience are not just for this life only.

Compassion and obedience are not just for this life only.

John 10:14-15, 17-18 – I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. … For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”

In teaching his disciples of how he is to be likened to a good shepherd, Yeshua reveals how God had provided him the authority to not only lay his life down for the sheep, but to take it back up again. With this obvious reference to the resurrection, we gain a small but tremendously powerful insight into the compassion and obedience of the Son of God to his Father.

Yeshua’s connection with God was so close that the bond of obedience surpassed life itself. Yeshua had received the command of God that he would have the ability to take up his life on the other side of the grave. This demonstrated a huge measure of trust and confidence that Yeshua placed in his Father. He was to demonstrate a compassion so extreme on behalf of his brothers that it would cost him his life.

Yet he was to trust in the resurrection on the other side, and not for himself, but that God’s purpose would be completed through his resurrection. Yeshua was not simply trusting God that he would be restored to life for his own benefit, but that he was being restored to life for the benefit of others. He died for others and was restored to life for others. Everything about the death and resurrection of Yeshua was for others; it had nothing to do with his own personal survival for himself.

We don’t understand this principle enough. We struggle to grasp an obedience to God that is so complete that it willingly succumbs not only to death on behalf of others, but to continued service for others on the other side. That is what compassion looks like to God. It does not have any selfish ambition whatsoever, and yet when it is accomplished, God provides every honor and glory upon that individual.

I believe we have erred when we look to God for our own continued survival, that hoped-for eternal life, based on the fact that we believed in him and served him to the best of our ability during this life. Then we hope to enjoy peace and security for eternity, a kind of spiritual retirement allowing us to enjoy the privileges gained for sacrifices made during this life.

But this is not the message of the gospel. The good news of the kingdom is that we serve God and accomplish his purpose here and now, and we serve God there and accomplish his purpose then and there. Believing in God should never be about ourselves or our personal security. If we are following the example of our Messiah, it should always be about others; we should be constantly laying our lives down on behalf of others, dying to ourselves over and over again.

Romans 12:1 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

This is what it means to be a living sacrifice. It is a dichotomy of two contradictory principles: a sacrifice is to die yet somehow remains alive. The believing life is one of paradox: living in a kingdom that exists in eternity, yet is present here and now; dying to ourselves yet living for God; existing in a world of darkness yet being a light to those around us. We are reconcilers of opposites, peacemakers of things that are at war with one another. Just like our Messiah obeyed in death and life, we are to remain obedient in dying to ourselves and living for him. The life that feeds on the resurrection power of the Messiah is a life of obedience and compassion.

1 John 3:14, 16 – We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. … By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.


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 on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Those in need are owed the help you can provide

God’s view of ownership and rights differs from what we may typically think.

God’s view of ownership and rights differs from what we may typically think.

Proverbs 3:27-28 – Do not withhold good from those to whom it belongs when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”

Yeshua taught his followers, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you,” (Luke 6:31 ). The compassion of those who claim to fear Yahweh transcends any petty differences, stinginess, or inconvenience in timing.

Luke 11:5-8 – He also said to them: “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, “because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I don’t have anything to offer him.’ “Then he will answer from inside and say, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I have gone to bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ “I tell you, even though he won’t get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his friend’s shameless boldness, he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

While the context of Yeshua’s teaching here is on the persistence of asking as it relates to prayer, it also highlights the resistance of the friend to meet the need of someone else because of the inconvenience.

It must be understood that in the culture of that day, not having anything to offer a guest who has unexpectedly shown up was a considered to be a rude social situation that dishonors the guest. This was considered a higher priority than the apparent greater rudeness of waking up a neighbor to have them provide some food in the middle of the night.

As much as I would not like to admit it, I can certainly identify with the friend inside the house. But the proverb says not to withhold good from someone when it is in your power to help them. Therefore, as believers we can learn the expectation that God has for us to meet the needs of others, even if, or especially when, it may be inconvenient timing.

I also find it interesting that the proverb say not to withhold good “from those to whom it belongs.” This is an unusual phrase which indicates that if we are resistant to provide someone else help when we have the ability to do so, we are withholding something that is already theirs; they are the “owner” of the good that we can do. For us to follow up by not providing the good thing, we are, in a sense, holding on to something for ourselves that actually already belongs to them. From God’s perspective, being stingy or hard-hearted is actually a form of stealing; we are keeping for ourselves something which in reality belongs to someone else. In God’s eyes, ownership of some thing or action is not possession of that thing or ability, but true ownership belongs to whom that thing or action is due.

How can this type of thinking change your perspective on what you have and how you respond to the needs of others? As believers, we need to strive to maintain God’s perspective, not our own.


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 on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The smallest of kindnesses can have influential results

We may never see the positive end results of our simplest compassionate actions.

We may never see the positive end results of our simplest compassionate actions.

Exodus 2:5-6 – Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe at the Nile while her servant girls walked along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds, sent her slave girl, took it, opened it, and saw him, the child ​– ​and there he was, a little boy, crying. She felt sorry for him and said, “This is one of the Hebrew boys.”

It was an act of compassion which began the people of Israel as an independent nation. Rescued from abandonment in the the Nile River, Moses was brought up in Pharaoh’s household only to become the deliverer of God’s people.

We may never understand the scope of our compassionate actions, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to us at that time that we help someone else. Knowing the history of how the Hebrew male babies were being killed during their enslavement in Egypt, it may have seemed pointless to rescue one child when so many other hundreds or thousands were routinely being killed. Yet from this smallest of caring deeds by Pharaoh’s daughter the history of a nation, and ultimately the world, was forever changed.

Boaz, a prominent man of Israel showed simple compassion to Ruth, the daughter of a distant relative, Naomi. In the process of showing a kindness to her, he ended up acquiring her as a wife.

Ruth 4:9-10 – Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses today that I am buying from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech, Chilion, and Mahlon. “I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, to perpetuate the deceased man’s name on his property, so that his name will not disappear among his relatives or from the gate of his hometown. You are witnesses today.”

Through this act of compassion and obedience to Torah, Boaz became the immortalized as a great-grandfather in the lineage of one of the most famous of ancient Israelites, King David.

Ruth 4:21-22 – Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered Jesse, and Jesse fathered David.

Yeshua encouraged compassion among believers, even something as simple as giving a cup of cold water to the thirsty.

Matthew 10:40-42 – “The one who welcomes you welcomes me, and the one who welcomes me welcomes him who sent me. Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. And anyone who welcomes a righteous person because he’s righteous will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.”

Our actions, good or bad, radiate into the unknown recesses of influence much like ripples in a pond when an object breaks the surface of the water. While we may not personally see or become aware of the end results, God can use those positive and caring actions to bring about his good purpose in his timing.

As believers, we have been gifted with his Spirit, imbued with his very presence in order to allow that influence of kindness to flow through us to others in ways that honor him.

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.

Colossians 3:12-13 – Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another.

Since these characteristics of kindness and compassion are hard-wired into the DNA of the believer, we should exemplify those caring attitudes at every opportunity. God has shown us that even the smallest of compassionate actions can have unforeseen results that will ultimately glorify him and accomplish his purpose on the earth.


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 on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Consistent compassion based on love for God

The heart of the Bible lies in the simplicity of its core message.

The heart of the Bible lies in the simplicity of its core message.

There are two great summaries in the Bible of the conduct that
God expects of mankind. To believers in Messiah, one of them comes to the surface of our thinking rather easily.

Matthew 22:35-40 – And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test him: “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest? ” He said to him, “Love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. “This is the greatest and most important command. “The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. “All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

According to Yeshua, to love God and to love our neighbor is the summary of all of the Law and the Prophets. However, there is another summary in the Old Testament that was spoken to the nation of Israel during one of their most turbulent times in their history.

The second of the great summaries of conduct that God expects of people occurred just prior to the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. A prophet by the name of Micah was tasked with lining out the sins of the nation as a witness against them of the impending judgment of God. The book of Micah is one long condemnation of their idolatrous and ungodly practices. Yet, even amidst the darkness of their actions, Micah provides a glimmer of insight: they ultimately knew the right thing to do but insisted on their own ways instead. He ironically presents their case as sarcastically asking, “What does God expect of us? Sacrifices of our animals or even the first born of our children?”

Micah 6:6-7 – What should I bring before Yahweh when I come to bow before God on high? Should I come before him with burnt offerings, with year-old calves? Would Yahweh be pleased with thousands of rams or with ten thousand streams of oil? Should I give my firstborn for my transgression, the offspring of my body for my own sin?

To this foolish complaint, the prophet Micah provides the bedrock of God’s just judgment:

Micah 6:8 – Mankind, he has told each of you what is good and what it is Yahweh requires of you: to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah then states what they already knew but were choosing to ignore. They were simply to perform true justice, to seek after merciful interactions with one another, and to be humble in their godly walk. Is this not saying the same thing as “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself?”

Micah could say that God had shown them what was good and what Yahweh expected of them, because he already had during the time of Moses.

  • Deuteronomy 6:5 – “Love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
  • Deuteronomy 10:12 – “And now, Israel, what does Yahweh your God ask of you except to fear Yahweh your God by walking in all his ways, to love him, and to worship Yahweh your God with all your heart and all your soul?
  • Leviticus 19:15 – “Do not act unjustly when deciding a case. Do not be partial to the poor or give preference to the rich; judge your neighbor fairly.
  • Deuteronomy 5:20-21 – “Do not give dishonest testimony against your neighbor. “Do not covet your neighbor’s wife or desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
  • Leviticus 19:18 – “Do not take revenge or bear a grudge against members of your community, but love your neighbor as yourself; I am Yahweh.

When Yeshua stated the greatest commands, he was simply quoting Moses. This then, demonstrates how this simple principle of loving God and loving one’s neighbor is consistent throughout all of Torah: from Moses, to the Prophets, and into the New Testament with the teaching of Yeshua. This is the very basis, and the goal, of all biblical teaching.

If we are truly to love our neighbor, we must act in just ways, doing what is right by them according to God’s Word. We must also love them by demonstrating mercy when it is in our power to do so. And we must act in these ways with humility because of our respect and honor for God as we seek to walk in his ways.

1 John 4:7 – Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.


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 on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.