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        As the hunter watched the deer step out of a stand of trees and turn its head in his direction, his finger froze on the trigger of his rifle.  The large blaze of white on the animal's face was unmistakable.  This was the young buck that the man had seen from a helicopter the winter before.  The memory of that scene rushed backed into his mind.  That day he was carrying bales of hay rather than a gun.  As a helicopter pilot for the Conservation Department, he had been on a rescue mission to drop food to clusters of starving deer.  Surrounded by three other whitetails which had not made it, that lone yearling had stood in the snow below, looking helplessly to the copter overhead.  It was then that the crew had noticed the unusual white markings on the animal's face.

        Now that he was facing the deer again, the hunter was confused.  How could he kill him?  This wasn't just any deer.  The man had once made a conscious decision, at some personal risk, to save him.  Was he now to make a conscious decision to destroy him?  No, he couldn't pull that trigger.  Lowering his gun, he stepped into the open.  He could not destroy a creature he had once saved.

        This deer hunter had compassion or mercy upon this deer that He had once risked his life to save.  How much more will Jesus have compassion on us, whom He died to save!!!

        This is study number three in our series on the biblical doctrine of compassion.  We are presently studying the indefatigable, absolute and relative compassion of God.  Two messages ago we embarked on a long expedition through the uses of various Hebrew and Greek words translated "compassion," "compassions," and  "compassionate."  We are presently looking at the twenty-seven Scriptures where the Hebrew word racham (raw-kham'), 7355, is translated "compassion" in relationship to God.  After observation and interpretation, I drew from these Scriptures various propositional statements or principles.  The particular principle that we are working on is

Principle #1:  Jehovah God, as to His nature, is love.  He consistently demonstrates His love by being compassionate.

(As we look at how each of these principles concerning God's compassion is represented in the Scripture, we have been making specific observations in each individual passage of Scripture.  Although these observations will, in many cases, include an observation, an interpretation and an application, for the sake of brevity we have been calling these statements "observations".  We have been numbering them with a double number.  The first number indicates the principle that is being applied and the second number indicates the particular observation with respect to that principle.  Let's continue our present study with:)

Isaiah 14:1, "When the Lord will have compassion on Jacob, and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob."

Observation 1.10:  Even though in the last study we noted conditions for finding God's compassion again after sin, once again it is clearly seen that the final compassion shown to Israel, which will culminate in their settling in the promised land, is unconditional.

        We have already amply explained that the compassion which God shows to us, New Testament believers, is likewise unconditional.  Just as God elected Israel to be recipients of His compassion, so He does likewise with us, New Testament believers.  Let's define and summarize this New Testament election.  "Election may be defined as `that eternal act of God whereby He, in His sovereign good pleasure, and on account of no foreseen merit in them, chooses a certain number of men to be the recipients of special grace and eternal salvation."[1]  "Several characteristics are to be noted in election:

it took place in eternity past (Ephesians 1:4);

it is an act of a sovereign God, and it is according to His sovereign will (Romans 9:11; 2 Timothy 1:9);

it is an expression of the love of God (Ephesians 1:4);

it is not conditioned on man in any way (2 Timothy 1:9; Romans 9:11);

it reflects the justice of God; there can be no charge of injustice against God in election (Romans 9:14,20)."[2]

        We can do nothing but continue to marvel at the purpose and plan of God to glorify Himself through the salvation and preservation of His chosen people!

(Let's move on to the next Scripture.)

Jeremiah 12:15, "And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land."

Observation 1.10.  The previous observation applies to this Scripture as well.

(Let's move on to the next Scripture.)

Jeremiah 30:18, "Thus says the Lord, `Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob And have compassion on his dwelling places; And the city shall be rebuilt on its ruin, And the palace shall stand on its rightful place.'"

Observation 1.10.  Unlike other message series, when I would say something like, "Here are other related Scriptures to read during your own study," I am reading aloud every related Scripture in the Bible.

(Let's move on to the next Scripture.)

Jeremiah 42:12, "I will also show you compassion, so that he (the king of Babylon) will have compassion on you and restore you to your own soil."

Observation 1.10:  God is a mighty God who can mediate His compassion toward His children through whomever He wishes:  even their enemies.

        When God wants to show us compassion, He is not limited in avenues or channels.  He can make even our enemies be compassionate towards us, because He is compassionate towards us!  Have you ever experienced that?  Then give God the glory and the praise!  He's worthy!!!

(Let's move on to the next Scripture.)

Lamentations 3:31-32, "For the Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, Then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness."

Observation 1.10:  When the children of Israel had not met God's conditions for experiencing His temporal compassion, then they would experience the rejection of His anger.  Although that was very serious and painful, if they understood the nature of God they would have an assurance of experiencing God's compassion again!  Why?  Because God has abundant lovingkindness.  Lovingkindness is a tremendous Old Testament word (hesed) which denotes, covenant love, affection, kindness, mercy, and grace.  God as to His nature is love - and the demonstration of that love is compassion!  So, even though they were momentarily experiencing the temporal anger of God, they could be sure that the immanent, ultimate, absolute, intransitive, compassion of God would be shown to them again in time and throughout all of eternity.

        The same thing is true to those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ.  God is immutable, i.e. He does not change.  His revelation of Himself may change from dispensation to dispensation, but He is always the same God.  He always saves by grace through faith to the particular revelation of Himself in that dispensation.  And His immanent love and compassion are always unconditional.

Ephesians 2:4-7, "But God, being rich in mercy (a synonym for compassion) because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness (another synonym for compassion) toward us in Christ Jesus."

All of this is because of the the covenant love, affection, kindness, mercy, and grace of God!

(Let's move on to the next Scripture.)

Isaiah 30:18, "Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.  For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him."

Observation 1.11:  What a characterization of God!  Jehovah God has a deep longing to demonstrate His compassion towards His children.  He is depicted as emotionally waiting in heaven to have compassion on His children.  He is waiting, obviously, on His children to meet certain temporal conditions.

        If you are not experiencing the compassion of God as you wish, the problem is not God.  God is longing and waiting in heaven to pour out His abundant compassion upon you.  But there are some things that you must do.  In our last study we learned two of the things that we must do:  confess and forsake our sins!

(Let's move on to the next Scripture.)

Isaiah 49:10, "They will not hunger or thirst, Neither will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; For He who has compassion on them will lead them, And will guide them to springs of water."

Observation 1.12:  God's compassion entails provision, protection, guidance and satisfaction.

        Say, "Hallelujah!"  He is worthy to be praised for He provides the same things for His children today, i.e. provision, protection, guidance and satisfaction.


2 Corinthians 9:8, "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed."


2 Thessalonians 3:3,"But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."


2 Thessalonians 3:5, "And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ."


Matthew 5:6, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."

(Let's move on to the next Scripture.)

Isaiah 49:13, "Shout for joy, O heavens!  And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains!  For the Lord has comforted His people, And will have compassion on His afflicted."

Observation 1.13:  Isaiah calls for all of God's creation to rejoice over the fact that God has comforted His people and will have compassion on His afflicted people.  God's compassion upon the afflicted is affirmed in

Psalm 34:19, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."

        If all of creation should rejoice on the basis of the comfort and compassion of God toward the righteous, then it should continue to rejoice in the New Testament because God is the same, yesterday, today and forever.  He still comforts and extends His compassion towards His afflicted people, i.e., dispensationally, those who are made His people by becoming sons and daughters of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

God demonstrates His compassion towards us by comforting us, i.e. all New Testament Christians, in all of our affliction.  No matter what we are going through, we can look for and depend upon God's comfort.  This Scripture doesn't highlight deliverance, but comfort.  God does not always choose to deliver, especially when the situation is bringing glory to His name.

        He comforts us that we may be able to comfort others with the comfort that we ourselves have received from Him.  One of the purposes of God's comfort and compassion toward the afflicted is to render them compassionate towards others who are afflicted.  God is a compassionate God who is developing compassion in us through suffering!!!

        So, even though no one is fond of suffering or being afflicted, God has a temporal purpose, i.e. a purpose in time.

        Not only does God have a temporal purpose, but He also has an eternal purpose for allowing us to be afflicted.  This can be seen in

2 Corinthians 4:17, "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison."

        Therefore, God's compassion in our own lives ought to have a far reaching effect upon our own compassion.

        We have observed in the Scriptures before us today that God, by nature, is a loving and compassionate God; love being His nature and compassion being the demonstration of that nature.  Compassion has two manifestations.  The immanent, absolute, intransitive compassion of God towards His people is unconditional and eternal.  It is extended on the basis of love, mercy and grace of Jehovah God.  It will be displayed towards His people throughout all of eternity.  The other manifestation of God's compassion is temporal, relative, transitive, i.e. in time, and it is conditioned upon a number of factors:  one main factor being how we deal with sin in our lives.  Be that as it may, God reveals Himself in the Scripture as a God who longs and waits in heaven to demonstrate compassion towards His children.  All that we have to do to restore God's temporal compassion is meet the specific biblical conditions.  At any rate, we have learned that God calls all of creation to rejoice in the presence of His tremendous compassion.  For nothing can stop the predetermined plan of God to demonstrate His compassion towards us throughout all of eternity!

        God didn't save us to destroy us!  He didn't bring us this far to leave us!  He didn't teach us to swim to let us drown.  He didn't build a home is us to move away!  He didn't lift us up to let us down!!!

(Now is the day of Salvation.  Come to Jesus, now!)


Call to Discipleship


[1] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1941, p. 114.  

[2] Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology, Moody Press, Chicago, Ilinois, 1989, p. 328.

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