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        In 1986, Nicaraguan soldiers shot down a plane carrying weapons to anti-government forces.  One of the gunrunners survived by parachuting to the ground, where he was captured and taken into custody.  When he was tried by a revolutionary tribunal on charges of attempting to supply guns to anti-government rebels, there was no question about his guilt.   He had been caught red-handed.  As a result, the captured mercenary had little alternative but to appeal to the compassion and mercy of the court.  For the sake of the government's reputation and in the interest of international stability, his plea was eventually honored and he was allowed to go free - not as an act of justice but of mercy.

        Another man, named King David, found himself in a similar situation.  He was defenseless when confronted with his own wrongdoing against Bathsheba and Uriah.  As a result, he didn't need an attorney to argue his innocence.  What he needed was mercy for sins as serious as adultery, conspiracy to murder, and coverup.  And David received that forgiveness.  Jehovah God is a compassionate God!

        This is study number nine in our series on the biblical doctrine of compassion.  We are presently studying the magnificent compassion of God.  Eight messages ago we embarked on a long expedition through the uses of various Hebrew and Greek words translated "compassion," "compassions," and  "compassionate."  We have surveyed all the Scriptures where the Hebrew word racham (raw-kham'), 7355, is translated "compassion," "compassions," or "compassionate," in relationship to God.

        We are now working on the second most commonly used Hebrew word that is translated "compassion," "compassions," and "compassionate."  That word is racham (rakh'-am), 7356.

        After reviewing the Scriptures where the word racham rakh'-am 7356 is used, I could see:

Principle #3:  Jehovah God, as to His nature is love, He demonstrates His love by consistently being compassionate.  In certain instances His compassion is depicted as a Motherly feeling towards His children.

(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:)

Psalm 40:11, "Thou, O Lord, wilt not withhold Thy compassion from me; Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth will continually preserve me."

Observation 3.14:  David is confident that Jehovah God will not withhold His compassion from him.  He is confident that it is God's compassion that will preserve Him in the face of trouble.  His confidence seems to be grounded in His understanding of the nature and character of God.

        Many modern Christians are unsure of their salvation and their preservation.  They are unsure because they don't know about or realize the compassionate nature and character of Jehovah God.  If they knew of the compassionate nature of God and allowed the Holy Spirit to illuminate that truth in their hearts, they would have a blessed assurance in their hearts.  Why?  Because they would understand about the perseverance of God!  Now you are confused, because, perhaps, you have never heard this before.  You have heard of the perseverance of the saints?  That is a misnomer, because the saints don't really persevere.  God perseveres in keeping and preserving the saints until the day of redemption!!!  This is one reason, we are doing such an in depth and exhaustive study of God's attribute of compassion.  The more we know and understand God's compassion the more we will be confident of His compassion towards us, and the more we will be motivated to share that same compassion with others!  And the only place that we can get accurate information concerning God's compassionate nature is in His revelation of Himself in the Bible.

        Thank God for His compassionate nature toward us, but also thank Him for His loving nature which eternally moves Him to self-communication.  Without His self-revelation and self-communication we could not know anything about His nature!!!

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

Psalm 51:1, "Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions."

Observation 3.15:  We need to understand the background of the particular psalm to perceive all of its impact.  This psalm was written, by David, after Nathan the prophet had confronted Him about His sin with Bathsheba.  We must realize that David had sinned grievously against God.  He has lusted after another man's wife.  He had sent for Her in pride, and perhaps by force, and committed adultery with her.  He had plotted and lied to cover the whole thing up.  He had Uriah, Bathsheba's husband, murdered in the process.  And what made it even worst was the fact that He was the king, the leader of the people!!!

        So, when David appeals to God for forgiveness, the basis of His appeal is very instructive.  He appeals to God, for His forgiveness, on the basis of His Motherly compassion.

        That is extremely important to me, because at times I sin.  Sometimes I sin grievously against God and I need His compassion.  It is important that I realize the correct, or at least the most effective basis for such an appeal.  And the most effective basis is the Motherly compassion of God.

        No matter how wrong a child has been, a loving mother still loves and has compassion on her child.  This does not mean that she condones the wrong doing, or that she is ignorant of it.  She simply can see beyond the sin to the sinner.  She can see the soul, i.e. the person of her dearly beloved and she loves the person.

        Likewise, God, in His infinite Motherly love, saw beyond our sins and our sinful state, He saw us as valuable persons and souls.

Romans 5:6-8, "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

People find it hard to be compassionate towards those who are perpetrators of sin against others, but I'm so glad that He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs!

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

Psalm 69:16, "Answer me, O Lord, for Thy lovingkindness is good; According to the greatness of Thy compassion, turn to me."

Observation 3.16:  David, evidently, needed an answer from God in a time of distress.  He depicts God as having turned from him, perhaps as having His back turned to Him.  So, once again, He appeals to God to answer Him on the basis of His lovingkindness and the greatness of His Motherly compassion.

        Certainly we can all relate to David!  We have all needed God to answer us at various times of distress.  We have felt that God had His back turned to us and was not answering us.  And God even depicts Himself that way with respect to highhanded, persistent, unrepented of sin.

        So, if you want to get God's attention; if you want Him to turn and face you in love, compassion and fellowship, you must appeal to Him on the basis of his lovingkindness and the greatness of His Motherly compassion.  A compassionate mother would never turn her back upon her crying child!!!

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

Psalm 77:9, "Has God forgotten to be gracious?  Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion?"

Observation 3.17:  We have already learned that anger short-circuits or blocks God's compassion, i.e. God withholds the display of His compassion when He is angry.  Asaph is also aware that God can withdraw His compassion in anger and is wondering, from the evaluation of his circumstances, if that is the case.

        Isn't this the picture of a child who has lost his mother?  How often have you seen a disobedient child wandering in the super market or at the mall crying for his/her mother?  Has the mother forgotten her child?  Has the mother withdrawn in anger?  Not if she is a gracious, loving, compassionate mother!  She is, no doubt, waiting around the corner, waiting until that child has learned a lesson?  Or she has taken her eyes momentarily off of her child while shopping.  Will she not come in haste when she realizes her child is missing or when the loud speakers announce, "We have a missing child in the office"?

        Oh, but God never takes His eyes off of His children!  He may seem to have His back turned; He may seemed to have forgotten; He may seem to have totally withdrawn in anger, but He never finally does!!!  Even as Israel was, so are we ever the apple of His eye; the focus of His attention; the center of His plans; the object of His compassion.  Let me state it again, "We are ever the apple of His eye; the focus of His attention; the center of His plans; the object of His compassion."

        He may leave until His anger is spent.  He may leave until we learn our lesson.  He may leave until the chastening is complete.  But He will never finally leave us!!!

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

Psalm 79:8, "Do not remember the iniquities of our forefathers against us; Let Thy compassion come quickly to meet us; For we are brought very low."

Observation 3.18:  Asaph requests God's compassion in the light of their low state of affairs.  Other nations had invaded Jerusalem and defiled the temple.  God had allowed this because of His anger against the sin, adultery and injustice of Israel.  Asaph asks God to forget the sins of their fathers and help them on the basis of His Motherly compassion.

        We should be able to synthesize, by now, the fact that God is more inclined to display His compassion toward His children when they are in distress and pleading.

        Modern Christians are not very likely to awaken the compassion of God, because they are independent, prideful, resourceful and self-sufficient.  But I thank God that I realize my importunity.   I realize that:

Without Christ I can do nothing.

Without Christ I would fail.

Without Christ my life would be drifting;

Like a ship without a sail.

The attitude of importunity seems to quickly arouse the compassion of God towards His children.


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

Psalm 103:4, "Who redeems your life from the pit; Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion"

Observation 3.19:  David is exhorting his own soul, i.e. his whole inner man, to bless and praise the Lord because of the benefits that Jehovah God has bestowed upon him.  Then he goes on to list some of those benefits.  One of the benefits was that God crowned him with a crown that was woven out of lovingkindness and compassion.  In other words, God had placed upon the head of David His lovingkindness and compassion as a personal blessing and a public demonstration.

        Do you understand the metaphor?  A crown is something that adorns the head.  It is something that speaks of one's position and authority.  It is something that everyone can see.  God crowns His children with His immanent, absolute, intransitive, covenant, mercy, grace and love and His relative, intransitive, temporal demonstration of that mercy grace and love.

Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

(Let's move on to the final Scripture for today.)

Psalm 106:46, "He also made them objects of compassion In the presence of all their captors."

Observation 3.6:  We have already studied the fact that only God, no one else, can render a person or a nation as objects of compassion.  Once again I remind you that Solomon, The king of Israel, is praying in the light and awareness of the covenant of God with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

        Our God is a God who is has great compassion.  There will be times when we will sin and incur the temporal anger of God.  He will chasten us, because He loves us.  During those times, we will wonder if God truly loves us or if He will ever be compassionate towards us again.  We may sense a need to call upon Him for His compassion.  When we call upon Him, we must do so importunately and on the only legitimate basis that we have:  His own covenant lovingkindness and absolute compassion.  We can rest assured that God will never leave us nor forsake us, finally, because of His steadfast love and compassion.

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


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