Redeemer Church Mauritius
The Character of God: Compassion - Phil Kendon
There are many things we learn about God from the things other people say about him, from the stories in the bible that describe his actions or record his words to someone or about a specific situation. But there are a few unique cases where God actually tells us something about himself. God describes himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6-7 and we can gather the significance of this scripture from the way it is quoted about 12 more times in the bible and referred to several other times as well. The first word God uses is compassion. There is a maternal quality about this word. It is actually from the same root as the word for womb - so there is something about this word that has to do with the way a mother cares about her children. Sometimes this same greek word is translated to “deeply moved” in other stories of the bible.
Locations & Times
  • Redeemer Church Mauritius
    Sunday 9:30 AM
1. A word that expresses deep emotion

God doesn’t have to work up feelings of compassion or love - they just spring up naturally in his heart for his children because he loves us like a mother loves her infant child.

Isaiah 49:15–16 (NIV)
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

1 Kings 3:26 (NIV)
The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”

Luke 13:34 (NIV)
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
2. A word that implies action

Compassion has to act to alleviate suffering or to make things right, or prevent future harm.

Luke 10:33–35 (NIV)
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

Matthew 14:14 (NIV)
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Exodus 3:7–10 (NIV)
The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

Ephesians 2:3–5 (NIV)
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
3. A quality worth imitating

We have to also consider what God says to us about adopting his character and imitating him in our relationships with one another.

Luke 10:36–37 (NIV)
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
God is compassionate and we should be too.