God is a God of compassion and mercy, El Rachum. I love all His names such as El Roi (the God who sees), El Shaddai (God Almighty), and Yahweh Rophe (the LORD who heals), but this name is so much more than meets the eye because the Hebrew word holds more meaning than our English words can translate. I know we just got started, but we’re going to jump into the deep waters of the ancient language fast. The word rachum does mean mercy and compassion, but it’s root means “womb.” God’s compassion and mercy are like the womb of a mother, a place of nourishment, growth, and protection.
We find this name of God in the book of Exodus after the Israelites made a golden calf to worship. It wasn’t pretty. When Moses came down the mountain, and he saw their betrayal, the tablets with the ten commandments were destroyed. It was not a day without consequences, but God gave the Israelites mercy by giving them a second chance and a second set of stone tablets. As Moses and God met on the mountain to inscribe these tablets, God met Moses with these words:
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate (rachum) and gracious God (EL), slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”Exodus 34:6-7 NIV addition mine
Compassionate God of Second Chances
The day the Israelites lost their patience and their minds and made an idol, was not a day without consequences. Many who did not place their worship in God lost their lives. But the God of mercy and compassion did not forsake that nation. He did not leave the thousands who He’d brought out of Egypt. He promised to go with them, and He made a covenant with them. His covenant promised His presence and force to drive out their enemies as long as they obeyed His commands.
We know the rest of that story. Time and time again they would worship other gods and not obey YHWH, El Rachum, and they faced consequences. But God always extended mercy and compassion. For many of us the actions of God in the Old Testament seem brutal, but I must remind us this was the Old Covenant and what judgment looked like without Jesus.
The Old Covenant was conditional. The people remained in God’s blessings if they obeyed the commands (worship God only, don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t commit adultery, take a Sabbath), good commands. But their hearts often strayed, and their desire to worship other gods of the foreigners around them lured God’s people time and time again. The shiny idols caught their eyes, and like Eve to the apple they were drawn away from the God of compassion and mercy to a lie. Despite their failures, God continued His relationship.
For the Lord your God is a merciful (rachum) God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.Deuteronomy 4:31 NIV addition mine
The Compassion of Jesus
Surely, if we struggle with the Old Testament, we see God’s rachum demonstrated powerfully in the person of Jesus. As He walked the earth He fed the hungry, healed the sick, and restored sight to the blind. He did not do this simply out of the goodness of His heart; scripture tells us he had compassion on the people. His heart was stirred.
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.Mark 6:34
Remember how He cried at Lazarus’s tomb, and how He refused to stone the woman caught in adultery. He also wept as He looked toward Jerusalem knowing what lie ahead of that city, and He longed to protect them:
“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.”Matthew 23:37
All three of these stories are the embodiment of rachum– compassion, mercy, and parental love and protection. The Bible is filled with these stories and promises of His eternal compassion and mercy for His children. Come spend a whole month soaking in scriptures about the compassionate and merciful El Rachum.
Click on image or words for free printable.
Thankful for the God of Compassion and Mercy
This is the month of thanksgiving, and though I have so many things to be thankful for, I am excited to come to the Father every morning and open up His Word to be reminded to be thankful for His compassion and mercy. None of us deserve this grace, yet it is who He is. He is El Rachum whose compassion is like a mother’s womb. Some of us need to close our eyes and let His warm, nurturing, protecting, mercy and compassion surround us. That only comes when we surrender our questions and worries and trust Him. I pray these scriptures will help you trust Him and experience His rachum. Hold my hands, I’m going to pray us up.
We praise you and worship you. You are so faithful, loving, compassionate, and merciful. Wrap us up in your compassion and mercy and then help us extend that loving compassion and mercy to others as we’ve received it from you. Oh Father, I pray those who print off this plan and read the scriptures every day will be blessed by your Presence and a deeper awareness of the many times you’ve extended mercy and compassion. Life is hard, but you are so good. Bring your Word to life in us and through us. In Jesus we pray. Amen.Free Printable Here
Faith FRidays on IG and YouTube Videos
Join me on Instagram, sisters! Every Friday we unpack one or two of the scriptures on our list. It’s a sweet time of fellowship and encouragement. I go live at 9:00 AM ET. Just follow @wordsbyandylee. Watch the stories on the top of your feed, and you’ll see me go live. Just click on it, and you’ve joined us! If IG is not your thing, hop on over on You Tube (AndyLeeBible) for these messages and extra content like how to do a 3 day fast for breakthrough and clarity. Ya’ll are my tribe, and I love pointing you to Jesus and the life in the Word. Let’s do abundant life together.