Rabbi’s Reflections – Saturday, June 3, 2023
Shabbat Shalom,

Day 37: Evening
This God We’re Called to Love is Compassionate
by David Harwood

Let’s revisit the beginning of this section of our meditation.

 And Yahweh passed over before him, and he proclaimed, “Yahweh, Yahweh, God, who is compassionate and gracious…” (Exodus 34:6a LEB)

The Lord proclaimed His glory within the context of God’s decision to accompany, lead, protect, and forgive His people, all because He loves them. Yah was declaring what He loved about how Yah feels and acts toward Israel.

Moses is not the only one who loves this people. Moses’ love reflects God’s. That’s why Moses prevailed in his intercession. Israel’s Redeemer encouraged Moses to believe the best of Him.

Yahweh Himself is the only true witness of Who God actually is. He testified that Yahweh is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding with lovingkindness and faithfulness. He said that Yahweh will bring justice to Israel and preserve them.

This is God’s perspective of His glory. He filled Moses in on this, and through Moses we also get a glimpse. This fuller revelation of God’s glory changed Moses’ life and has encouraged myriads of multitudes.

Moses asked the equivalent of “God, what is it that You love about Yourself that would resonate with me?” God essentially said, toward Himself, in Moses’ presence, “God loves His people.” That is what God esteems as His glory. What does that say about the Lord? What type of person is He?

The Hebrew for God here is “El.” One way the term El is employed is as a generic term for a deity. What type of deity is this? What motivates Him? To begin, He is the compassionate and gracious God” (Exodus 34:6b TLV).

This is worth exploring, don’t you think? After all, this is the beginning of God’s revelation of His glory. It should get our attention. Keep reading and consider God’s compassion.

Due to angelic rebellion and human sin, this world is in a lot of pain. It’s good to know that the Creator identifies with those who are suffering and has determined to bring this wicked spiritual aberration to an end through a new beginning. One way we know this is because of what the Lord did for Israel and what He did to Egypt.

The Hebrews were in a lot of distress. Israel was despised and enslaved. That level of oppression was bad enough, but in addition, compounding their misery, Exodus describes an Egyptian genocidal agenda. This went on for some time.

Finally, the king of Egypt died, and Israel prayed, hoping for change.

Now it came about over the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. Bnei-Yisrael groaned because of their slavery. They cried out and their cry from slavery went up to God (Exodus 2:23 TLV) 

An entire nation cried out. The God of that nation responded. He responded with compassion. He set them free.

This God we’re called to love is compassionate. Compassion is a deep loving sensation that is akin to pity and motivates mercy. God’s compassion proceeds from His love and inspires Him to actively free people from bondage, misery, and death. The word that conveys this feeling is related to the Hebrew word for womb. It is the same motive that moved the Messiah.

Yeshua felt compassion (Matthew 9:36; 15:32). He was moved by the compassion He felt (Matthew 14:14; Mark 1:41). This account demonstrates the Messiah’s compassion and active authority.

Just as (Yeshua) came near the town gate, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, a widow. A considerable crowd from the town was with her. 

When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her and said, “Don’t cry.” Then He came up and touched the coffin, and the pallbearers came to a standstill. He said, “Young man! I tell you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began speaking, and Yeshua gave him to his mother. (Luke 7:12-15 TLV) 

God highly prizes this characteristic about Himself. It leads the list.

Whether to an individual, a nation, or to all humanity, Yeshua taught that Father is compassionate. The father of the prodigal son was explicitly described as feeling compassion.

While he was still far away, his father saw him and felt compassion. He ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. (Luke 15:20b TLV) 

Let’s believe this aspect of God’s glory and pray: Living God, in Yeshua’s name, make me aware of Your compassion. Help me love You more.

Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarsson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sat 3 June 2023 14th of Sivan, 5783 Parashat Nasso
Nu 7:72-89 Jdg 13:2-25 Ac 21:17-26; 24:14-18