God's Compassion for All

"The LORD is good to everyone and has compassion for everything that he has made" - Psa 145:9 GW.

Compassion is probably the highest form of emotion one can feel toward one who is suffering. We hear about pity, concern, sympathy, empathy, all of which may be a little bit inferior to compassion. The reason why they are is that they don't always result to action. One can pity or have sympathy for another, cry and feel sorrow for or with them and still not act to alleviate the other person's condition. Compassion gets involved. When others keep their distance from those who are suffering, compassion prompts us to act on their behalf. The component of action is what separates compassion from those other emotions.

Author Fredrick Buechner describes what it means to have compassion in this way:

Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.

Today, we are told that God is a compassionate God. Although the bible also talks about God's pity, most of the time, it talks about His compassion. This is because we know that God is also a person of action. God never rested until a plan is put to place so that we all may have peace and joy in and with Him. God's actions toward all people is all over Buechner's definition above. The fatal capacity of God's compassion shows in the willingness of Jesus to die for all the whole world. And He did that by literally living in our own skin, feeling our own pains and suffering the same wants and needs. We can also see God's compassion in the joy that He expresses over the salvation of a single sinner. 

But the compassion of God isn't limited to a small group nor to a nation. Even in the beginning, it was not intended only to the seed of the nation of Israel. God showed His compassion to Ishmael, even if the nation of Israel would follow the lineage of the yet unborn Isaac. God said this to Abraham concerning Ishmael:

"I have heard your request about Ishmael. Yes, I will bless him, make him fertile, and increase the number of his descendants. He will be the father of 12 princes, and I will make him a great nation" (Gen 17:20 GW).

Or this:

"You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing" Psa 145:16 ESV.

These and many other verses clearly show that God's compassion extends to all of His creation. However, we can say that although God's compassion is for all, the kind of action that He extends may not be uniform for all. Israel had always been more favored than any other nation. In the same way that man had always been more favored than any other living thing and I would dare suggest that believers are always more favored than unbelievers, not only in the afterlife but even in this life. 

I specifically remember several of David's descendants who were either blessed or were spared from God's wrath for the sake of their ancestor David's faith and belief in God.

Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son" (1Ki 11:11-12 ESV).

More than ten generations later in the time of King Hezekiah, Judah was under threat from the King Sennacherib of Assyria and after praying to God, he received this reply from the Lord:

"For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David" (2Ki 19:34 ESV).

In today's passage, we are also told:

"He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.  (20)  The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy" (Psa 145:19-20 ESV).

There is no doubt a special favor and blessing is reserved for certain people and not for all. Those fear God and those who love Him are certainly more blessed than others.

Additionally, if we believe that the Lord is great and His greatness extends to everything that He does including His acts of compassion, then we can be sure that it may as well be unsearchable:

"Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable" (Psa 145:3 ESV).

Knowing our God to be compassionate to all of us, what should our proper response be?

David tells us this is what he will do:

"I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever" (Psa 145:1-2 ESV).

What does it mean to bless the Lord or to bless the name of the Lord? It means to speak well of his greatness and goodness — and really mean it from the depths of your soul.

In Psa 103:22 ESV David says, "Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!"

What David is doing when he says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” is saying that authentic speaking about God’s goodness and greatness must come from the soul.

Blessing God with the mouth without the soul would be hypocrisy. Jesus said, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8). David knows that danger, and he is preaching to himself. He is telling his soul not to let this happen.

And we should also caution ourselves from doing the same. Here is where the danger is most likely to happen: when we allow inconsistency between what we say and what we do. Blessing the name of the Lord requires that our generation shall commend God's work in the next:

"One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.  (6)  They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness.  (7)  They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness" (Psa 145:4-7 ESV).

Bot how can this happen and still have some credibility if our very children don't see our walk consistent with our talk? How can we be believable to them if they didn't witness this so-called abundant goodness of God in our own life? The rest of our story to the next generation will suffer if we fail to live righteously in their presence and we fail to be blessed by God because of it.

We can speak all we want about God's glorious kingdom, His power, His mighty deeds, His faithfulness. But unless we have something to show for them, we may as well speak to deaf ears. How do we answer them if they ask us, "Where is God's food in due season?" "Why did God not raise you up when you fall?" Questions like this won't be easy to answer if we have no proof of God doing them in our own lives and especially if our own children themselves suffered for lack of them.

Parents, we have a responsibility to live righteous and holy lives for the sake of the next generation. Otherwise, God's good ness dies with us and it will be difficult for our own children to recover.

Let not just our mouth speak of God's goodness then. Let our life speak an even stronger word and message about it. Lastly, let others also experience God's compassion as we extend to them the same in their time of suffering and need. If there's a real Spirit of God in us, compassion is like our second nature.

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