What does the Hebrew word rakhum mean, and why is it significant?
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In the Bible, God’s compassion is consistently shown as both an emotional and active reality. What does God do when he feels compassionate? How does he respond when his people return to him in order to follow him? (See Deuteronomy 4:29-31, Micah 7:19, Isaiah 14:1, Isaiah 49:10, and Jeremiah 30:18.)
God’s ancient people fail to return to his ways and end up in exile. Read Isaiah 49:15-16, where God assures his people of his compassion during a dark chapter in Israel’s history. What comes to mind when you consider God’s compassion for his people being related to a mother’s care for her infant?
God’s compassion compels him to rescue his people from their self-destructive ways. Learn how God does this by entering into humanity and all of its suffering (see Isaiah 53). Discuss your observations.
Jesus entered into the suffering of humanity to bring restoration (see Matthew 9:35-36, Luke 13:34). What are some of the ways Jesus embodies the compassion of God?
Describe the ways followers of Jesus are called to live out the same self-giving compassion of God (see Luke 6:35-36; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Colossians 3:12-13). What is one specific example of how this could be practiced in the life of the Church today?