Merciful God (Deuteronomy 4: 31)

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Merciful God (Deuteronomy 4: 31). In (Deuteronomy 4: 31), God says to Israel, “For the Lord your God is merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.”

The word translated “merciful” is “rachuwn”, which means “compassionate, full of compassion”. It’s almost always used of God in Scripture. It’s from the root word “racham”, which means “to love, have compassion on, show mercy, have pity”. According to Gesenius’s Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, the primary idea of this word “appears to be in cherishing, soothing, and in a gentle emotion of mind.” And it’s sometimes used of the love of parents towards their children. (Source:

In Exodus 34: 6, we read, “And the Lord passed by before him (Moses), and proclaimed. “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth.”

2 Chronicles 30:9 says, “… for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.”

Nehemiah 9: 17 says, “…But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate (merciful), slow to anger and abounding in love…” Psalm 86:15 repeats the same truth: “But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness and truth.” And again in Psalm 103:8 “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.”

And Joel 2: 12-13 says, “Even now,’declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart,with fasting and weeping and mourning.’ Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate (merciful), slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

It’s been said that grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve (i.e salvation), and mercy is God Not giving us what we DO deserve (judgement).

Webster’s 1828 dictionary has this entry for mercy: “that benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves… It implies benevolvence, tenderness, mildness, pity, or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders.”

Again and again, Scripture tells of God’s mercy towards us. In Day Thirty-Six of this study we examined God’s judgement, but Scripture says mercy triumphs over judgement  (James 2:13). But the repeated theme of God’s great mercy towards us carries another theme-our great need of His mercy.

We deserve judgement for our sin, Scripture says there is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3: 10), and the same chapter tells us all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (v. 23)

But Lamentations 3: 23 tells us, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions (mercies) never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

We have the choice of whether to accept God’s mercy- but doing so means we must acknowledge our vast need for it. And when we do, we have Jesus’ wonderful promise in John 6: 37 that He will not turn away any who come to Him.

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