Share

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Ways God's compassion and Mercy Shown-author-scott-lapierre

Five Wonderful Examples of God’s Compassion

James 5:11 says, “You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” The Bible contains several accounts that depict God’s compassion and mercy…

1. Manasseh, King of Judah

The wickedest king in the Old Testament. It seemed like there was no false god he did not worship and no command he did not break. He even sacrificed his own sons to Molech. God punished him by taking him into captivity:

Now when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.

2 Chronicles 33:12-13

God not only forgave Manasseh, He even restored him as king.

2. The Ninevites

Some of the evilest people in the Old Testament. When they repented, God spared them. This made Jonah so angry that he wanted to die, but God rebuked him:

Should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left?”

Jonah 4:11

3. The Prodigal Son

This parable reveals the heart of God the Father:

The son arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.

Luke 15:20

4. Those Crucifying Jesus

When He was crucified He prayed:

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Luke 23:34

5. Job

These accounts make God look “very compassionate and merciful.” But He doesn’t look that way in the Book of Job. If someone said, “Show me an example of God being ‘very compassionate and merciful,’” you probably wouldn’t point to Job.

Trials can make God look unmerciful and cruel. We tend to think if God was compassionate and merciful, He wouldn’t let people suffer. But James 5:11 says that even with Job—a man whose very name is associated with trials—God was still “very compassionate and merciful.” How was God compassionate and merciful toward Job?

First, God’s Compassion and Mercy Was Shown When He Blessed Job

God blessed Job with twice as much as he had before, and vindicated him before his family and friends (Job 42:10–11; see chapters 6 and 7).

Job 42:10-11—And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.


Here’s the sermon I preached on God’s compassion and mercy to Job and us.

Second, God’s Compassion and Mercy Was Shown When He Put Restrictions on Satan

We might not be comfortable with those restrictions, but they were present nonetheless:

  • Job 1:12—“The Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.’”
  • Job 2:6—“The Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.’”

No matter how painful a trial might be—physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually—God still restricted it from being worse. As a pastor, I have regularly told people not to say, “It could be worse,” but it is true—things could always be worse. If we could see how much worse, we would be thankful for God’s compassion and mercy.

Third, God’s Compassion and Mercy Was Shown by not Killing Job

Third, although Job was a godly man, he was still a sinner. At times, Job was angry, accusing, and demanding. He thought God owed him an audience and explanation. He was self-righteous, especially when declaring his innocence. Even this criticized God, because it implied He was unjust for treating Job so poorly. God revealed His compassion and mercy when He spoke to Job, but did not kill him.

Most parents would not let their children speak to them the way Job spoke of God, but God did little more than ask Job difficult questions he could not answer. While nobody would want to be questioned by God the way Job was, this was mild considering the punishment Job deserved. The lesson for us is we deserve much worse than we receive. If God gave full vent to His wrath, we would be destroyed. Instead:

  • Lamentations 3:22—“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.”
  • Hosea 11:8b–9a—“My heart recoils within me;my compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute My burning anger” (ESV).
  • Job 34:14–15—“If He should set His heart on it, if He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.”

Fourth, God’s Compassion and Mercy Was Shown Through the “End [God] Intended”

God’s compassion and mercy to Job is shown by the words “end intended by the Lord” (James 5:11). This phrase is so important you might underline, circle, or highlight it in your Bible. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you do not forget it.

Whatever trial we experience, God has a reason for it. In Job’s case, part of the end God intended was removing his self-righteousness and pride. God might use trials to accomplish the same end in our lives. Few things humble people more effectively than trials. Suffering is an equalizer that can bring even the highest people low.

Other times God uses trials to accomplish different ends in our lives. Regardless of what God is doing, we can be confident He does not allow suffering except for His purpose.

Speaking of God “What Is Right”

God does not use highlighting, italics, bold, or underlining for emphasis. But He does use repetition. God repeated Himself to Eliphaz:

My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has…For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.”

Job 42:7-8

God wants His character described correctly. He rebuked Job’s friends for misrepresenting Him, but He commended Job for speaking truthfully about Him. Understanding God’s character is always important, but it is especially important during trials. When we suffer, we are most tempted to draw incorrect conclusions about God: “God has forgotten about me,” “God has changed,” or “God does not love me.”

During trials we must turn to Scripture to be convinced of the truth and see what is “spoken of [God that] is right.” If God can be described this way with Job, then regardless of our trials, we must recognize God is still acting very compassionately and mercifully toward us.

Discussion Questions to Answer in the Comments Section

  1. Which of the four examples of God’s compassion and mercy most encouraged you? Why?
  2. Can you think of other examples in Scripture of God’s compassion and mercy toward individuals during trials?
  3. Provide three examples from your life, or the life of others that demonstrate God’s compassion and mercy during trials.

4 Responses

  1. The ending of the Book of Job can carry only two messages depending on how you interperet them:
    If you believe that God is shouting Job down for questioning His actions, justice, goodness, motivations, then the story says to take the pain of life and put on a fake smile, that God is good because he says so; life’s unfair, and God doesn’t care. God threatens Job into submission and dashes him with his tongue at how truly small and worthless he is.

    The other interpretation, is that God is actually comforting him, showing him, hand on shoulder, the immense power he has over evil, having made Behemoth wear his leash, and keeping Leviathan, also a named demon, in his fish bowl, how small Job is, and how delicate God’s instruments are. Then Job is so wonderfully impressed, he’s truly contrite, truly sorry, not threatened, into repentance of his natural reaction to what happened to him.

    1. Hello Gordon,
      I agree with the second interpretation. The main question throughout the book is: why is Job suffering? At the end God shows his sovereignty over all of creation, including the powerful creatures you mentioned. The idea is if God has this absolute sovereignty over all of the world, then Job can trust God regarding his trials. Although God didn’t give Job any answers, the questions God asked could give Job confidence and trust in God Himself.

  2. “God’s Mercy and Compassion to Job and Us” resonated with me as I to am caught up in the large number of employer layoff’s in the middle of expensive home repairs. “Job did not sin with his lips” like me going through all these what if’s related to the virus, the locust plagues, the economy, my wife working as a care giver. It’s all Vanity like the definition in a dictionary I use for study “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. Ecclesiastes 1” from the quality of being worthless and futile from being removed from that you depend on. Then hear your message about God’s compassion and mercy or grace reminding me that I am dependent on the Father in Heaven not my strength, and peace falls onto me. What’s more is I know from experience that all my trials, the fear (also a horticultural term) to cling to Him like climbing a trellis and I’m thankful for friends reminding me of what I forgot during the prosperous times.

    One of the Talmudic rabbis condemned Job for having related to God as if he were arguing with a friend. “Can one be friends with Heaven?” he wonders. Another rabbi, struck by Job’s strong yearning to die, observed, “Either friends like Job’s, or death.” Shall we say that Job’s friends kept him in life because they, like God, turned up when the chips were down? I don’t know but I can testify that He is the on-time God.

    I did find an interpretation of Life’s unfairness that is shared below from many years after the Babylonian exile 6th-4th BCE century’s during with time the book of Job was written.

    Job, the Protester vs. Job, the Stoic?

    In the prose text, the reader is left with no questions: God is entirely righteous, and suffering is to be born in reverent silence. In the poetic text, however, we have no easy answers. While God does not give a reason for the suffering of the innocent, God affirms that the relationship between suffering and sin is tenuous at best, and that our fate is not necessarily explainable by our actions. This led the Rabbis of the Talmud
    centuries later to conclude: “It is beyond our ability to explain the prosperity of the wicked, or the suffering of the righteous”

    By presenting the reader with two models — stoic resolve and impassioned resistance — we are invited to see both as genuine religious responses to life’s unfairness. At times in our own struggles, we may move between these worlds, sometimes seeking equanimity and sometimes crying out. In this way, the Book of Job is one of the Bible’s most human books, reflecting an internal struggle that most of us have felt, without offering simple directives.

    1. Hi Adrian,
      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I’m sorry to hear about your layoff. The Coronavirus has definitely made this a trying time for many.

      I preach sermons and write posts as part of my ministry as a pastor and author; however, they’re as much (and sometimes more) for me as they are for others. I need the same encouragement from God and His Word.

      I think the relationship between suffering and sin is clear too. While suffering we’re so tempted to “sin with our lips,” and become bitter toward God or others. By becoming bitter toward others I mean taking our hurt out on those around us.

      I will pray for you and your family, including that you can find more work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to my podcast
Subscribe to my newsletter

… and receive a free ebook. 
You can unsubscribe anytime.

Newsletter subscription for Scott LaPierre with Seven Biblical Insights