Racham, Mercy or Compassion

David Mitts

“Then Moses said, "I pray You, show me Your glory!" And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion."” (Exo 33:18-19, NAS95)


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Giving Opportunity Message
"Don't Appear Empty Handed"


In one of the most dramatic God encounters in the Bible, Moses implores God to show Moses His Glory! In response God, the Creator of the Universe declares about Himself, His goodness, His tov which we spoke about last session, His grace, Chen, and His compassion or mercy, “Racham”. I want to look at this quality of compassion or mercy that is the underpinning of our salvation. God is merciful and it is because of His mercy that we are capable of being saved.

“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Tit 3:4-7, NAS95)

We are saved not on the basis of anything we have done, right or wrong but on the basis of His mercy, His compassion, His Racham. God who is just, who in good, has also the quality of compassion, of mercy.

In following our pattern, let’s look at this ancient Hebrew root. There are 3 letters, the Reysh, which is the word picture of a head, implying the mind or thoughts that govern a matter. The second letter is the Chet, which is the word picture for a protecting fence or the guarding of something precious. We see this letter in the word for grace Chen, in which the chet protects the nun which is the seed of God’s Word. So grace is that divine protection of the seed. In Racham, the chet is similarly protecting something critical, which is the mem. Mem is the word picture for water and represents the power of life itself. The toast Le’ Chaim, is the Chet, a double of the yod and the mem. And the term mayim Chayim means living water. 

 Putting this all together mercy or compassion is what is in the mind of God that protects and brings forth new life.

 New life is a new set of possibilities. God’s mercy, His compassion has taken what was meant for destruction and rebirths a new life.

 “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And all who will follow this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.” (Gal 6:15-16, NASB)

It is profound to realize that it isn’t our past or our pedigree according to the flesh, what Paul calls the circumcision or the uncircumcision, but what God’s mercy and compassion brings forth a new creation that manifests what he calls the Israel of God.

 When we press a little deeper into Racham we see this. This becomes especially clear when we see that Racham is also the root for the word translated as womb.

 “The wicked have turned away from the womb, “Racham”; These who speak lies go astray from birth.” (Psa 58:3, NASB)

 There are actually 2 Hebrew words translated as womb, Racham and beten which means belly. Beten is an anatomical description, but Racham reaches deeper into the womb as the place of new life.

When we combine Racham as both God’s compassion and mercy with the womb, we get a deeper glimpse into mercy of God. Racham is the mind or thoughts of God that protects life. Clearly this is evident in the womb. The womb is the structure for mercy or compassion to flow.

 Each new life is an act of compassion from God. We see this played out most powerfully in the beginning of the covenant with Abraham and Sarah. Sarah’s womb was dead in the natural. Rebekah also was unable to conceive. In both cases God responded by making that which had no life, bring forth new life. This is an example of His Racham. 

 Miriam the mother of Yeshua also had her womb touched by God. When she prophetically sang her praise, she said:

 “And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bond-servant; For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed. “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. “And His mercy is to generation after generation Toward those who fear Him.” (Luk 1:46-50, NASB)

 Using the womb, Racham, to show His compassion, Racham, is a powerful picture connecting His compassion or mercy, to destiny.

 “Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb.” (Psa 22:9-10, NASB)

 Yeshua always healed from a place of compassion and mercy.

 “And a man with leprosy *came to Jesus, imploring Him and kneeling down, and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out with His hand and touched him, and *said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.” (Mar 1:40-42, NASB)

 The leper was the untouchable one. Leprosy was an external sign which meant an individual was cursed by God. Yeshua was the leper savior. Lepers were marked transgressors.

 “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isa 53:12, NKJV)

The Church has focused on the price paid for sin and he did bear our sin. But His mercy, His compassion went beyond our sin to something more primal to who we are.

 This is revealed in the womb. The womb is the place of destiny, the place of possibility the promise of hope.

 Yeshua in healing the leper through the compassion, the Racham of God gave the leper a new life and new realm of possibilities.

 God’s mercy, His Racham is more than about forgiving our sin. His salvation is also about a recovery of destiny a new birth, a new womb experience. We aren’t just saved out of the world but also into a destiny a purpose a new set of possibilities. This is what I believe the conversation with Nicodemus was about.

 “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?"” (Joh 3:1-9, NKJV)

 This is a mercy conversation, a Racham, a new womb experience. You see it is and has always been the nature of God to be merciful, Racham. He is always nurturing and protecting that which He breathes into life in the womb.

 “By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother's womb. My praise shall be continually of You.” (Psa 71:6, NKJV)

 God has upheld us from the time of our birth. He then through His mercy, His Racham gives us a new birth that He might bring us into our full destiny.

 It is so important to realize that God’s mercy, His Racham, is not just about extending us forgiveness for our sins. That is just part 1. He also in His mercy brings about a new reality, a new possibility for our lives. 

 Let’s consider the cross in this perspective. If the cross is all about our sin and the forgiveness of sin, then being born-again is really unnecessary. The atonement of the cross is NOT the end of the story. The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur happens in the 7th month along with Yom Teruah, and Succoth. These feasts are about living in the kingdom. Yom Teruah, the Day of the Shout is the reminder of Jericho and of the return of the Lord with a shout to enact His Kingdom on Earth.

 “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1Th 4:16, NKJV)

 Succoth, similarly, is about the restoration of the nations to the King.

 “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” (Zec 14:16, NKJV)

 Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement is sandwiched in between the return of the Lord and theworship of the nations. 

 This is because His mercy, His Racham which is revealed in the atonement of Yeshua is about a new birth, a new reality with new possibilities. This is the power beyond sin, which is the rebirth into a destiny through His mercy, His Racham, in the womb of new life.

 I am so grateful for God’s Racham, His compassion and mercy. I think this is what touches me most about our God. Yes, He is just and He will execute His vengeance on His enemies, But and I think it is the central point of the Gospel of love, He would that none would perish. He is a merciful God who takes our flaws and weaknesses and brings for the new life, new purpose, new possibilities. To me this is the central message of the cross. Yes I am forgiven for my sin, but more importantly, I redeemed from the curse and given a new set of possibilities, that the barrenness of my life before Him could not have foreseen.

 Activation: What activates God’s compassion is our gratitude.

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Php 4:6, NASB)

 Meditate on the realities that are in your life now because God birthed new possibilities out of the barrenness of your sin and failures. He truly turns our mourning into dancing and our sorrowinto joy!




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