Good And Compassion

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
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Listen while you read: "The Beautiful Garden Of Prayer"1 (Lyrics)

Have you noticed our human tendency to become more alert to news stories and weather reports about an unfamiliar place after someone close to us visits or moves there? I first noticed greater attention to news like that about ten years ago as our children became young adults and began to travel and make their lives independent of their parents.

Since my mother died and moved to heaven a few months ago, I find myself looking and listening for information about where she is. I have developed an even stronger daily habit of Bible reading and study in order to satisfy the desire to understand what life may be like for her now that she is absent from her body and present with the Lord.

Psalm 145:9 – The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. (NIV)

This was the first verse that I used for study and meditation as I thought about being present with the Lord.

I found the meanings of the Hebrew words "good" and "compassion" in my dictionary of Bible words. Those dictionary definitions became material for meditation.

The Hebrew word translated "good" is used with a very broad application. It can mean beautiful, best, better, bountiful, cheerful, kind, gracious, joyful, loving, most pleasant, sweet, well-favoured, ready, prosperous, and merry. When I tried to express "good" in my own words I came up with, "always positive, only superlative".

You might like to take a moment and compose your own paraphrase for the word "good" based on the Bible dictionary definition.

The Hebrew word translated "compassion" is a plural word, sometimes translated with the English word "mercies". It denotes great tenderness and cherishing. My paraphrase, "tender, cherishing nurture", was derived from the dictionary simile, "as a womb for a fetus".

Try thinking of your own words for the idea expressed by the definition for "compassion".

The most fun I find in this kind of Bible study comes when I replace the studied words from the Scripture with my own paraphrases. By putting Scripture into my own words, I store the meaning in my heart. I find the Scripture verses come back in memory when I need them, if I have become familiar with them in previous quiet times.

I also use my paraphrases to make prayers. Today's verse paraphrased in prayer came out, "Lord, You are 'always positive, only superlative' to all [including me and the named people for whom I intercede]. Lord, You 'tenderly cherish and nurture' all You have made [including me and the named people for whom I intercede]. I give joyous thanks in Christ Jesus for all Your goodness!"

What prayer would you say based on Psalm 145:9? Is this kind of Bible word study for you? Besides Bible dictionary books, there are many Internet resources to use for reference.

Prayer: Father in heaven, in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord, we seek an increasing appetite for Your Word and all that brings us closer to You. Give us greater faith as we nourish our souls with thoughts of Your goodness. May Your kind of tender, cherishing mercies flow from us to nurture the lives of others. Amen.

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Pat Bell <>
Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada

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