“Who is wise and will guard these things and will understand the mercy of the Lord?” (Ps.107:43)

Who is wise? What is one key aspect of gaining wisdom? The wise person is one who understands The Mercy, God’s mercy.

With all my might, I dearly want to “stand under” mercy, gaze upon it, soak in it, and truly understand it. With thanks to Keren Pryor and Cindy Lou Elliott of, let’s see what mercy looks like in Scripture. “The fullness of Biblical mercy is revealed in a combination of three Hebrew words:

  1. Rachem – the Hebrew word most often translated as mercy in the Jewish Old Testament, the Tanakh. It is related to the Hebrew word for womb, and so rachem is a tender, protected place where life springs forth. To live in God’s rachem is to live in God’s womb.
  2. Hesed – A Hebrew word most often translated as loving-kindness but also as mercy. Hesed is relational mercy, covenantal faithfulness and love.
  3. Chanan – the Hebrew word translated as mercy, it touches on mercy in the context of pity, forgiveness and grace.”

A Scriptural example would be Psalm 86:15, But you, O Lord, are a God merciful (rachem) and gracious (chanan), slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness (hesed) and truth.

So, earnestly do I want to look into the past and recognize how God has shown mercy, as David did in Ps. 13:5, “I have trusted in your mercy.” I want to consider the present, in the dark and confusion, and ask good questions, and still confidently trust in The Mercy, like David did in Ps. 52:8, “I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.” And I want to look at the future, into the unknown, and hope in his mercy as Jeremiah did in Lamentations 3:21-24, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore will I hope in him.”

God’s mercy is unfathomable, a deep mystery, and yet still there is much we can understand and live into. Mercy can be described as eager love-in-action; steadfast kindness; loyal compassion; faithful favor; the ardent desire to do good for someone; the deep love reserved for someone in an intimate relationship… and if there is no prior relationship, the strong desire to treat someone as if that relationship existed.

Mercy is the chief attribute of God, and seems to be the main way he shows his power. And so if we were made in his image, mercy is meant to be our main attribute as well. Mercy: Such is God with us, such are we to be with others.