Riverside Community Church

EL Racham Merciful God


In the days of the Revolutionary War there lived in Pennsylvania a Pastor by the name of Peter Miller who enjoyed the friendship of General George Washington. There was also in the town where Peter Miller lived an evil-willed man named Michael Wittman, who did all in his power to abuse and oppose this pastor.

        One day Michael Wittman was involved in treason and was arrested and sentenced to death. The old Preacher started out on foot and walked the whole 70 miles to Philadelphia to plead for this man’s life. He was admitted into Washington’s presence and at once begged for the life of the traitor.

        Washington replied “No Peter, I can not grant you the life of your friend.” The Preacher exclaimed, “he is not my friend – he is the bitterest enemy I have.” Washington cried “What!! You have walked 70 miles to save the life of an enemy? That puts the matter in a different light. I will grant the pardon.”

        Peter Miller took Michael Wittman from the brink of death into his home not as an enemy but as a friend.


George Washington moved by the compassion of Peter Miller granted mercy.


Ephesians 2:4-5 – “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (saved US from death)


Our God is an awesome God Yes -Yes -Yes BUT our God is a merciful God, El Racham – God shows mercy and God is merciful.


Deuteronomy 4:31

For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not forsake you, neither destroy you,


God has shown mercy to you and I:

-when we did not believe in Him, He showed mercy and waited

        -in compassionate love for You He called to you, and in mercy forgave all your sins when you came in faith to Him.

-when we wandered from Him, when we failed Him, when we stubbornly went astray from Him, God received us back with open arms because God is merciful, El Racham.


God’s mercy is special, very, very special.


-there are many Hebrew words for mercy, merciful such as:

        Chemlah, Chesed, Chasid, Chanan but God’s mercy is mostly recorded as  RACHAM

                -meaning to love pity and to love being merciful

                à God loves to show mercy

  • When God showed mercy to you, He loved it


Psalm 116:5 King James Version

5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful.

                -our gracious and righteous God loves to show mercy


What is the biblical definition of mercy? Mercy relates to forgiveness and withholding punishment. For example, God the Father showed mercy on us when he sacrificed his son, Christ Jesus, on the Cross to pay the price for our sins.


What does merciful mean in Hebrew?

The basic Hebrew word for mercy, racham or in plural reḥamim, is “womb” and connects mercy to womb emotion — what a mother instinctively feels for the child of her womb. A deep inward feeling of loving concern, compassion, usually of a superior for an inferior and ...


Jesus who is God and who expresses God’s compassion and mercy said as He overlooked Jerusalem:

Matthew 23:37

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who have been sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

        -can you not sense the compassion of Christ and sense His desire to extend mercy to Jerusalem? Jesus/God’s has open arms to them, but they wouldn’t.

        -God’s has open arms to us as well, God loves to show His mercy to us, to forgive us, to welcome us back into a close relationship, to bless us, BUT are we willing  à I am, I have, I’m so blessed.


What I am about to say I say reverently, in the fear of the Lord and very carefully:

        God met with Moses and described Himself with names that He wanted Moses to hear and know. Names of importance. They are for us too.


Exodus 34:5 And  יְהוָה YHWH (Behold -mighty hand -behold -the nail) descended in the cloud (Jah -He who rides the clouds), and stood with him (Moses) there, and proclaimed the name of (My name is)  יְהוָה YHWH  .

6  And יְהוָה YHWH  passed by before him, and proclaimed,  יְהוָה YHWH,  יְהוָה YHWH El (God), Rakhum (merciful) and Hannun (gracious) , Erek Appayim (Long suffering), and Rav Hesed (abundant in goodness) and Emet (truth).


יְהוָה YHWH is EL RACHAM.. merciful


Please note that compassion and mercy are intertwined.


        A little boy falls off his bike and scraps his knees terribly. The mother gasps with the womb emotion of compassion and rushes in mercy to comfort him and to treat his scraps.

Mercy is the compassionate treatment of those in distress, especially when it is within one’s power to punish them such as scold him for his carelessness. No scolding just compassion and mercy.

        --That’s our God, El Racham



The Latin word “mercy” in medieval times written as merced, meant "price paid." It has the connotation of forgiveness, benevolence and kindness.

In the legal sense, mercy often refers to compassionate behavior from a person in power, such as when a judge shows leniency as George Washington pardoned in mercy Michael Wittman.


But the Bible also illustrates that mercy can be more than just forgiveness and withholding punishment. God also shows his mercy for those who are suffering, those who need help, those who need direction and protection and those who need relief from distress and need peace. God feels compassion and acts with mercy.


In Matthew 17:15, a man approaches Jesus and kneels before Him saying, "Lord, have mercy on my son. … He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water."

Jesus' response, to heal the man's son, is one of mercy. Jesus’ compassion prompts him to act, and he mercifully loves, heals and restores.


God’s mercy towards you will never end

Lamentations 3:22-23 – “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies (racham) never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”


Your salvation is based on God’s mercy for you

Titus 3:5 – “He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy,

1 Peter 1:3 –By his great mercy he has given us a new birth …


God’s mercy is available for you

Hebrews 4:16 –Let us therefore approach the throne of grace (prayer) with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”


Of all the qualities of God, I need God to be merciful, merciful to me.        

        I’m a sinner, I fail, I fall short, I disappoint, I’m head strong, I’m helpless at times, I can’t earn salvation or garner heaven. I can’t obtain without this merciful God, peace, inner joy, a solid rock to stand on or a refuge to hide in.       Oh, God have mercy on me. And He has.


Do you need God’s mercy, for salvation? Ask Him and He will.

Do you need God’s mercy in your life, in your situation, in your distress,

        Ask God for His mercy and help. Ask Him, He loves to show mercy.



God of mercy and God of love

We come to you on knee,

We know You hear from up above

Oh have mercy on our needs.


June 4, 2023