And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.
This was a desperate time for Israel, as they had been toiling as slaves, and now the decree had been given in Egypt that none of the male babies of the Hebrews should live. Moses’ mother wanted to spare her son, though, and in her desperation, she sends him out where Pharaoh’s daughter would find him. And when Pharaoh’s daughter sees that tiny, crying baby, she can’t resist sparing him, helping him, taking him to be her own son. The law would have been to destroy the child, but compassion spares him. Compassion embraces instead of rejects. Compassion draws close instead of casting off. Compassion gives life instead of death and helps instead of harms.
Surely we who know God have experienced this great compassion ourselves. God saw us in our helpless state and had compassion on us. He sought to draw us out of sin and into righteousness, out of death and into life. He draws near instead of pushing us away or abandoning us to some worse fate. And then we can know Him and have a relationship with Him. We can have a part in His kingdom, which is much greater than the palace of Pharaoh in Egypt.
So how are we, then, demonstrating compassion toward others? It is a godly quality, a characteristic that Jesus exemplified in so many different situations, touching so many different lives. The compassionate response is a lot like the love of God toward us. Everyone has various struggles and needs. Everyone needs the hope of Jesus. And sometimes the compassion of God’s people is a tangible demonstration of God’s love that opens people’s hearts to Him.
Let’s not underestimate the power of compassion. In this case, it led a woman to spare a child, and that child grew up to deliver a nation. Compassion can make a difference in people’s lives in big and small ways. There is enough negativity and harshness and coldness out in the world. So may we as God’s people seek to live with love and grace toward those who cross our paths. May we reach out to others, draw near, offer a helping hand, and meet whatever needs we can with a heart of compassion that looks a lot like God’s love for us.