The Hebrew word “shamar” (shaw-mar) means to guard, watch, keep, observe, beware. It has a large range of uses in the Old Covenant of the Bible derived from the primary significance of keeping watch or guarding. Is it distinctly the shepherd’s word – the shepherd keeps watch-guard over his sheep. Someone that shamars is a shomer. That is, the Lord is our shomer!
Jesus is the Good Shepherd
In the New Covenant (2) Jesus describes Himself as the good shepherd who faithfully keeps watch, guards His sheep, and also gives His life for them. He is not a hireling, but the owner of the flock. We belong to Him. He is our Shomer (shO’-mur) – our Keeper who shamars His sheep.
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11 NET)
"I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me– just as the Father knows me and I know the Father– and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John. 10:14-15 NET)
Jesus is the Great Shepherd
Now may the God of peace who by the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ, (Hebrews 13:20 NET)
Jesus is the Chief Shepherd
Then when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that never fades away. (1 Peter 5:4 NET)
Psalms 23 portrays the lovingkindness with which the shepherd leads and cares for His flock.
“The Lord is my Shepherd (Yahweh-Rohi). I have all I need. He leads me by the quiet stream where I can rest and be refreshed. He takes away all my anxious thoughts and gives me hope. He guides me in the right direction and is utterly dependable. When I face unknown dangers, or even death, I’m not afraid. His peace overwhelms me. Even when I am attacked on all sides, I know I’m safe. His presence and provision surrounds me, and I’m comforted by His Spirit. Love and mercy always follow me, and I’m confident that I’ll remain with Him forever. (Psalms 23, A Psalm of David)”(4)
It is the PICTURE of mercy – exactly what God the Father and Jesus the son are and it is what He wants all of His children to be… mercy-ers, not judgers! Peace is only found in the Mercy and Compassion of God.
Whoever is wise, let him take note [shamar] of these things! Let them consider the LORD's acts of loyal love! (Psalms 107:43 NET)
In Psalms 107:43 “take note” is the translation of the Hebrew word “shamar” which again means to guard, watch, keep, observe, attend, or beware. The primary significance is of keeping watch or guard. From this word comes “shomer” meaning “keeper”. God, Himself is our “shomer” – our keeper!
A song of ascents. I look up toward the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, the Creator of heaven and earth! May he not allow your foot to slip! May your protector [shamar] not sleep! Look! Israel's protector [shamar] does not sleep or slumber! The LORD is your protector [shamar]; the LORD is the shade at your right hand. The sun will not harm you by day, or the moon by night. The LORD will protect [shamar] you from all harm; he will protect your life. The LORD will protect [shamar] you in all you do, now and forevermore. (Psalms 121:1-8 NET)
God wants you to be the same… to watch, keep, and guard (shamar) what He teaches in His Word. We learn to do it by seeing and loving Him and acting on the Word given to us. When we see what He IS, and love Him as He IS, then we want, and earnestly desire, to keep (shamar) His instructions.
DOING is the key to UNDERSTANDING.
If you love me, you will obey my commandments. (John 14:15 NET)
For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror. For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was. But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out– he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:23-25 NET)
By faith, we understand... (Hebrews 11:3 NET)
Again, if you DO by faith what the Word teaches then your understanding will open to the Word. There is no abiding knowledge of God (i.e., knowing God intimately) apart from DOING His Word.
Consequently, seeing what He IS, and loving Him as He IS, will cause us to want, and earnestly desire, to keep (shamar) his instructions. Understanding that God is MERCY is the root and foundation of seeking. Without this foundation, the desire to seek Him fades away during the proving of our faith which works out patience. Patience is humble endurance, uncomplaining endurance – endurance in doing His Words.
because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (James 1:3 NET)
The main Hebrew word translated “mercy” is “hhesed” (hh – pronounced with a heavy breath). Hhesed is translated by three main synonyms: mercy, lovingkindness, and kindness. When reading the words kindness or lovingkindness you can just as well read it as mercy. Hhesed (mercy) is the eager and ardent desire by which one is led to do good to someone. That good is nearly always a kindness and a lovingkindness that implies some degree of love. Hhesed describes a mercy IN GOD which is not merely a legal whim of a despotic ruler. Hhesed describes a personal desire, strong desire, to do the good which is in itself. A lovingkindness and not just a “good turn” for someone for personal reasons, such as exchanging favors. Remove the word mercy-lovingkindness from the Bible and there is no Bible – just a dead book, no salvation, no Savior, no Kingdom of God, no Word of God to man, no eternal life – nothing!
What was the passion of Christ? The mercy-passion of His cross where He offered up for sinners His life and His blood unto God.
To the same apostles also, after his suffering, he presented himself alive with many convincing proofs. He was seen by them over a forty-day period and spoke about matters concerning the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3 NET)
The passion for mercy is the opposite of all coveting lusts. Lust is false love, false intimacy with only temporary pleasure followed by endless emptiness.
If you will allow yourself to be truly imbued with this divine passion, which is the ministering activity of divine love, you will find that you are walking in the path of overcoming – triumphing over all evil lusts.
because everyone who has been fathered by God conquers the world. This is the conquering power that has conquered the world: our faith. (1 John 5:4 NET)
We know that everyone fathered by God does not sin, but God protects the one he has fathered, and the evil one cannot touch him. (1 John 5:18 NET)
Through these things he has bestowed on us his precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised you may become partakers of the divine nature, after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire. (2 Peter 1:4 NET)
We are typically afraid of judgment because we do not understand mercy. Judgment is the dividing of the evil from the good, the false from the true. When you are living (doing) God’s mercy then you KNOW that God’s judgment is FOR you, delivering you, upholding, sustaining, and supplying every need by His mercy. If we DO His will of mercy, then we will understand that His judgment is FOR us, in our favor AGAINST the adversary.
Grace is the smiling face of God turned to us in favor. That favor is unmerited for it is what-God-IS. It is the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The knowledge of that glory comes to us through Jesus who is our brother-man, and whose life-dwelling is in the glory of God. Grace may be called the FACE of God’s love, Mercy the WORKING of that love, and Compassion being moved in the FELLOWSHIP of that love.
Mercy is God’s supply system for every need everywhere. Mercy (1) is that kindness, compassion, and tenderness that is a passion to suffer with or participate in, another’s ills or evils in order to relieve, heal, and restore. It accepts another freely and gladly AS they are and supplies the needed good of life to build up and to bring to peace and keep in peace. It is to take another into one’s heart JUST AS THEY ARE and cherish and nourish them there. Mercy takes another’s sins and evils and faults as its own and frees the other by bearing them to God. Mercy is love-in-action or lovingkindness (hhesed). This is the Glow-of-love, this is the ANOINTING!
A great inward tenderness of love that moves the soul is the Hebrew word rahhamim. It is a companion word to mercy (hhesed) and it is also translated as tender mercies or merciful.
The LORD passed by before him and proclaimed: “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, (Exodus 34:6 NET)
The LORD is compassionate and merciful; he is patient and demonstrates great loyal love. (Psalms 103:8 NET)
Jesus is our Mercy!
This “mercy” is lived-unto-God, and unto Him alone for it flows forth from Him and returns to Him. We do God’s mercy for His sake not man’s, for only God is worthy. We do it to others seeking nothing in return – only to give. Seeking no gain or honor frees us from the judgments of hurt, angry, resentful, or envious people. This mercy is of the riches of God who is rich in mercy. Inside of mercy is salvation – Jesus is that salvation! Come take up your cross and follow Jesus – God’s MERCY (hhesed) and our Shomer (keeper)!
Grace, Mercy, Compassion
For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. (John 3:16-18 NET)
This is GRACE doing MERCY in COMPASSION! (3)
Blessed Father, we want to KNOW You. Give us light to see these things as You see them. And open our eyes to see Jesus as He is everywhere in Thy Word. O Lord, I see it, the fullness of thy Earth is THY MERCY. Teach me, O teach me, that I may learn this great section of thy law-laid-down, thy statues. Cause me to come completely under the dominion of Your Word – the knowledge of how-to-live. I acknowledge that Your mercy is “forever” In Jesus precious name. Amen (based on Psalms 119:64)
My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father's hand. The Father and I are one." (John 10:27-30 NET)
I have other sheep that do not come from this sheepfold. I must bring them too, and they will listen to my voice, so that there will be one flock and one shepherd. (John. 10:16 NET)
They will never go hungry or be thirsty again, and the sun will not beat down on them, nor any burning heat, because the Lamb in the middle of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:16,17 NET)
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.
(2) “Covenant” in the Bible means “God’s proposal of blessing”.
(3) This blog adapted from: What the Bible Teaches about Mercy, Authored by Rex B. Andrews May 1, 1964, Published in 1985 by Zion Faith Homes, Zion, Illinois 60099
(4) My Shepherd by Ron Scurfield, My Shepherd (1), Seeds of the Kingdom Daily Devotional August 21, 2013, Ellel Ministries International
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