Through Old Testament writers ― who lived at varying times between the years 1400 B.C. through 430 B.C., a span of time of just under 1,000 years ― God was consistent in what can be termed His “Self description.”
 
We can better focus on the topic of His mercy when we see how He describes Himself:
 
Exodus 34:6
    6And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord! the Lord! a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth,
 
Psalm 86:5
    5For You, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive [our trespasses, sending them away, letting them go completely and forever]; and You are abundant in mercy and loving-kindness to all those who call upon You.
 
Psalm 86:15
    15But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness and truth.
 
Psalm 103:8
    8The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness.
 
Psalm 145:8-9
    8The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and loving-kindness.
    9The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works [the entirety of all things created].
 

Reread the line just above, Psalm 145:9. “His tender mercies are over all His works.”
 
If you pay attention as you read the verses from the Bible in this section of the website, you will find that quite a number of verses include the word “tender” together with the word “mercy” like this ― “His tender mercies.”
 
Spend a moment contrasting these two concepts: “mercy” and “tender mercies.”
 
Add to this what Jesus said in John 16:27: “For the Father Himself tenderly loves you.” 

You can find many more statements like this in the section He Names Himself Father.
 
What are your conclusions about God’s feelings about you?
 
Luke 6:36
    36So be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all these].
 
Alternate Text
 

Using an unforgettable illustration to explain the word “grace,” a pastor asked his congregation to imagine the unimaginable ― a young man murdered another man’s son.
 
If the father went to the young man’s home and murdered him, the father would have accomplished “vengeance.”
 
If the father went to the police, the police went to the young man’s home and put the young man in prison, the father would have determined “justice.”
 
In these first two instances, the father didn’t investigate the young man’s motive or intent. The father focused on how this awful situation impacted him, and consequently demanded that the young man be punished for the murder.
 
Whether the murder was a very wrong choice or an awful accident, regardless of intent, the father wanted the young man to suffer the rest of his life.
 
After several years, the father visited the young man in jail.
 
As the young man was telling the truth of his life to the father, the father realized that the young man had never known the care that parents provide. He had never been instructed in the complexities of life. He had never been fathered. The young man had never been loved!
 
If the father realized then that even if the young man spent the rest of his life in prison, his punishment could not bring back his son, and if the father went to the police and asked them to release the young man without any punishment, the father would initiate “mercy.”
 
If after the young man’s release from prison, the father of the murdered son brought the murderer into his own home, adopted him in place of his murdered son, and spent the rest of his life role-modeling fatherhood and parental love, the father of the murdered son would demonstrate “grace.”
 
While God your Father extends grace to each of us throughout every day ― and you can find many examples of this in the section His Grace And Kindness ― He applauds mercy:
 
James 2:13
    13For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.


Alternate Text
 

Father God’s virtues of mercy and grace are displayed through the father in the following story. For insights into God's heart of love for you, individually, be sure to read the section of the website named His Father's Heart Expressed.


Luke 15:11-32
    11And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons;
    12And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them.
    13And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living.
    14And when he had spent all he had, a mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want.
    15So he went and forced (glued) himself upon one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed hogs.
    16And he would gladly have fed on and filled his belly with the carob pods that the hogs were eating, but [they could not satisfy his hunger and] nobody gave him anything [better].
    17Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger!
    18I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.
    19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants.
    20So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity [compassion] and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently].
    21And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son [I no longer deserve to be recognized as a son of yours]!
    22But the father said to his bond servants, Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet.
    23And bring out that [wheat-]fattened calf and kill it; and let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry,
    24Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to revel and feast and make merry.
    25But his older son was in the field; and as he returned and came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
    26And having called one of the servant [boys] to him, he began to ask what this meant.
    27And he said to him, Your brother has come, and your father has killed that [wheat-]fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and well.
    28But [the elder brother] was angry [with deep-seated wrath] and resolved not to go in. Then his father came out and began to plead with him,
    29But he answered his father, Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me [so much as] a [little] kid, that I might revel and feast and be happy and make merry with my friends;
    30But when this son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you have killed for him that [wheat-] fattened calf!
    31And the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.
    32But it was fitting to make merry, to revel and feast and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!


Did you notice how the father waited in verse 20? Compare his waiting to this verse:
 
Isaiah 30:18
    18 And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!
 

There is an English song which speaks of “the only time I saw God run.” Often, in the English language, “run” means “to run away from.”
 
This song, though, puts the writer in the place of the younger son in this story.
 

In the song, the younger son marvels that the only time he saw his father run, his father was running toward him and, even as the father ran, he was preparing to welcome his son back home. How much greater can God's welcome be for you, God, Who names Himself your Father?


Alternate Text
 

The mercy and grace continually streaming toward us from Father God’s heart is far above all mercy and grace that any human can extend.
 
Isaiah 55:8-9
    8For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.
    9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
 

With the psalmist, we might pray:
 
Psalm 25:4-11
    4Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.
    5Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You [You only and altogether] do I wait [expectantly] all the day long.
    6Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercy and loving-kindness; for they have been ever from of old.
    7Remember not the sins (the lapses and frailties) of my youth or my transgressions; according to Your mercy and steadfast love remember me, for Your goodness' sake, O Lord.
    8Good and upright is the Lord; therefore will He instruct sinners in [His] way.
    9He leads the humble in what is right, and the humble He teaches His way.
    10All the paths of the Lord are mercy and steadfast love, even truth and faithfulness are they for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.
    11For Your Name's sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity and my guilt, for [they are] great.
 
Alternate Text
 

Your Father God proves the mercy undergirding His nature and character when He counsels:
 
 Exodus 20:6
    6But showing mercy and steadfast love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.
 
Exodus 23:22
    22But if you will indeed listen to and obey My voice and all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
 
Exodus 33:11-17
    11And the Lord spoke with Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Moses returned to the camp, but his minister Joshua, a young man, did not depart from the [prayer] tent.
    12Moses said to the Lord, See, You say to me, Bring up this people, but You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You said, I know you by name and you have also found favor in My sight.
    13Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You [progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, perceiving and recognizing and understanding more strongly and clearly] and that I may find favor in Your sight. And [Lord, do] consider that this nation is Your people.
    14And the Lord said, My Presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.
    15And Moses said to the Lord, If Your Presence does not go with me, do not carry us up from here!
    16For by what shall it be known that I and Your people have found favor in Your sight? Is it not in Your going with us so that we are distinguished, I and Your people, from all the other people upon the face of the earth?
    17And the Lord said to Moses I will do this thing also that you have asked, for you have found favor, loving-kindness, and mercy in My sight and I know you personally and by name.
 
Exodus 33:18-22
    18And Moses said, I beseech You, show me Your glory.
    19And God said, I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim My name, THE LORD, before you; for I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy and loving-kindness on whom I will show mercy and loving-kindness.
    20But, He said, You can not see My face, for no man shall see Me and live.
    21And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place beside Me, and you shall stand upon the rock,
    22And while My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.
 
Exodus 34:6
    6And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord! the Lord! a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth,
 
Leviticus 26:9
    9For I will be leaning toward you with favor and regard for you, rendering you fruitful, multiplying you, and establishing and ratifying My covenant with you.
 
Deuteronomy 3:22
    22You shall not fear them, for the Lord your God shall fight for you.
 
Deuteronomy 5:10
    10And showing mercy and steadfast love to thousands and to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.
 
Psalm 12:5
    5Now will I arise, says the Lord, because the poor are oppressed, because of the groans of the needy; I will set him in safety and in the salvation for which he longs [pants].
 
Psalm 33:6-9
    6By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all their host by the breath of His mouth.
    7He gathers the waters of the sea as in a bottle; He puts the deeps in storage places.
    8Let all the earth fear the Lord [respect and worship Him]; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
    9For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
 
Psalm 46:10
    10Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I AM God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!
 
Psalm 89:24-26
    24My faithfulness and My mercy and loving-kindness shall be with him, and in My name shall his horn be exalted [great power and prosperity shall be conferred upon him].
    25I will set his hand in control also on the Sea, and his right hand on the rivers.
    26He shall cry to Me, You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation!
 
Isaiah 14:24
    24The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, Surely, as I have thought and planned, so shall it come to pass, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand—
 
Isaiah 40:28-31
    28Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding.
    29He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound].
    30Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted;
    31But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.
 
Isaiah 41:4
    4Who has prepared and done this, calling forth and guiding the destinies of the generations [of the nations] from the beginning? I, the Lord--the first [existing before history began] and with the last [an ever-present, unchanging God]--I AM He.
 
Isaiah 44:24
    24Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and He Who formed you from the womb: I AM the Lord, Who made all things, Who alone stretched out the heavens, Who spread out the earth by Myself [who was with Me]?
 
Isaiah 45:2
    2I will go before you and level the mountains [to make the crooked places straight]; I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut asunder the bars of iron.
 
Isaiah 45:12
    12I made the earth and created man upon it. I, with My hands, stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.
 
Isaiah 46:4
    4Even to your old age I AM He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you.
 
Isaiah 49:8-13
    8Thus says the Lord, In an acceptable and favorable time I have heard and answered you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you; and I will preserve you and give you for a covenant to the people, to raise up and establish the land [from its present state of ruin] and to apportion and cause them to inherit the … heritages,
    9Saying to those who are bound, Come forth, and to those who are in [spiritual] darkness, Show yourselves [come into the light of the Sun of righteousness]. They shall feed in all the ways [in which they go], and their pastures shall be [not in deserts, but] on all the bare [grass-covered] hills.
    10They will not hunger or thirst, neither will mirage [mislead] or scorching wind or sun smite [harm] them; for He Who has mercy on them will lead them, and by springs of water will He guide them.
    11And I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways will be raised up.
    12Behold, these shall come from afar--and, behold, these from the north and from the west, and these from the land of Sinim (China).
    13Sing for joy, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth, and break forth into singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people and will have compassion upon His afflicted.
 
Isaiah 49:15-16
    15[And the Lord answered] Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will not forget you.
    16Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.
 
Isaiah 49:24-25
    24Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captives of the just be delivered?
    25For thus says the Lord: Even the captives of the mighty will be taken away, and the prey of the terrible will be delivered; for I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will give safety to your children and ease them.
 
Isaiah 52:6
    6Therefore My people shall know what My name is and what it means; therefore they shall know in that day that I AM He who speaks; behold, I AM!
 
Isaiah 54: 10
    10For though the mountains should depart and the hills be shaken or removed, yet My love and kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace and completeness be removed, says the Lord, Who has compassion on you.
 
Isaiah 54:17
    17But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord.
 
Isaiah 55:8-11
    8For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord.
    9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
   10For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
   11So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
 
Isaiah 58:8-11
    8Then shall your light break forth like the morning, and your healing (your restoration and the power of a new life) shall spring forth speedily; your righteousness (your rightness, your justice, and your right relationship with God) shall go before you [conducting you to peace and prosperity], and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
    9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, Here I AM. If you take away from your midst yokes of oppression [wherever you find them], the finger pointed in scorn [toward the oppressed or the godly], and every form of false, harsh, unjust, and wicked speaking,
    10And if you pour out that with which you sustain your own life for the hungry and satisfy the need of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in darkness, and your obscurity and gloom become like the noonday.
    11And the Lord shall guide you continually and satisfy you in drought and in dry places and make strong your bones. And you shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of water whose waters fail not.
 
Isaiah 59:21
    21As for Me, this is My covenant with them, says the Lord: My Spirit, Who is upon you [and Who writes the law of God inwardly on the heart], and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouths of your [true, spiritual] children, or out of the mouths of your children's children, says the Lord, from henceforth and forever.
 
Isaiah 60:17
   17Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver; and instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron. [Instead of the tyranny of the present] I will appoint peace as your officers and righteousness as your taskmasters.
 
Isaiah 60:19-20
    19The sun shall no more be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you, but the Lord shall be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory and your beauty.
    20Your sun shall no more go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself, for the Lord shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended.
 
Isaiah 65:24
    24And it shall be that before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear.
 
Isaiah 66:9
    9Shall I bring to the [moment of] birth and not cause to bring forth? says the Lord. Shall I Who causes to bring forth shut the womb? says your God.
 
Jeremiah 1:12
    12Then said the Lord to me, You have seen well, for I AM alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.
 
Jeremiah 9:23-24
    23Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise and skillful person glory and boast in his wisdom and skill; let not the mighty and powerful person glory and boast in his strength and power; let not the person who is rich [in physical gratification and earthly wealth] glory and boast in his [temporal satisfactions and earthly] riches;
    24But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I AM the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.
 
Jeremiah 23:4
    4And I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them. And they will fear no more nor be dismayed, neither will any be missing or lost, says the Lord.
 
Jeremiah 23:23-24
    23Am I a God at hand, says the Lord, and not a God afar off?
    24Can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? says the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? says the Lord.
 
Jeremiah 24:6-7
    6For I will set My eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them up and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up.
    7And I will give them a heart to know (recognize, understand, and be acquainted with) Me, that I AM the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.
 
Jeremiah 29:11
    11For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
 
Jeremiah 31:3
    3The Lord appeared from of old to me, saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you.
 
Jeremiah 31:25
    25For I will [fully] satisfy the weary soul, and I will replenish every languishing and sorrowful person.
 
Jeremiah 32:27
    27Behold, I AM the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for Me?
 
Jeremiah 32:38-41
    38And they will be My people, and I will be their God.
    39And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may [reverently] fear Me forever for the good of themselves and of their children after them.
    40And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will not turn away from following them to do them good, and I will put My [reverential] fear in their hearts, so that they will not depart from Me.
    41Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly and in truth with My whole heart and with My whole being.
 
Ezekiel 12:28
    28Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord God: There shall none of My words be deferred any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be performed, says the Lord God.
 
Ezekiel 16:9-14
     9Then I washed you with water; yes, I thoroughly washed away your [clinging] blood from you and I anointed you with oil.
    10I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with [fine seal] leather; and I girded you about with fine linen and covered you with silk.
    11I decked you also with ornaments and I put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck.
    12And I put a ring on your nostril and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown upon your head!
    13Thus you were decked with gold and silver, and your raiment was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth; you ate fine flour and honey and oil. And you were exceedingly beautiful and you prospered into royal estate.
    14And your renown went forth among the nations for your beauty, for it was perfect through My majesty and splendor which I had put upon you, says the Lord God .