OUR RIGHTEOUS LORD, OUR JUST GOD, OUR MERCIFUL GOD
Psalms 103:6-14 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
In Psalms 103 God shares words that are comforting, encouraging, and a reminder of the motives that should inspire all of us to “love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind.” Let us notice some of these things that encourage us as we seek to serve him.
The Lord works righteousness for the oppressed. God is righteous. He is the lawgiver and he has the right to set the standards of right and wrong, because he is the ultimate lawgiver. Isaiah 33:22 states, “For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; The Lord Is our King; he will save us.” His people should work the righteousness of God in their lives and aid those in need and those oppressed. How can we do this? Opening our eyes and hearing to aid those in need. Standing against sin in all of its forms, and by living a righteous life daily. He works through us!
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. This was stated in Exodus 34:6-7, and repeated after Moses had destroyed the golden calf the people worshipped. God was so angry that he told Moses he would make of him a great nation, and had it not been for Moses, all Israel would have been destroyed (we see a similarity between Moses and Jesus in the willingness to give their lives for the people). This becomes a theme found throughout the Old Testament, that shows that God is merciful, and he does not want to punish (see Numbers 14:18; Joel 2:13; Micah 7:18; Nehemiah 9:17; Nahum 1:1-15; Psalms 86:5, 15; Psalms 103:8; 145:8-9; Jonah 4:2). Yet, because we are made in his image, we have the right to choose, but we will also bear the consequences of our sins, and the joys of our obedience.
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. God hates sin because he sees what it does to us, and because it is a blatant disregard for his will. But, as clearly stated above, he does not deal with us according to our sins (if he had, none of us will be here). There would be no hope, no heaven, just eternal torment. Notice also his “steadfast love” or mercy to all who fear (respect, honor, and yes, fear of offending God). His love is overwhelming, never ending, and immeasurable.
The figure “as far as the east if from the west” is “as far as the sunrise is from the sunset.” In other words, if we were to get in a vehicle fast enough to get from east to west we will never get there. Why? Because no matter what, you would be traveling east constantly. There is an infinity in traveling from east to west, and that is how far he removes our sins.
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. Finally, in this great passage, the Lord is portrayed as a father showing compassion to his children. Think about a loving father – a father that cares deeply for his children, and will do whatever is necessary to help them grow to be all they can be. Consider a father who loves so much that he will make sacrifices to get what a child wants, as well as getting a child what he/she needs. A father that is compassionate for his children has “sympathetic pity and concern for sufferings and misfortunes of them.”
He knows our frame – our weaknesses as well as our strength.
He remembers that we are but dust.
These are encouraging words to every child of God. God does not want to punish us, but wants to save us and aid us in our walk for him. We need his strength. We need him! The more we know about Him, the closer we will follow him to our heavenly home.
How are you doing on your journey home?