This verse is taken from:
Psalm 103. 1-13
Thought of the day for:
2 April 2024

This analogy will be considered in its context, its contrast and its comparison. Pity is not perhaps a word we would immediately associate with a father and his children, but the word used is more commonly translated as ‘have mercy’, as in verse 13 of the previous psalm, or, occasionally, as ‘show compassion’. These ideas help us understand better. The context of the psalm also sheds some light for us, as God is presented as the One who ‘forgives’, ‘heals’, ‘is merciful and gracious’, and has ‘removed our transgressions from us’.

This stands in contrast to anything an earthly father does for his children. Yes, we can forgive them when they respond to correction or even sympathize with their mistakes, because we remember our own. Sadly, sometimes we can be over-indulgent and fail to discipline them when they need it. Looking through biased eyes, we may fail to see their failures. Worse, we can show partiality and excuse things we would condemn in others. But this Father has no such shortcomings. He is Holy and has a per­fect standard. He is aware of every failing and sees every flaw. Yet, despite this, His pity has reached out to us and, at the cost of His own ‘only begotten Son’, He has made provision by which He does not overlook, forget or ignore our sins, but has removed them ‘as far as the east is from the west’. This, of course, is infi­nite, if we travel north or south we reach an end point at the poles of the earth, but travelling east or west we could journey forever without reaching the end. In the tabernacle, sin is dealt with on the altar at the east, access to God’s presence at the mercy seat is at the west; similarly, our Father now welcomes us into His presence.

How beautiful the comparison is. This is not the pity of rich for poor or the healthy for the sick. No, it is based on intimate relationship and deep affection. Our Father, the loving ‘Abba’, looks upon us as a perfect Father who though He disciplines and corrects, He does it with the heart of a devoted Father whose compassion, cherishing and care are infinite, even to the remov­ing of our sin, bringing us into His presence and ultimately changing us into the likeness of His only begotten Son.


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