8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. 9 He will not always accuse us or be angry forever. 10 He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass— he blooms like a flower of the field; 16 when the wind passes over it, it vanishes, and its place is no longer known. 17 But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren 18 of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His precepts. 19 The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. 20 Praise the Lord, all His angels of great strength, who do His word, obedient to His command. 21 Praise the Lord, all His armies, His servants who do His will. 22 Praise the Lord, all His works in all the places where He rules. My soul, praise Yahweh!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
The previous day's passage from Galatians introduced us to God as our daddy, a relationship created to be both intimate and full of honorable respect. Psalm 103 reveals more truth about who God is and how he relates to us as his children.
Reading this passage gives us a glimpse of a good and perfect father. Here, we see the magnificence of his love—how complete it is and beyond our ability to fully grasp. These verses help us see and understand that he is God and we are not, for only God could love this way.
The focus of this passage is on the character of God. Romans 1 tells us that God has not hidden himself from us. Even if we have never heard of him, his invisible qualities such as his eternal power and divine nature, are clearly seen through his creation.
However, because God knows us and loves us, he provides other ways to communicate the truth to us. One of those ways is through his Word. As we read through these verses of Psalm 103, we keep hearing the following phrase, "steadfast love." Steadfast means "marked by firm determination or resolution." God, our father, has resolved to love us! Other versions of this passage describe God's love as faithful, abounding, or loving-kindness.
There are several important things for us to remember about the love of God from this passage. His love is made up of mercy and grace which means we do not get what we deserve. The passage says that God removes our sins as far as the east is from the west. When we come to faith in Christ, we are forgiven through Christ and have a new freedom to worship God and love others.
In addition, because God created us, he shows compassion in the same way that earthly fathers lovingly care for their children. All kids have a certain cry when they are genuinely hurt and their parents recognize it and come running. In the same way, God hears us when we yell in pain and he answers with compassion. He enters into our brokenness and his steadfast love never fails.
The last part of this section of scripture tells us that God has established his kingdom and rules over all. To be honest, I don't always live like I believe this. I can get overwhelmed with fears and insecurities. Pride can take over in such a way that I want to run not only my life, but everyone else's life too. My thoughts can be filled with replays of hurt and pain that I've experienced.
Instead, I have to daily choose to live like I know that God the king, my father, is on his throne and is in control. This is literally a discipline that I have to follow on a regular basis as I pray and read the Bible. Then, I have to listen to what He says to me, not just the parts I like either.
For example, God has recently told me to forgive someone and not to talk about the situation. He wants me to receive the ability to forgive from the Holy Spirit and not talk about the situation over and over in a pre-rehearsed conversation in my own head and especially with others. The Lord, who has resolved to love me, speaks his grace into my brokenness.
- Psalm 103:8 reminds us of God’s grace and mercy. Jesus is the visible expression of the invisible God. Take a look at the book of John to find examples of Jesus showing grace and mercy in his relationship with his followers.
- Make a list of the ways that God has shown you compassion. Pray through that list and thank him for the ways he has entered your pain. Now pray for direction on who needs compassion from you and follow through on doing what God puts on your heart.
- God forgives us and removes our sin through Christ's death on the cross. Jesus made it clear to his disciples that he wants us to forgive others. Who do you need to forgive today? What is the first step that you will take in obedience?