Read Psalm 103:13-14
13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust. (NLT)
Sometimes we overlook seemingly minor but very significant words. In our passage today, that word may well be ‘for’. Note what the psalmist is saying: God is compassionate and tender towards us because he knows just how weak we are. Our weakness doesn’t cause him to turn his back on us in frustration, or cause him to abandon us. His tender compassion is aroused by our weakness.
This is a world away from a deity who hurls thunderbolts down on us if we upset him. A world away from a deity who embraces the movers and shakers and can’t be much bothered with those who struggle.
Those of us who seek to honour him and acknowledge his supremacy (which is pretty much what ‘fear’ means here) are objects of his love. We may be ‘dust’, but we are not worthless. We are transitory in our earthly form. We may not at first appear to be useful or attractive or valuable. But as children of the heavenly Father we are of inestimable value despite our frailty.
It is customary in many spheres of society for the strong to bully and despise the weak. It is God’s essential nature to reach out to the weak, offering sustenance and mercy. Unlike many other religions which imply we must prove ourselves worthy of God, our faith states that our very unworthiness evokes God’s love and mercy towards us. In our faith, the strong embraces and affirms the weak.