8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for 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 how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
Having grown up in church, I remember hearing about what God is like as a young child in Sunday School. But lately, my path has led me to meet many people who have never been to church before. At work and in my men’s group, Wildmen, I keep meeting people who have no frame of reference for who God is – or what He’s like. And the questions keep coming.
I think this passage is a wonderful description of what God is like. It describes His loving characteristics, but contains glimpses of His righteousness. For example – “slow to anger” does not say He will never get angry – it says it takes a lot to make Him angry. “He will not always accuse” – contains the phrase “not always” rather than “never.” It indicates that He won’t harbor anger “forever”.
Then, we see the father example. I understand that to many an example of a compassionate father might seem meaningless because they grew up with either an abusive or absent father. But, even those can relate to what they wanted as a father. That’s why I think this passage is so powerful.
He knows exactly how we were formed. He is our compassionate Father. A holy balance of love and complete authority.
Thank You, Father!
grace & peace,