God relates to us in many ways, but no title represents His love and faithfulness for us as well as “Father.” While everyone may not have the blessing of a loving, earthly father; our God, Yahweh, longs to be the Father of all who will receive Him. God is presented as Father in both the Old and New Testaments. Jesus addressed God as his Father (Matt.11:25) and instructs his followers to address God as Father as well (Matt. 6:5-15). In Psalm 103, David presents Yahweh as Father by praising Him for all his benefits and His mercy.
God’s care for us is inexhaustible. David mentions at least five different benefits from our Father in verses 3 – 5. In verse 3, we find forgiveness and healing. Forgiveness is the first and primary provision for us. All earthly blessings we enjoy are of little value without the gift of forgiveness and reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. Our healing, physical and spiritual, is a wonderful example of God’s complete care for us and we are to praise Him for all healing we experience. In verse 4, we see redemption and exaltation. David says God has “redeemed us from the pit.” Redeem means to “buy back,” or “deliver” while the pit refers to the grave. David is saying that Yahweh has rescued us from death and the grave. He goes on to say that we are “crowned with faithful love and compassion.” The word “crown” implies that we are given an important position such as royalty (Rev. 1:6). God’s love doesn’t only rescue us from the death we deserve, but His love exalts us to a position we do not deserve. In verse 5, we see our restoration. In Psalm 23:3, David said that God “restores my soul.” Through the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, our heavenly Father can restore and renew us because “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10).
Because we are His children, we experience the spiritual blessing of God’s unconditional love. David assures us that this is not because of our goodness but because of God’s compassion and grace and because He is “slow to anger” and “rich in faithful love” (vs. 8). His love for us is as “high as the heavens are above the earth” (vs. 11). While we will receive chastisement and correction for sin (Heb. 12:6), God does not give us the punishment we truly deserve (vs. 10). Verse 12 tells us that our sins are forever and infinitely removed from us. God has separated the sin and the sinner in order to show love to us and punish our sins separately without condemning us to Hell. We know that the reason for this mercy is that Jesus bore our sins and was punished in our place at the cross (Isa. 53:5).
God gives us wonderful benefits and extends unconditional love to us, but this would be of little comfort if God were not true and unchanging. What if God changed His mind? We can be assured that He never will because of His eternal, unchanging promises. Verse 17 tells us that God’s love is faithful to us from eternity to eternity. This is amazing when considered in light of verses 15 and 16 which tells us how small and fleeting our human lives are. The eternal, unchanging God is faithful through all ages to small, insignificant people like us! I can be sure of God’s benefits tomorrow because of His truthfulness today.
It is easy to take the blessings of God for granted and even overlook them, but David charges us to “forget not” the many material and spiritual blessings that God has given us. We should remember the blessings of the past, enjoy the blessings of today, and be assured of the blessings of tomorrow.
This post was originally published in the Baptist & Reflector, December 4, 2012.