Although we are temporary, we are cared for by God"As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him." (Psalm 103:13)
Compassion is emphatically used in this verse. What follows in the subsequent verses until verse 18 is an expression of God's compassion. The feeling of compassion is generally attributed to mothers instead of fathers. The Hebrew word is "riham" from "rehem" -- "the mother, womb", and has to do with showing mercy, pity, forgiveness, forbearance, etc. It is the feeling of a parent for a child, where a parent stands by the child and is ready to take up the suffering of the child.
God is compassionate. God's compassion springs from knowing that human beings are frail, mortal -- as children of dust, and are facing various challenges which are difficult to overcome. God is never aloof from the daily experiences of human beings. He is the God of exodus who sees the misery of the people, hears their cry, becomes concerned and comes down (Exodus 3:7). The sufferings of humanity, especially the weak, powerless, victimised and impoverished are God's suffering. It is this compassion that saw God becoming incarnate and dwelling among us in the human form, as Jesus of Nazareth (John 1).
God's compassion is the source and/or cause for soteriology -- salvation/liberation/redemption. It is this compassion that led to God the Son to be crucified, as he stood for the cause of the downtrodden. This compassion makes God to be concerned about human life as having value. God cares for women who continue to suffer under patriarchy, about the broken bodies of women that are victimised and abused, about the abused children, many of whom are homeless and parentless, and about workers who are being exploited as cheap labourers, while they do not benefit from the produce of their labour.
God's compassion goes with us as we labour in the vineyard, impacting positively on people's lives, as some of our brothers and sisters in the ministry go without stipend for months and years. God's compassion is a call to action. God uses us -- human beings - to care for others. While we are beneficiaries, let us also be conduits for God's compassion until all experience love, peace, righteousness, justice and fairness -- holistic salvation, liberation of their space and environment.
Let us fear (revere) God.
Although we are temporary (weak), we are cared for by our God.
|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.
15 As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD's love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children's children--
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts. (Psalms103:11-18)
Lungile Mpetsheni is the General Secretary of the UPCSA, a husband to Thandiswa, a father and a grandfather. Saved by the grace of God.