11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
12As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
14For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
- Psalms 103:11-14
In this brief passage, David declares his confidence in some of the sure things in life. Some people go through life with a pretty cynical attitude. They believe that there is no such thing as a sure thing or the only sure things are death and taxes.
David, despite his difficult life filled with trials, was able to rejoice in some of the things that were certain in life, things that he (and we) could count on.
1. God is faithful in His love toward us (vs. 11)
The Hebrew word that is translated lovingkindness is the kind of love that keeps on loving even when the object of that love is unkind or unfaithful. For example, the love that parents have for their children.
One problem that Christians often experience is that when they are good and faithful, they feel confident in God's love and kindness; when they fail or feel spiritually dry or weak, they are afraid God does not love them anymore. Sometimes they think that when bad things happen to them it is because God is punishing them for not being good enough.
David says that God's love is as high as the heavens are above the earth (which in Hebrew terminology meant without limit). This is how faithful God is in His love towards us. It is not just that He loves us, it is that His ability to love us while we are weak and imperfect is without limit, we can count on it.
Another sure thing:
2. God has removed all of our sins (vs. 12)
Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.
- Acts 2:38
One of the strategies of Satan is to make us feel guilty about the sins we have committed in the past or the sins we are sincerely struggling with now. Revelation 12:10 says he accuses us day and night before God. The attacks work something like this:
- He accuses others of sin or offenses so to destroy fellowship or the work of the kingdom.
- He accuses us violently about our past so as to make us doubt that God has really forgiven us.
- He accuses us of not trying hard enough against sin so as to discourage us or try to justify ourselves through works instead of relying on Christ and His cross to be right with God.
David reminds us that when God removes our sins, they are as far from us as east is from west, in other words, they are out of sight. When we are forgiven, all sins are forgiven forever. We can be sure that God will not charge us with sin (Romans 8:1).
Finally, we can be sure that:
3. God understands us (vs. 13-14)
David says it in such a poignant way,
"For He Himself knows our frame
He is mindful that we are but dust."
Not only does God understand us, He is compassionate for us. He feels for us like a father feels for his child.
We doubt that God knows what it is like to be us, why we do what we do but David reminds us that God is not only our Creator, He is our Father and that includes understanding with feeling and love. We can be sure that when no one understands us, including ourselves, God not only understands, He really cares.
Not too many things can be counted upon in this world, there is a lot of disappointment. Despite the uncertainty we experience, however, God reassures us that we can always count on Him. As I have already said,
- Count on Him to keep on loving us even when we do not like ourselves much.
- Count on Him to forget our sins even when we cannot.
- Count on Him to understand what is really going on with us even when we are totally confused.
Do you have this kind of confidence in God? You should if you are a faithful Christian. If you lack this confidence then I encourage you to receive for yourself the only sure thing that is available in this world, Jesus Christ.
- Explain this statement, "Kindness is more powerful than anger."
- If you were to die at this very moment, would you go to heaven? Why? Why not?
- Read I John 1:7-9. What does "walking in the light" mean? How does walking in the light relate to the continual acknowledgement of sin that John talks about in this same passage?
- If you were asked to address God upon entering heaven, aside from "Thank You," what would you say to Him?
- Read Psalms 103:11-14. Think about your worst sin in the past. Give it a number in order to maintain privacy and then write that number down on a piece of paper. Have someone from your group offer a prayer of repentance. After the prayer, collect the papers and shred them in front of the group.