Thoughts on Psalm 103:8-17 by my friend, Jim VanBibber
“8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. 10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. 13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. 14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. 17 But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children…”
Often my fleshly mind (Rom 7:15-20) has responded to that aspect of my own dark heart by defending my own ungodly thoughts and sinful actions. Misery! I have even thought how fortunate God must be to have such a nice guy as me affiliated with his cause. Blindness!
If I compare my “best self” to another human selecting the most offensive things about them, then I always will judge myself okay or good enough. What? Am I crazy? Yes!
The Holy and Righteous Lord opposes the proud mind and the one who trusts in his own righteousness. But there is true spiritual freedom in acknowledging the truth revealed by God in his word. I am a radical sinner but one who has received the radical forgiveness of God by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. I now have received new life in Christ.
This Psalm is a sweet balm to the heart of the child of God who trusts in the merciful and gracious God! He knows that we are dust and prone to transgression. Our lives are so brief. May we find comfort that he “does not deal with us according to our sins.” It is a gift from God that we may call him, our Father in heaven.