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Psalm 103:13 & meaning...

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a father has compassion on his children, so Yahweh has compassion on those who fear him.

Psalm 103:13

Context

Psalm 103 [10.] He has not dealt with us according to our sins,

   nor repaid us for our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,

   so great is his loving kindness toward those who fear him.

 As far as the east is from the west,

   so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Like a father has compassion on his children,

   so Yahweh has compassion on those who fear him.

For he knows how we are made.

   He remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass.

   As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

For the wind passes over it, and it is gone.

   Its place remembers it no more.


Meaning:

  • Fatherly Compassion:

The opening comparison, "As a father has compassion on his children," draws a parallel between earthly fathers and the divine nature of God. The imagery portrays a father's instinctive tenderness and care for his offspring, emphasizing the intimate and personal nature of God's compassion.

Cross-Reference: Isaiah 66:13: "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem." While Psalm 103:13 specifically references a father's compassion, this verse from Isaiah extends the imagery to a mother's comfort, highlighting the multifaceted nature of God's care.

  • Compassion for Those Who Fear Him:

The latter part of the verse specifies the recipients of God's compassion: "so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him." This emphasizes the relational aspect of God's compassion, indicating that it is not indiscriminate but directed toward those who approach Him with reverence and awe.

Cross-Reference: Proverbs 1:7: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." The theme of the fear of the Lord as a foundational aspect of a relationship with God is echoed in Proverbs.


Practical Application:

God as a Compassionate Father: Psalm 103:13 invites us to contemplate the paternal aspect of God's character. It reassures us that God's compassion mirrors the caring and protective instincts of a loving father, providing a comforting image for those who may struggle with the concept of God's approachability.

Reverence in Relationship: The verse underscores the significance of reverence in our relationship with God. While God's love is unconditional, the specific manifestation of His compassion is intricately tied to our acknowledgment of His majesty and our posture of reverence.

Mutual Love and Fear: The comparison to a father's compassion also hints at the reciprocity of love and fear in the relationship. Just as a child's love and respect for their earthly father deepen the bond, our love and fear of God contribute to the intimacy of our connection with Him.


In conclusion, Psalm 103:13 offers a glimpse into the heart of God, portraying Him as a compassionate Father who cares for His children. It bridges the divine and human realms, allowing us to grasp the tenderness and love embedded in God's character. As we meditate on this verse, may we find solace in the arms of our compassionate Father, understanding that His love is extended to those who approach Him with reverence and fear.


PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible