The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children
of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!
Some fathers aren’t “tender and compassionate.” Others aren’t even around to help their children grow up. Our culture has a low view of fatherhood and is littered with sad examples of dads not caring well for their children. Those of us who are fathers know that we haven’t always been perfect in our roles. In that sense, any analogy between God and humans breaks down pretty quickly, but we can still understand the image David uses here to describe God’s love for us.
When David wrote these words, he may have been remembering how his father Jesse had cared for him, or maybe he was thinking about how he loved his own children. David sometimes failed as a father, and we can be sure that Jesse had faults too. But David believed that we are God’s children and that He loves us and cares for us like a good father. Actually, far better than any earthly father or mother. God is perfectly good, loving, kind and faithful. He never leaves us alone or ignores our needs. He always watches over us, ready to protect and provide. God “knows how weak we are” and shields us with his mighty strength.
Whether your earthly father was good or far from perfect, God promises never to let you down and always to lift you up. He is strong and tender, powerful and compassionate. You can trust him never to hurt you and always to show you the kind of love that children, of any age, need. Sometimes that love may feel like discipline or high expectations. Sometimes it will feel like comfort and peace. Like a good father, He knows what you need today and what will help you grow into the person He wants you to become.
Father in Heaven, You are tender, compassionate, strong and wise. Thank You for caring for me and for helping me grow up in faith. Hold me close when I am in need, and send me out to serve the cause of Christ. I pray in His holy name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian