Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

The Lord Remembers We Are Only Dust

READ Psalm 103:1-22

 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.

Psalm 103:13-14

Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, a day for Christians to focus on our mortality and broken humanity. Those who participate in Ash Wednesday services receive ashes on their foreheads in remembrance of the sorry truth of Genesis 3:19: “For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”
Psalm 103 underscores our dustiness, but with good news. This psalm celebrates God’s multifaceted goodness to us. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases (103:3). He redeems us from death (103:4). He fills our lives with good things (103:5). He gives justice to the oppressed (103:6). He is “compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love” (103:8). God does not deal harshly with us, though we are sinners (103:10). His love for us is great and his forgiveness broad (103:11-12).
Then Psalm 103 adds, “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” (103:13-14). Knowing our weakness and dustiness, God is tender and compassionate. God’s love for us means that he does not abandon us in our limitations and sins. Rather, he looks upon us like a father with his own children. And, indeed, the Father loves us so much that he sent his only Son to bear our sin and open us up to the way to wholeness.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How have you experienced God’s tenderness and compassion? When you think of God as your Heavenly Father, what thoughts or images come to mind?
PRAYER: How I thank you, dear Lord, for being like a father to me. Indeed, you are my Heavenly Father, the one I call “Father” through your Son.
Thank you for being tender and compassionate to me, for understanding my weakness. Your goodness to me far outstrips anything I could ever imagine or deserve.
Thank you for remembering that I am dust, and thus looking upon me with gentle love.
In this season of Lent, as I reflect upon my need for you, help me to experience yet again how wonderful you are.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless God’s holy name. Amen.

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This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (www.thehighcalling.org), a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.

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