“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”  (Psalm 103:13-14, NIV)

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “compassion” as “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”

To begin to see ourselves as God see us is the first step toward a new frontier of compassion toward others.  To regard ourselves as something other than “dust” — that is, as transitory and humble — is to ignore the lessons of history, the evidence of biology, and the propositions of theology.

We may be able to fool ourselves as to our true make-up because everything seems to be going our way (something the scriptures refer to as “the pride of life”).  However, if we see ourselves as God sees us, we come not only to realize what we are not, but to the realization of Who God is.  It is in such a place that we apprehend the “fear” (also translated as the “reverence”) of the Lord.

The psalmist says that it is upon such people that the Lord’s compassion rests.  God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, as His “sympathetic consciousness” of our distress.  The cross of Jesus is His sole and solitary plan to alleviate that distress.  The resurrection of Jesus is God’s guarantee.  – Luther

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“Who will rise up for me against the wicked?  Who will take a stand for me against evildoers?  Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.  When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”  (Psalm 94:16-19, NIV)

Reflecting on the role of power and influence in our world, writer Damon Runyon wrote: “The race may not go to the swift, or victory to the strong, but that’s how you bet.”

Today’s reading, however, reminds us that although the wicked co-exist with the righteous — and often have the stronger hand — God is the champion of the righteous.

Were it not for the Lord God’s help, we would be dead.  When we slip or stumble, God’s unfailing love supports us.  When we are severely anxious,  God’s consolation fills our dreadful heart with joy.

The odds-makers and betters will always prefer the swiftest and the strongest.  The Lord God backs the slow and the weak when they put their faith in Him.  – Luther

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