Like as a father pities his children, so the LORD pities them that fear him.…
Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. In the Old Testament revelation of God there are bursts and flashes of light in startling contrast to the ordinary conceptions of him under that dispensation. There are grand conceptions of his power, omniscience, wisdom, and providence prevailing; but sometimes there are the tenderer conceptions of his goodness and mercy, as in the Psalms and prophets.
I. THE REASONS OF GOD'S PITY. Pity is sympathy for persons on account of weakness, suffering, or calamity. God feels pity for us:
1. On account of our weakness. "He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." We are poor and insignificant compared with the spiritual and mighty angels. We are allied to the dust in one important part of our nature. And we are but children in the germ and infancy of our being. How weak we are in the body to contend against the mighty forces of nature, to encounter accident, to endure suffering! How weak in mind! how ignorant! how feeble in the power of our convictions! how poor in the power of our will!
2. He pities us for our sins and mistakes. In how many ways do we go wrong, not of set purpose, but unwittingly; or from the force of education and outward circumstances! We sin through ignorance. And we sin with knowledge. And God pities the sinner while he punishes. If he did not pity, he would not punish. Punishment is love seeking to recover the sinful child. God's anger is nothing but love chastising.
3. He pities us in our sufferings. He would not be a Father if he did not. Some of our sufferings are sent by him - such as we could not avoid. "But he doth not willingly afflict nor grieve the children of men." Many of our sufferings are self-incurred - such as we might have avoided. But he, nevertheless, pities us then.
II. THE NATURE OF GOD'S PITY. That of a father.
1. A father's pity is helpful. A neighbour's pity or a friend's is not always helpful; they are either unwilling or unable to relieve and help us. But a father will do all in his power to help his child. And has not God helped us in our low estate by coming to us in the Person of his Son? He has not sat and looked on and done nothing.
2. It is bountiful. Infinite in disposition to help, and in resources for our relief. "Exceeding abundantly." God said to the Jews, "What more could I have done for my vineyard?" And surely, in view of the gospel, he might say the same to us. Only one thing to limit his help - his help is to enable us to help ourselves. What we can do for ourselves that he leaves to us. His aim is to make us strong and great.
3. His pity is enduring. Human pity is soon exhausted. "But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting." It has borne with each of us very long, and will continue to the end. - S.
Parallel VersesKJV: Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.