“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling… As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.” (Psalm 68:5; 103:13)
On this Father’s Day, it is good for us to stop and reflect on the God Who is our Father. Fatherhood has its foundation (and definition) in the One Who created us – the One Who loves us with an everlasting love.
Though the idea of God as our Father is more of a New Covenant concept, the idea is not foreign to God’s Old Covenant people.
David brings us to focus on the Heart of God as He looks to care for those who are orphaned or widowed (in 68:5). In the culture of that day, being an orphan or widow was one of the worst circumstance you could experience. It meant that there was no one to take care of you – and you were at the mercy of strangers… often just to survive.
David reminds us that God has a Father’s Heart for the weak, downtrodden, lonely, and distressed – for those whose circumstances make every day a tiresome chore. He seeks to care for those whose lives are without the support system they need. God’s Heart reaches out to them. God seeks to meet their needs. He seeks to father the fatherless and defend the defenseless.
This is exactly what we saw in Jesus when He came to minister to the people of His day…
Jesus openly displayed the Father’s Heart for all the people who were very much like the fatherless and the widows of David’s day.
It is this same Heart that reaches out to each of us in our lowest moments…
Because… God has the compassionate Heart of a Father for His children (103:13).
It is interesting that this verse is sandwiched in between two more famous verses. Verse 12 talks about how, in forgiving us, God “removes our sins as far as the east is from the west.” And verse 14 tells us that “He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust.” God knows our condition (12). He also knows how weak we are (14). Yet, what drives Him and motivates Him is NOT His Mind… but His Heart.
It is His Father’s Heart that causes Him to meet our sinful condition with the price of payment for our sins – and whose Heart compels Him to cast our sins away from us… in an infinite line.
It is His Father’s Heart that knows how frail and weak we are – how prone to selfishness and failure – how we are very much NOT like Him.
Yet, knowing all this… He only longs to draw us close and love on us – as a caring and compassionate Father surely does.
Truly, the whole idea of “Father” has many applications – but David takes the time to remind us of two of the most prominent features that God longs for us to experience in our own lives.