For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalm 103:14

 

What fervent love and tender compassion glows in this poetic expression of Father’s attitude toward His children in the world!

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust.”

The Lord never forgets the weakness and frailty of our frame. And mindful of our frailty, He is always compassionate and deals with us in delicate tenderness, always careful never to overburden, always filled with tender mercy and sympathizing with us as we bear our burdens.

Man, in merciless oblivion, is sometimes forgetful of the frame of the dumb animal he employs his burden to carry or his load to draw. He will pile up a burden far too heavy in comparison with the strength of his beast and drive it with lashing whip accompanied by angry oaths over rough and well-nigh impassable roads to the place of destination.

Or cruel Pharaohs, forgetful of and without compassion with the weak frame of their toiling slaves, require of them a task well-nigh impossible to perform.

Or man himself, oblivious of the weakness and frailty of his own frame, forgetting that he is but dust and tender as the flower of the field, incessantly toils and labors, till he succumbs, weary and exhausted, a wreck, physically and mentally.

Not so is the Lord with regard to those that fear Him….

He is not hard and cruel, but tender-hearted and merciful over them. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. For their Father is He and His children are they. With a love, deep and constant and eternal as His own heart, He loved them, adopted them, redeemed them, transformed them. And with a compassion as profound and fervent and constant as His love, He remembers their infirmities, is mindful of their weaknesses, acquaints Himself with their griefs and sorrows, and with a tender heart He considers their sufferings and afflictions, longing for their final deliverance and hastening to their redemption. Nor is He forgetful of the frailty of their frame. He remembereth that they are dust. For Himself made them. Out of the dust He formed them. And dust they are, He knows. And in all His dealings with them, in every way in which He leadeth them, with a view to all the tasks He requires of them, and regarding all the burdens He makes them to bear, He constantly remembers that they are dust-children, tender and delicate, limited in strength, easily overburdened, needy and weak and soon overcome, as the tender grass and the flower of the field….

Dust-children He made them and never He forgets. And loving them, He is filled with compassion and tender mercy for His children in the dust. And in this mindful tenderheartedness, He treats them delicately, gently, never overburdening their frame.

What fervent compassion!

Bless the Lord, O, my soul!

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Father remembers in mercy that we are dust!

What blessed knowledge!

Experience would often seem so different and so contrary to this blessed assurance from our heavenly Father. Our weak frame, originating in the dust, oft seems cruelly overburdened with loads of grief and affliction; and not infrequently it seems to break down accidentally, crushed by a weight it was not calculated to bear. And it would appear as if the Lord forgot, either of what dust-material He formed us or to be merciful over His children.

Did it never seem so to you? When burning fever consumed the life of your darling, tender and frail, and wrecked its delicate frame, as the blasting breath of a hot wind causes the gentle flower to wither and die; or when a dearly beloved mother, whose love and care seemed indispensable, was suddenly snatched from the midst of her family that could not spare her, by the cruel hand of him that rideth the Pale Horse; or when constant pain and suffering is your lot, continually leading you along the edge of the grave, yet never mercifully guiding you into it, so that it becomes your daily supplication: “How long, Lord?”—did it never seem as if the Lord had forgotten that He had made us out of the dust or without mercy burdened us with loads we were never formed to bear? Was He not oblivious of the delicate frame of your baby? Did He not forget mercy when mother was made to succumb? Is He not forgetful of your continual burden of suffering and woe?

Or, again, how often are not the enemies of His children made to triumph over them! How fearfully dark is the night of their suffering, when they are killed all the day long and led as sheep to the slaughter! How are they chased over the earth, filled with reproach, cast into holes and dungeons, beaten with many stripes, burnt at the stake or sawn asunder, cruelly tortured to death. They are made to pass through fire and through water many times. And the plaintive song often rises from their souls, oppressed with grief and enveloped in darkness:

I asked in fear and bitterness,
Will God forsake me in distress?
Shall I His promise faithless find?
Has God forgotten to be kind?
Has He in anger hopelessly
Removed His love and grace from me?
[Psalter #210, stanza 4]

Yet, like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him. And He knoweth our frame and remembereth that we are dust.

He never forgets.

Never a load of sickness and pain breaks the dustframe of His children because He was forgetful of its frailty and overburdened it. Never it breaks accidentally. When it does break, it is only because He came to break it. And when He does come to break that dust-frame, He does so in His mercy and compassion, because He knew that thus it were best.

Never a load of grief and pain, of sorrow and distress, of tribulation and persecution He makes His children to bear, but He mercifully remembers that the bearing frame is dust. And when the load becomes too heavy for mere dust-children to carry, yet must be borne, He adds grace to dust and mercifully makes His strength perfect in weakness. And, oh, what wonders are accomplished when the strength of His marvelous grace is made to sustain the frailty of human dust! Then the Lord’s dustformed children pass through the fire and it does not burn them; then floods submerge them, yet they are not drowned; then the night of tribulation can be frightfully dark, yet they rejoice; then suffering day by day may be their lot and may wreck their mortal frame, yet they sing:

Though I am weak, God is most high
And on His goodness I rely;
Of all His wonders I will tell,
And on His deeds my thoughts shall dwell.
[Psalter #210, stanza 5]

For He remembereth that we are dust. And in eternal love and paternal pity He sustains our frame by the wonderful power of His all-sufficient grace.

Blessed assurance and all-comprehensive comfort, to know that for the sake of Christ our Savior, this God, is our God and merciful Father. Always remembering, always compassionate, always dealing tenderly, leading gently, sustaining powerfully; our God in prosperity and adversity, our God in health and sickness, our God in life and death, our God forever and ever….

Bless the Lord, O, my soul!

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Neither is this all.

He remembers in mercy and pitieth His children not only while they are dust, but also because they are. The very fact that they are dust is the object of His compassion.

Of dust He formed them. He never forgets.

From the dust He called the first man Adam and He made him a living soul. And because he was formed from the dust, they are limited by the dust, stoop toward the earth earthy. And all God’s children in the earth bear the image of the earthy. They have an eye of dust and see but earthy things; they have an earthy ear and hear but earthy sounds; they have an earthy tongue and speak but earthy language; they possess an earthy frame and live in earthy dependence, an earthy life. Formed from the dust, they are limited by the dust, stoop toward the dust and return to the dust. God’s dust-children bear the image of the earthy….

Yet, in everlasting lovingkindness He predestined them for heavenly glory. He ordained that they should be conformed according to the image of His Son. In His unfathomable love He willed that they should be children of the dust and bear the image of the earthy but for a while, in order then to bear the image of the heavenly, to possess an heavenly frame, to see heavenly beauties, to be charmed by heavenly music, to speak a heavenly language, and to be clothed with heavenly glory.

Such is the purpose of the love wherewith He loved them.

And while they are still dwelling in the dust, and still bear the image of the earthy, He began to realize in them the purpose of that everlasting love by instilling into their hearts the first drop of that heavenly child-life through the Spirit and grace of the risen Lord, the Lord of heaven, the second Adam, the quickening Spirit. In principle they have become children of heaven and they are quickened unto a new hope. Yet, they are still dwelling in the dust. The heavenly things they long to see they see not as yet; the heavenly things they like to hear, they hear only in hope; the heavenly tongue with which they yearn to speak, they know not as yet; the heavenly glory with which they hope to be clothed is still hidden in a cloak of dust….

Children of heaven, they still dwell in the dust [so that] the full manifestation of that heavenly life is hidden in and the full expression of that life is hampered by their dust-made frame….

But the Lord knoweth their frame. He remembereth that they are dust as yet. Neither does He forget His purpose. For the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting over those that fear Him.

In that everlasting mercy He pities His children while they dwell in the dust.

And that unfathomable mercy cannot rest till He shall have delivered His children from their dust, weak, mortal, earthy, and corruptible, and made them partakers of the image of the heavenly, in heavenly frame, in power and honor, immortal, incorruptible, glorious.

Then they shall no more see as in a glass darkly, but face to face. Then they shall know as they are known and no more in part. Then they shall walk with Him and talk with Him, rejoice with Him, and reign with Him, and in His everlasting temple they shall see the beauties of the Lord, in perfected covenant-communion.

Everlasting friendship! H.H.