Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 23, 1967
NUMBER 45, PAGE 10b-11a

Things Old And New

Robert H. Farish

God's Pity

"Jehovah is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness. He will not always chide; neither will he keep his anger forever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us after our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great in his loving kindness toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so Jehovah pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." (Psalms 103:8-14)

The dimensions and character of God's mercy -loving kindness and grace, which enables him to consider our frame, "that we are dust", and thus pity those "that fear him", although abundantly taught in the Bible, are not generally known and appreciated, even by those who claim to receive the Bible as the word of God. The above selection from the pen of the psalmist praises God for his mercy, grace and kindness, by which God rewards us, not "after our sins" nor "after our iniquities", but removes the transgressions from "them that fear him, as far as the east is from the west". God's pity for "them that fear him" is like the pity which a normal father has for his son.


Many people scorn pity, they "don't want anybody's pity". Pity is not desired; it is generally regarded as something which can be done without. The unpopularity of pity is in many cases due to conceit; some by their high-mindedness are prevented from realizing their personal needs. Imagined self-sufficiency rejects pity and demands praise. This desire for the praise of man plays an important part in the development of self-righteousness. The one obsessed with such an ambition cannot tolerate the idea of needing pity. The cure for high-mindedness is knowledge of our "frame". The knowledge of human limitations is basic to "walking humbly before God". God "knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust", and we had better not forget that fact. The man who knoweth his own frame is grateful to God for his loving kindness; he is comforted by the knowledge that "as a father pitieth his children, so Jehovah pitieth them that fear him".

The Fear Of God

God's pity is for them that fear him, toward them his loving kindness, which is from everlasting unto everlasting, is directed. In the Bible the fear of God is antecedent to and the necessary complement of obedience (Eccl. 12:13). Obedience is the invariable complement to true fear of God. Fear of God, is, to the "whole duty of man", what the hemisphere is to the sphere. Fear of God plus obedience to his commands equals the "whole of man". Regardless of other things, no man is complete who does not fear God.

David invited men to hearken unto him and promised that "I will teach you the fear of Jehovah -"Come ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of Jehovah. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of Jehovah are toward the righteous. And his ears are open unto their cry. The face of Jehovah is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cried, and Jehovah heard, and delivered them out of all their troubles. Jehovah is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as are of a contrite spirit." (Psalms 34:11-18)


It is not true that "those who do not complain are never pitied". God pities those who fear him; but his anger, not his pity, is stirred by complainers. "And the people were as murmurers --and when Jehovah heard it, his anger was kindled". (Nu. 11:1) No encouragement to self-pity and complaining is to be found in the word of God. A broken and contrite heart is not to be confused with self-pity; the former is strength, the latter is weakness. It is high time for all who claim to "fear God" to cultivate appreciation for the fact of God's pity. Such an exercise is healthful; it will yield courage, poise and faithful obedience to the Lord along with other good fruit.