Draw Close to God

He Remembers That “We Are Dust”

“I HAD not believed that Jehovah could fully forgive me, and I thought that I would carry this burden for the rest of my life.” So wrote one Christian woman regarding her past mistakes. Truly, a guilty conscience is a heavy burden to carry. The Bible, however, offers comfort that can ease the pain of repentant sinners. Consider the words of the psalmist David found at Psalm 103:8-14.

David knew that “Jehovah is merciful” and does not “keep finding fault” with us. (Verses 8-10) When God finds a basis to show mercy, he does so completely and unstintingly. David, an eloquent poet, uses three similes to illustrate God’s far-reaching mercy toward us.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, his loving-kindness is superior toward those fearing him.” (Verse 11) When we look up at the night sky, we cannot fathom the great distance between the starry heavens and the earth. David thus impresses upon us the magnitude of Jehovah’s mercy, a facet of his loyal love. This mercy is for “those fearing” God​—those who have “a humble, hearty reverence of his authority,” says one scholar.

“As far off as the sunrise is from the sunset, so far off from us he has put our transgressions.” (Verse 12) Other translations say, “as far as the east is from the west.” How far is that? As far as we can imagine. One Bible reference work says: “Fly as far as the wing of imagination can bear you, and if you journey through space eastward, you are further from the west at every beat of your wing.” David here tells us that when God forgives our sins, he puts them as far away from us as we can possibly imagine.

“As a father shows mercy to his sons, Jehovah has shown mercy to those fearing him.” (Verse 13) David, a father himself, knew what a loving father feels in his heart. Such a father is moved to show compassion to his children, especially when they are in pain. David assures us that our loving heavenly Father shows mercy to his earthly children, especially when their repentant hearts are “broken and crushed” because of their sins.​—Psalm 51:17.

Following the three similes, David reveals what moves Jehovah to show mercy to imperfect humans: “He himself well knows the formation of us, remembering that we are dust.” (Verse 14) Jehovah knows that we are creatures made of dust, having frailties and limitations. Taking into consideration our sinful nature, Jehovah is “ready to forgive”​—as long as we show heartfelt repentance.​—Psalm 86:5.

Is your heart touched by David’s words about Jehovah’s mercy? The woman quoted at the outset made a study of what the Bible says about God’s readiness to forgive, and she was moved to say: “I am starting to feel that I really can draw closer to Jehovah, and I feel that a weight has been lifted off me.” * Why not learn more about God’s mercy and how you can receive it? Perhaps you too will feel that a weight is being lifted off you.

Suggested Bible reading for August:

Psalms 87-118


^ par. 7 See chapter 26, “A God Who Is ‘Ready to Forgive,’” of the book Draw Close to Jehovah, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

[Blurb on page 13]

“I am starting to feel that I really can draw closer to Jehovah, and I feel that a weight has been lifted off me”