The young father was at the end of his rope. “Ice cream! Ice cream!” his toddler screamed. The meltdown in the middle of the crowded mall began drawing the attention of shoppers nearby. “Fine, but we just need to do something for mommy first, okay?” the father said. “Nooooo! Ice cream!” And then she approached them: a small, well-dressed woman with shoes that matched her handbag. “He’s having a big fit,” the father said. The woman smiled and responded, “Actually, it looks like a big fit is having your little boy. Don’t forget he’s so small. He needs you to be patient and stay close.” The situation didn’t magically resolve itself, but it was just the kind of pause the father and son needed in the moment.
Echoes of the wise woman’s words are heard in Psalm 103. David writes of our God who is “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (v. 8). He then continues by invoking the image of an earthly father who “has compassion on his children,” and even more so “the
We often fail and are overwhelmed by what this big world hands us. What an amazing assurance to know of our Father’s patient, ever-present, abounding love.
Psalm 48 is a hymn which may have been adopted as a celebration of Zion (Jerusalem). Scholars suggest it was used during the Feast of Tabernacles. God’s presence was declared to be in the city of Zion’s citadels as a fortress (v. 3). The picture of kings fleeing in terror at the sight of the city (vv. 4–5) held up Zion as a symbol of God’s protection. The call to “walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels” (vv. 12–13) would have allowed those present to see Zion’s structures and gain a tangible sense of God’s presence and protection—a physical act of worship that would strengthen their faith.