REMEMBERING THE TRUTH
Lord, You are worthy to be blessed all day long.
Read PSALM 103
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
God is good. Do we really believe it?
In the second century AD, Marcion compiled an early Christian canon. This did not contain the Old Testament because he believed that it describes a vengeful, cruel God incompatible with the loving Father revealed by Christ. However, today’s psalm shows that the Old Testament has a huge amount to say about God’s merciful nature.
In fact, the psalm overflows with descriptions of God’s love. For instance, the Hebrew word hesed, which can be translated as ‘steadfast love’ but in the NIV is simply given as ‘love’, is used in connection with God four times in this psalm (4, 8, 11, 17). God is also described as being compassionate like a father with His child, understanding of our weaknesses and, rather than holding our sins against us, ready to forgive and wipe the slate clean. Indeed, the psalmist says God ‘is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love’ (8), the same expression used when God renewed His covenant with the Israelites after they had sinned against the Lord in asking Aaron for a golden calf to worship (Exod 34:6).
However, it seems that trusting in God’s loving nature is something that requires effort even for this psalmist. In verse 2 he reminds himself not to forget all God’s benefits, and his description of God’s mercies is how he seeks to do that. The psalmist is not alone, of course, in needing to make this effort. It is easy in this troubled world to lose sight of God’s goodness and forget the things the Lord has done for us. But by taking time to both remind ourselves of how God has blessed us and recall what the Bible teaches about God’s steadfast love and compassion, we too, can be encouraged and refreshed in how we see things.
Spend time thanking God for the things He has done for you and the prayers He has answered. Remember, too, how He has shown you forgiveness and compassion.
Lord, we thank You that we serve a compassionate God who delights in crowning us with tender mercies.
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