A Reminder To Remember
by Brax Carvette, Blog Editor
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psalm 103:1-5
Psalm 103 is one of my favorite Psalms. I memorized it in college and it has been a trusty arrow in my quiver to counter Satan’s fiery darts. Let’s walk through these first 5 verses and I will try to show you some of how it is such a help to the believer.
The Spiritual Discipline of Self-Talk
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, "Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?" Listening to ourselves is what happens when we passively take in what the natural course of our sin-stained brains say. It’s as if our brains were radios, tuned in to static—it’s just unhealthy noise. Talking to ourselves, on the other hand, is the active self-talk that seeks to remind ourselves of the truth of the gospel. It’s like we tune into Gospel-talk radio and we’re the host. In this first two verses, David is talking to himself. He is not going to let himself just listen to the empty talk of his own sinful thoughts-- he's going to preach to himself and remind himself of the blessings of God. Here are the blessings that he recalls to his mind.
Blessing #1: Forgiveness
"forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity..." The first blessing that David lists of the gifts that the Lord graciously gives us is the forgiveness of all our sins. Yes, you read that right: all our sins. You might think that you’re the one person in the universe that this statement isn’t true for (and the enemy of your soul will try to convince you of it). You might think that if David knew what sins you had committed, he wouldn’t have written that God “forgives all your iniquity.” But David was no stranger to heinous sin. He impregnated another man’s wife; tried to trick the woman’s husband into having sex with her so that he would believe the coming child was his; and when that didn’t work, David had the husband strategically executed by setting him up to die on the battlefield during wartime. Yet, God forgave all David’s sins. He can forgive all of yours. Even if you are currently in a fight-to-the-death with your sin and seem to be losing, he doesn’t just forgive all the sin that you think you’ve conquered. Even the sins that we return to over and over again are forgiven. By the blood of Jesus, all our sins—past, present, future—are totally gone!
Blessing #2: The Healing of the Soul
“who heals all your diseases..." We know all about physical diseases, but what is a soul-disease? A physical disease brings the human body pain and causes it to malfunction. The same is true for a soul-disease. Our souls experience the pain of a hopeless existence. Our souls do not function properly. As long as our souls are diseased, they are incapable of allowing God to sit on the throne of our love as King. Instead, we crown countless other pleasures and people as the center of our affections. David is speaking to his soul and says, "Soul, any disease of disordered desires and malfunctioning loves is healed by God." Our love for other things, when they're more than our love for God, is a soul-disease. God, in his great love for us, heals all our soul-diseases so that our souls work the way they're supposed to and love God most.
Blessing #3: Redemption
“who redeems your life from the pit..." It might seem silly to some, but it seems as though one of the natural enemies of mankind is a big hole in the ground. Imagine you’re wandering through the woods. You are self-sufficient and carefree as you enjoy this stroll. Suddenly, the ground beneath you gives way. You find yourself in a pit. There are no natural slopes to climb up to get yourself out. No roots or branches protruding from the sides of the pit to grab hold of. You’re stuck. The laws of nature keep you stuck at the bottom of this pit. If you do not get out, eventually you will die in this pit. You need someone to pull you out. When we were powerless to save ourselves by climbing out of the pit of sin and death, God sent his Son into the pit and raised us up with him.
Blessing #4: Honored and Loved
"who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy..." God passed by and pitied us in the pit. He pulls us out in his great mercy. But God has done more than pull us out of sin and death. His mercy moved him to rescue us, but his grace now moves him to bless us. He raises us up and then crowns us as his royal sons and daughters. And the crown is his steadfast love and mercy. This crown is permanent. His steadfast love towards us never ceases and His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Blessing #5: The Satisfied Soul
"who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." God delights to satisfy us. If we are feeling dissatisfied, God offers us true satisfaction with his goodness. I am not saying that God will give you more material goods to make you happy. God loves you too much to allow you to be satisfied by the Lunchables this world can offer when he has a Thanksgiving dinner prepared for you. He doesn’t satisfy you with stuff, but with the very goodness of God. God satisfies his children with more of himself. The result of this satisfaction is our strength is renewed—the joy of the Lord is our strength!
Don't forget to remind yourself of God's love towards you today. Don’t forget to remind yourself of his past, present, and future grace that God crowns you with. Don't just listen to yourself; preach God's gospel to yourself.