Bless the Lord – Psalm 103 (week 2/part3)

Why Bless the Lord, Reason #2 – The Universal Work of God

In verses 6 through 10, David says, 

“The LORD performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness. 9 He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.”

The God David serves—the God of all creation—according to these verses is the righteous judge for all. And especially an advocate for those who are being oppressed. In light of this, let me share a few ideas that should provoke us to bless the Lord.

God is an advocate for those who are being oppressed. Click To Tweet

First, and contrary to the negative connotation that judgment has in our culture, all people desire a good judge. And all people desire a good judge for the exact same reason—all of us want “righteous” judgments. But Nathan, the world doesn’t care about righteousness? Let me explain.

Righteous Judgment

The problem is not in wanting righteous judgment; the problem lies in defining objective righteousness. For example, in all our debates about supreme court justices, people on every side are looking for judges who will carry out what they believe to be just decisions for oppressed people groups. But again, the problem we’re facing is that we can’t agree on who’s being oppressed versus who’s simply outside of God’s design, refuses to change, and therefore “feels” oppressed.

This truth should fundamentally change the argument if we are paying attention. People everywhere want to be set free from oppression. But actual oppression is sin, not God’s standard. We have to acknowledge this in our discussions because if you accuse someone of not caring about right judgment, 1. you’re wrong and 2. you’ll shut down the conversation. 

If we as Christians don’t bring this discussion back to God’s objective standard, we’ve missed the point ourselves. So remember God is a righteous judge for all—this is truly praiseworthy. 

The second element here is that God’s judgments are motivated by compassion, grace, patience, and steadfast love. Please remember church, it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. Of course, that kindness extends to His covenant people, but John 3:16 shows us that it also extends to those who are made in His image—that being everyone. For God so loved the Worldthat whosoever…. God is not slow as some consider slowness remember. Instead, He is patient because He wants none to perish but ALL to come to life.

God’s judgments are motivated by compassion, grace, patience, and steadfast love. Click To Tweet

Finally, it is praiseworthy that God is a judge who shows no partiality. What does that mean? Well, it doesn’t mean that an omniscient God picks and chooses. This very combination demands partiality. Being omniscient would demand every choice He makes be informed and therefore partial. 

Instead, what it means is that no matter your race, creed, color, or sin preference, if you will repent and believe, you will be saved. If we submit to King Jesus, then the verdict will be just, but it will also be compassionate, gracious, and loving. Remember verse 10 again, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.”

An omniscient God picks & chooses. This very combination demands partiality. Being omniscient would demand every choice He makes be informed & therefore partial. Click To Tweet

Why #3 – The Personal Work of God

Verses 1 through 5 are personal to David. Please hear me on this; if you misread this, you’ll conclude that David establishes promises that God does not give. What David does here is a bit of spiritual self-talk. He commands his own soul to bless the Lord and to remember God’s benefits, and then he lists those benefits which God has performed for him.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, [bless] His holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, [So that] your youth is renewed like the eagle.”

In the Bible, the word “you” needs a little more attention from us than we care or even know to give. Sometimes it means you as in the individual. Other times it means y’all as a people group. 

For example, in Exodus‬ ‭34:21 when God said, “You shall work six days, but on the seventh day, you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest.” this is a ‘y’all.’ The people of Israel were to rest on the Sabbath. 

But in verses 1-5 of Psalm 103, the you means David’s soul individually. God had pardoned David’s iniquities. God had healed all of David’s diseases. God had redeemed David’s life from the pit. God had crowned David with hesed and compassion. God had satisfied David’s years with good things so that his youth was renewed like the eagle (this phrase means his strength and speed were restored).

My point in all of this is that if you read this wrong, you will live with a measure of disappointment in this life. But, if you read it correctly, you can and will bless the Lord generously. Why? 1. You’ll rejoice in God’s love for David and His covenant keeping nature. After all we benefit from this faithfulness. 2. You’ll also look to your life and realize all the things God has done for you and bless Him accordingly.

So here’s a challenge for you this week. I’d love to see you write out a list (long or short) of things God has done in your life. Once you do this, like David, I want you to do a bit of spiritual self-talk. I want you to say, “Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget none of His benefits…” and then list them out. 

Conclusion

So what are the why’s of blessing the Lord? His character, His universal love, and His personal love. Church, blessing the Lord is contingent on how you see God. Blessing the Lord requires remembrance. Remembrance means that God has done great things in our lives. David first begins with remembering what God has done for him, then what God does in general, and finally, what motivates what God does—His character.

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