September 1 – Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Psalm 103: 1 – 6 and 19 – 22

A psalm of David.

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

The Lord gives righteousness
    and justice to all who are treated unfairly. …

19 The Lord has made the heavens his throne;
    from there he rules over everything.

20 Praise the Lord, you angels,
    you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
    listening for each of his commands.
21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels
    who serve him and do his will!
22 Praise the Lord, everything he has created,
    everything in all his kingdom.

Let all that I am praise the Lord.

Psalm 103 is one of my favourite psalms and we’ll be looking at it over 2 days. Maybe it’s because of a year and a half of Covid, but I’ve discovered that I tend to look more on the down side of things these days. As I read the paper or watch the news on TV, I wonder how much the 4th wave of the pandemic is going to prolong this strange “stay at home” life we have. To reassure you, I’m not depressed, just not bubbling over with joy at what might happen today.

Then I read Psalm 103. 

What can I be excited about? “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.”  What are some of the things God has done for me, for you?

“He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.”  I am forgiven – forgiven for all the deliberate sins I’ve committed and all the ‘mistakes’ I’ve made. God assures me of that in 1 John 1: 9: “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 

But he also has healed “all my diseases”. That word “disease” doesn’t necessarily mean a physical one. It can also refer to our attitude and faulty thinking. In our fallen world, there are physical diseases that can cause suffering and even death. They don’t go away. Sometimes God does step in to this world and heals physical disease. I experienced that when my husband lived for 8 more years after the doctors told him he had 2 weeks to live. But until we meet God in heaven, our bodies will get sick and die.

 But God also brings things into our lives to heal the disease of our sinful, fallen nature. Think of all the times you’ve realized you had a bad attitude, or you figured out you were being too proud, or you had a tendency to ‘stretch the truth’. You discovered you were too much of a controller, or you get angry too quickly. God sends those people or situations into our lives to help us realize we need him to help us change.

“He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.” We are so blessed to know that is definitely true, since Jesus came to earth, died and rose again. 1 Thessalonians 4: 14 – 18 says:

“For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.[a] 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died[b] will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.”

We have that wonderful assurance that death is not the end. God “crowns me with love and tender mercies” during this life and in my life to come. “He fills my life with good things.” (v. 5) Difficult things will happen, but God is with me. So we agree with the psalmist, David and repeat these words:

19 The Lord has made the heavens his throne;
    from there he rules over everything.

20 Praise the Lord, you angels,
    you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
    listening for each of his commands.
21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels
    who serve him and do his will!
22 Praise the Lord, everything he has created,
    everything in all his kingdom.

Let all that I am praise the Lord.

Our song for today is How He Loves by David Crowder Band.

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