(Due to technical difficulties, the audio to this week’s sermon is unavailable.)
Over the next three weeks we’re going to be hanging out in the Psalms. Today we’re going to look at Ps 103. This Psalm today is about taking time to appreciate and consider just what God does for us. Let’s read it.
II. GOD: HIS BENEFITS V2-5
The psalm starts off clearly stating the theme. Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul. The background of this psalm is unknown. All we have is the stated intention, which is to praise the Lord with everything we have. It is an exertion of internal desire that nobody can measure. Give it all you’ve got.
V2 David goes on to give the material that will focus our praise. He starts with God’s benefits. When we hear the word benefits we usually think of work categories like health insurance, dental insurance, eye insurance, retirement plan, 401k, paid vacation days, paid sick days…What’s interesting is that we often don’t think of them as benefits but as obligations. The psalmist is on to something because it is more natural for us to muddle the term benefit to mean “expected” or “due”. It is easy to forget that benefits are just that…“benefits” not “what we got coming”. In this Psalm David charges us to remember God’s benefits in order to praise Him. When is the last time we’ve considered God’s benefits and that we don’t’t have them coming but we get them anyway? David goes on to list a few.
A. Forgiveness: This first benefit is that He forgives our sin. Forgiveness is God choosing not to hold a sin against us. This is a benefit because we deserve the punishment of every sin we’ve committed and yet God says if you confess it I will forgive it. All of it and not hold it against You.
B. Heals Disease: The second benefit is that God heals diseases. Is this stuck on the page from a time long ago or is this benefit something you believe God still offers today? In our western culture or naturalism and rationalism, the idea of the supernatural and the miraculous is difficult to embrace even in the church. We’ll go to a doctor before we’ll go to God. Or we’ll listen to voices of this age rather than the voice of God. The Christian & Missionary Alliance firmly believes in the healing power of our God. It is not something that stopped when Jesus left earth, or when all the Apostles passed away. Our God still heals today. It is a benefit for those who are Children of God. Healing spiritually. Healing emotionally. Healing Mentally. Healing Physically. Healing relationally. What can cause disease? The Bible teaches that sickness can come just because this is a broken and cursed world and our bodies will break under that curse. It’s just disease as we all think of disease in a natural way. The Bible also teaches that disease can be brought on by our sin as a judgment from God. I’m not sure if you have ever thought of that. Our sin can bring sickness. The Bible also teaches that disease can be brought by the demonic realm. Just read through Jesus’ life and you’ll see examples of each. What is clear is that there is disease but the cause of disease is not often clear but complex. We like that word around here. It’s complex. What is also clear is that God heals diseases and promises to heal us. Sometimes, by His grace, it’s on this earth, and sometimes it’s not until we get to heaven. This morning I want you to hear two stories of healing that have happened recently at our church. (Mike Stark)
C. Redeems Us: He redeems us from the pit, and crowns us with love and compassion. Redemption in this passage means to deliver from evil or calamity. Part of praising God is recalling the benefit of just how far we have come. How far have you come this morning? How far has God brought you in your life? When’s the last time you’ve pondered this or reflected on the idea that this is a benefit from God?
But a pit is a pit. Something that we cannot get out of no matter how hard we try. Pits by their very nature are places where things are trapped. People historically have made pits to trap animals. Sometimes they have sharp stakes sticking up that mortally wound the animal when they fall in. The psalmists says, “He rescues us from the pit.”
Who here has ever been in the pit? Trapped where you can’t get out? You’re stuck waiting for someone to rescue you. What kind of pits are out there? Sin pits? Sins that we can never seem to overcome? How about suffering pits like sickness? Chronic sickness and illness. Pits can be wounds from the past. Wounds from the present. Grief? Depression? Sorrow? Relational pits? Pits have all kinds of names. The tragic irony of the church is that we all have been in a pit or are in a pit and maybe even fall back into a pit. But so often we pretend and fake it. Folks, I’ve been in the pit. I’ve been in some bigs ones where I was seriously thinking about checking myself into the hospital. Those elders that were around when I was that bad off can testify about it. My wife can testify about it. I was ready to resign and quit thinking that was my way out. This was years ago. I say this to tell you some of you, “You’re not alone. You’re not the only one.” I want you to listen to a recent story of God rescuing someone from a pit of sickness.
And God says, “I am the pit rescuer. I specialize in pulling people out of the pit. (Elizabeth Nicholson)
What I don’t want anyone to miss is that second part of the verse. God doesn’t just stop with rescuing us from the pit, but he loves to crown us with steadfast love and mercy. Crowns us with love and mercy. We go around wearing His love. His mercy.
D. Satisfies: He satisfies our desires with good things. Desires are anything we yearn for and strain to obtain. They can be spiritual, physical, and emotional and range from wanting just a place to live to yearning to be loved by someone. In fact, in this room there’s more desires than you can shake a stick at. The wonderful thing is God loves to satisfy your desire. To restore us like the metaphor suggests. Where we are soaring like eagles with strength and vitality because our desires are met.
Did you know God loves to give us our desires? Like He get’s a kick out of it. Jesus once said, “Look, if people who are evil would never give a poisonous snake to their child, how much more do you think I love to give good things to my children?” He loves to satisfy our desires.
I want you to hear a story about God satisfying a desire of a family in our church. (Dan & Amber Ratta)
CONCLUSION: Anyone have some benefits God has given you that you haven’t remembered in a long time? Anyone here sensing the call from David to Bless the Lord? To Praise Him for what he gives us?
Anyone here stopped asking? Afraid to ask? Too overwhelmed to ask? This is a day to ask! Come before your God who loves to throw these benefits out to anyone who asks. You need forgiveness? You need healing? You have desires? You in a pit? Come to God.