Summary: We are instructed to give thanks. Some of us struggle to do that because we aren't sure that God has blessed us lately. Situations and circumstances cause us to wonder if God even deserves our thanks! The truth is that we are loaded
Pt. 3 - Benefit 3
We have been commanded repeatedly to be thankful. Over and over again gratitude is commanded because God is worthy. Because life can be difficult and not everything is always as planned it is necessary to remind ourselves of the benefits that we have due to our relationship with God. So we have talked about the fact that we are loaded with forgiveness (the greatest benefit). We are loaded with healing. God is so good that not only does He deal with the spiritual fallout of sin but also makes provision for the physical fallout of sin.
So let's brag a little today. Realizing that we really had nothing to do with it but still highly favored, and favor ain't fair, touch your neighbor and tell them "That's right ... I am loaded!"
So, let's go back to our text and continue to examine the benefit package we have due to God's favor on our lives.
Text: Psalms 103:1-5
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits (There is the choice - control your soul - make yourself praise instead of complain) who forgives all your sin and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
a. How you arrive in the pit doesn't matter.
Notice that David operates from the assumption that we will experience the pit. I think he assumes that because from his own life experience he knows that pit are inevitable and that there are two ways to arrive in a pit.
Listen to David's pit list and you will see the two ways to arrive:
Overlooked by family, crazy father-in-law, despised by wife, best friend killed in battle, caught in adultery, dead child, rebellious child, incest in family, one son murders other son, life constantly marked by war and tragedy.
There are basically two ways you end up in a pit:
Self dug pits.
David had his share of these in that list. These we don't like to talk about. In fact, most of us won't admit it. We end up in a pit and then feel compelled to blame someone else. Like Samson we keep playing, flirting with, dabbling with sin until we fall in and then we want to point fingers at everyone else. It was the TV’s fault for being on that channel. It was her fault for dressing like that. It was his fault for talking to me like that. It was my ex's fault. It was my boss's fault! It was QVC's fault. We play the victim card until we believe it. The truth is we all dig ourselves into pits.
Other dug pits.
David experienced another way to arrive in a pit. The second way to arrive in a pit is to intentionally be thrown in the pit by someone else. Joseph would testify here. You thought they loved you. You thought they liked you. You thought they had your back. You thought they had your best in mind. Instead they intentionally throw you into a mess. The same hands that held you, caressed you, and assured you are now being used to discard you. The same mouth used to praise you, brag on you, and flatter you is now being used to curse, attack, and cut you down. The same heart that was turned towards you is now turned against you. You arrive in a pit that you didn't dig.
David screams to us in Psalm 103 that the method of arrival doesn't really matter. We tend to want to focus on how we arrived in the pit. David wants us to focus on how we get out!
Against the backdrop of his own pit marked path he declares what really matters is that we are loaded with redemption. The good news is that the power of this benefit is that whether self inflicted or put there by someone else Jesus can find you in any pit and get you out of any pit.
We understand his saving power. However, notice David already deals with the benefit of forgiveness/salvation. He now goes one more step and says we are loaded with redemption. We need to embrace His redeeming ability. Redemption literally means to return to original state. We fail to understand the new creation, all things are new, old has passed away, redemptive work that Christ has done in us! Yes, your story is sordid. Yes, your story is marked by tragedy. Yes, your story is painful and at times ugly. But . . .
We underestimate or under-appreciate this benefit!