Thesis: God's love is seen not just in what he does, but in what he doesn't do.
1. The Bible is a healthy blend of optimism and realism.
a. On the one hand you have realistic books like Ecclesiastes.
b. On the other, you have positive portions like psalms of thanksgiving.
2. This AM we want to explore one of those psalms .... Psalm 103.
I. LOOKING AT THE TEXT.
A. < Introductory remarks >
1. This is a psalm of praise and thanksgiving (framed):
a. Praise by individual (1-2).
b. Praise by the cosmos (20-22).
2. Seems to be a deliberate progression in this psalm:
a. Thanks by author for personal blessings (3-5).
b. Thanks for blessings on Israel (6-14).
c. Thanks for blessings on all mankind (15-19).
3. One of the more interesting things about this psalm is that God is that there is no petition. God is not asked for anything. He is simply thanked, simply praised.
B. Read the text < commenting after ... >
1. VERSE TWO: What are those benefits? There are six (3-5):
a. Forgives all sins.
b. Heals all diseases.
c. Redeems life from the pit.
d. Crowns with love and compassion.
e. Satisfies desires with good things.
f. Renews youth like an eagle.
2. VERSE SIX: The heart of this psalm is framed by verse six and verse nineteen. Each says something about God's reign on earth.
a. Verses 7-12 .... God's compassion on his people as sinners.
b. Verses 13-18 .. God's compassion on his people as mortals.
3. VERSE SEVEN: This apparently something that should be obvious!
4. VERSE EIGHT: Author is saying something specific about God's compassion and graciousness.
a. Not looking for a minor infraction!
b. Not saying, "I dare you to cross this line!"
5. VERSE THIRTEEN: Why is God so compassionate? One reason is He knows we are frail, mortal people.
II. THE LESSON OF THE TEXT.
A. Return to verse 7: God's grace and compassion should be obvious from the Old Testament.
1. Genesis 4:15.
a. Cain murdered his brother Abel.
b. Murderers deserve death (Gen. 9:5-6).
c. God did not give Cain what he deserved--marked for protection!
2. Genesis 8:20-21.
a. God destroyed the world 1x because of sin (Gen. 6:5-8).
b. What's keeping him from doing it again? Man improved? God does not give Man what he deserves!
c. First Covenant in the Bible.
1) Seasons not disrupted; never destroy by H2O; rainbow.
2) Not 2-part covenant (cf. Israel); 1 party/unilateral.
3) Who reaps the benefit of this covenant? (All people!)
3. Numbers 15:22-31.
a. How rules enforced gives insight into character of enforcer.
b. Distinction between intentional and unintentional sins.
1) Sins "ignorantly" (unwittingly--RSV).
2) Sins "defiantly" (with high hand--RSV).
4. 1 Tim. 1:12-16.
a. Ignorance did not excuse Paul.
b. Yet Paul acknowledges that his ignorance meant something to God.
5. 2 Peter 3:3-10.
a. Reason God has not brought the end is NOT man's goodness.
b. Reason is God's patience (9)!
B. POINT: One of the ways the Love of God is seen is that even when God has the RIGHT to punish, he often doesn't.
1. God's justice & righteousness are tempered by his love and mercy.
2. The love of God is sometimes seen not in what he does, but in what he doesn't do.
3. That's the point of this psalm ... read verse 10.
1. What should a realization of God's compassion do for us? Cause us to offer him praise and thanksgiving (1-2, 20-22).
2. Invitation ...
(Part II of this lesson drawn from a Bible Class by Rick Oster, Memphis, TN)