Summary: Praising God in Difficult Times
Psalm 103 - 7/31/16 PM
Funny: A woman fell out of a second-floor window and landed in a slow-moving garbage truck. Half-buried in the litter, she tried without success to get the truck-driver’s attention. A foreign diplomat standing on the sidewalk saw her and quipped, “another example of how wasteful Americans are. That woman looks like she’s good for at least another 10 years.”
? How often do you talk to yourself? Do you answer back?
This morning we looked at a psalm of David, and tonight we will look at another one. This is a psalm of praise. We talked this morning about the importance of praising God, even in difficult times. That’s what David focuses on in this psalm.
The first thing we see in the psalm:
1. The Psalmist Talks To Himself. We often want to tell others what to do, but fail to instruct ourselves. Your soul is the first audience to which you should speak. Your soul is your best audience, your most honest audience and the most important audience in life. What you say to yourself determines what you are and do. You cannot lie to yourself, you only tell yourself the truth. When you say “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” you know if your heart means what your words say you are doing.
What does it mean to bless the Lord? We are telling ourselves to make an intentional choice.
• First, it means to praise and acknowledge His Word, His Character, His Deeds. It means to give praise to Him. You can’t bless the Lord until you know how and where God has blessed you. So we need to take time to consider how we have been blessed by God.
• Second, it means to adore, being affectionate, to love
• Third, it means to exalt, to yield in submission to Him
This is how we bless our God – by praising, adoring, and exalting! Or worded another way, we praise God for who He is and what He does; we express our love for Him; and we declare how great He is.
David reminds us to not forget all the benefits God has given us. In the OT godly King Hezekiah is so sick, he was going to die. And then Hezekiah wept and prayed to God. God answered his prayer, gave 15 years of life, and protected him from his enemies and what did Hezekiah do with those blessings…
2 Chronicles 32:25 - But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the LORD’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.
Did Israel later forget their God! Indeed they did, and judgment and heartache followed. And that’s why verse 2 is here, so we would not forget to take time to consider what God has done for us.
When vs 2 talks about “benefits” - what it really is saying is “here are the benefits of following God.”
So why bless God?
• He forgives our sins - Lest we ever forget, apart from the work of God there is absolutely NO way we can get out from under the penalty of our sin. This is one of the most basic blessings of the Christian life, yet one of the most under-appreciated blessings.
• He heals all our diseases - We know that Christians still get sick. So does it mean that God CAN heal our diseases, even though he might not. Or what in the world is Psalmist talking about?
One thing we see about diseases in the OT is that often they were given as a result of sin, as a result of disobeying God.
Deuteronomy 29:22 - Our children who follow you in later generations and foreigners who come from distant lands will see the calamities that have fallen on the land and the diseases with which the LORD has afflicted it. The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulphur--nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in fierce anger. All the nations will ask: “Why has the LORD done this to this land? Why this fierce, burning anger?” And the answer will be: “It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt. They went off and worshipped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them. Therefore the LORD’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book.
David is an Israelite, and he is reflecting on the history of his people and the promises of God in regards to the covenant. The diseases he is referring to are likely the consequences for failing to obey the covenant. For example, in Deuteronomy 28:58–60 - If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name--the LORD your God— the LORD will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. He will bring upon you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you.