Sometimes you just have to preach to yourself

Reminding ourselves of what we have in Christ

Today I awoke in much pain…in both feet this time. Gout. It’s supposed to be the rich man’s disease. Hah! Then why do I have these attacks?

Now is the time for me to remind myself of God’s promises and what better place to go than Psalm 103. Today’s devotional will have a different format than usual. I am going to just post Psalm 103 with a few comments along with the text. I pray this will do you as much good as I know it will do me.

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Of David.

 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!

This is what my Pastor refers to as preaching the gospel to yourself. It’s not enough for us to hear someone else preach to us. We need to preach the good news to ourselves every day in the midst of the pains of everyday life.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,

Obviously, today the healing of all my diseases is one of his benefits that I am particularly interested in. We are instructed to pray for his kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. I understand that the ultimate fulfillment is to be found in the New Heaven and New Earth, but I also believe it includes the petition for the rule of God’s kingdom to break into our daily lives in the here and now. In particular today, I am petitioning the Lord for his kingdom to break into my life on earth and bring a portion of his ultimate healing to my life. I know some of you who are reading this today also need to experience an outbreak of the kingdom of God in your life. I pray you will experience that today.

who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

God shared his name with Moses in Exodus 34:6-7 where he revealed his name as meaning, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,  keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” Here the Psalmist paraphrases this revelation. I particularly like the way he says he is “abounding” with steadfast love. Not only is he a loving God, he abounds with steadfast love.

He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

Consider what we now know about the size of the universe. It is light years in expanse. This is a measurement of the greatness of God’s steadfast love toward all those who fear him. I need to be reminded of that when things aren’t going my way. I am not forsaken.

12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.

It is good to remember that life is temporary in the present order.

17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.

God has eternally set his love on the elect, those who fear him. It is “from everlasting to everlasting.” 

19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

Nothing escapes God’s sovereignty.

20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his word,
    obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
    his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul! – Psalm 103:1-22

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  • Ted Hamilton

    Good word, Charles! Thanks — I needed Ps.103 today too. Ted