Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. | Psalm 103:1-2
I’m sure you have heard these words countless times or have sung similar lyrics from the song “Ten Thousand Reasons.” To this day, my dad continuously quotes the first two verses of Psalm 103 when he stands and prays during Sunday worship. There have been many people who turn to this psalm of David as reference for worship and encouragement. I’d like to point out that these two verses serve as an introduction. Let’s focus on a few of these “benefits” highlighted in this psalm:
forgiveness, mercy, and healing.
F o r g i v e n e s s
It is very interesting that out of all the many benefits God bestows, the first one is forgiveness of sins. Look at the exact wording in verse 3: “Forgives ALL your iniquity.” It’s right there in black and white, yet how often do we try to hang on to certain sins, telling ourselves that there are some heinous sins that God cannot forgive?
That’s a lie!
God is very aware of who we are deep down inside. He sees the brokenness, the ugliness, and the frailty. He remembers that we are dust, yet we are so precious to Him.
M e r c y
This leads us to the gift of His mercy. Verse 4 says that God crowns us with mercy. How does God demonstrate His mercy? Look at vs. 8-10:
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will He keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
We deserve God’s wrath,
plain and simple.
We have personally wronged God on so many levels on a day-to-day basis. Instead of punishing us as we deserve, He shows us mercy by giving us chance after chance. I can’t help but think of the lyrics by Switchfoot, “Every breath is a second chance.”
Every breath is a gift given by God.
What we do with that gift is up to us… but think of all the gifts we have already wasted! We are truly wasteful and thankless creatures, but God continues to show us His love and mercy. He continues to forgive as our loving Father.
H e a l i n g
Verse 3 says God will heal all our diseases. This is true, but it may not be exactly what we are thinking. We can probably recall Christ’s miraculous healing of the people who were crippled, blind, deaf, and demon-possessed. Let’s also not forget the healing of lepers and even the dead! He did that more than once! All of these people came to Him for physical healing of their diseases and physical infirmities, but every time Christ healed He would say, “You’re sins are forgiven.”
Something we tend to forget is that sickness and disease were never part of God’s design. When sin entered the world, so did disease. What does that mean?
The root of disease is s i n .
We are so focused on the things that can kill the physical body, but Christ saw what was really killing people: SIN. It’s the whole reason why He came into this world and died on the cross!
For those who are in Christ, you are not exempt from getting sick. While there is certainly physical healing, not all diseases resolve as we hope. Ultimately, people die every day because the body fails. However, there is a big difference for believers:
those who die as believers pass from this life into another, to be in the presence of the Lord. There, we will have new, perfect bodies in heaven!
What does that mean? We are born into the earth with broken and sinful bodies, but we pass into heaven to be as Christ, pure and perfect! This is the ultimate healing that we get to look forward to as believers.
There are still so many more benefits to talk about, but I will leave you with these three to think and chew on for now. Read Psalm 103 when you get the chance and really think about what God is doing for you on a day-to-day basis. It will astonish you and lead you to worship the Lord,