I have a message placed on my heart that the Holy Spirit wants me to share – and that message is this – the foundation to life is found in Psalm 103. Not only does Psalm 103 encourage us how to praise and bless the Lord, it also reminds us that our sins are forgiven – which is the central message of the gospels.
Bless the Lord, O My Soul
103 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 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;
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.
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.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
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!
Let’s open in praise!
The First Key
What is the first key to facing life? To live a lifestyle of worship.
The singing that we do on Sundays at church should reflect what we have been doing all week. Nothing confuses the enemy more, whether it be human or satanic powers, than worship and praise from a believer’s lips. The devil doesn’t know what to do with a Christian who is going through problems and yet continues worshipping the Lord—it utterly confuses him.
The Bible says that when Paul and Silas were jailed in Philippi (Acts 16), they had their hands put in chains, their feet in stocks, and their backs were bleeding because they were given thirty-nine lashes. Yet they were singing hymns and praising the Lord at midnight. In that moment, they were not asking, “God deliver us,” or complaining. No, as they were singing and worshipping and focused on Jesus Christ, God caused a great earthquake and opened the jail. The jailer was going to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped, but Paul stopped him and he and his family accepted Jesus as Lord.
What does it mean to worship the Lord? It means to make a conscious choice to ascribe ultimate value to God, considering Him the most important person in your life. It means to recognize His value or worthiness.
If there is anybody who was a wonderful example of considering Jesus the most important person in his life, it was the Apostle Paul. He was in prison facing death, and yet he said he considered everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus. In other words, everything that to him was meaningful, everything that gave him significance, everything that made him feel important, he considered it like garbage. The translators of the Bible tried to be nicer than the apostle Paul. Do you know what the Greek word for garbage is? The original word is “dung” —cow manure.
I really enjoy many things this world has to offer. But we have to be careful not to make anything our idol. That should not be our significance. Christ should be our identity and our significance. To glorify and worship the Lord means to emotionally find our ultimate joy or pleasure in Him.
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” John Piperhttps://themajestysmen.com/god-most-glorified-super-sermons/
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ
Philippians 3:8 ESV
The Antidote to Forgetfulness
Why do we often fail to praise the Lord? Because we forget His benefits. One of the evils of the human psyche (the soul and the mind) is that we tend to forget the good things and remember the bad things. Some people can receive a hundred compliments, “You look great. You look beautiful. Job well done. You are so smart.” But if one time they get, “You are a loser,” “You can’t do it”, that will stick. We are tempted to remember the bad instead of the good.
If your mind is centered on the blessings and mercies you receive, you will be a happier person. But if you are centered on the injustices that you have received you will soon become a bitter person.
What is the antidote for forgetfulness? You must preach to yourself frequently – every day. Who is Psalm 103 addressed to? It is not a prayer; it is not addressed to God. It is not addressed to other people. David is talking to himself. It is as if he is looking to himself in the mirror saying, “Oh, soul, worship the Lord, praise the Lord, don’t forget all His blessings, all His benefits.” That is key.
The main issue behind all our problems is that we don’t remember the gospel. If there is any scripture in the Old Testament that clearly describes the gospel it is verses 10 to 12 in Psalm 103, where King David says God does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far He has removed our transgressions from us.
Think for a moment on this. You can stand here and look to the East and travel East for 5 miles, for 50 miles or 5000 miles and you’ll never reach the West—they are infinitely separate. And what David is trying to say is that when God forgives you, He removes those sins. They are definitely gone; they can never come back.
Such is God’s forgiveness.
To live all the great things the gospel brings, we must not forget them. Preach to yourself. Our everyday walk is fueled by faith. And the only way we can get our faith revived is through hearing the Word of God.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Romans 10:17 ESV
What Does It Mean to Have Our Sins Removed?
When you first became a Christian, God didn’t forgive you because you confessed yourself a sinner and wanted to try to be a better person. God doesn’t forgive us for our efforts not to sin. If, from this day forward, you never committed another sin for the rest of your life, do you really believe that will make up for all the sins you committed in the past? There is nothing that you and I can do to make up for our sins.
Then why doesn’t God repay us like we deserve? What does it mean when we learn that our sins have been removed? Does God simply make them disappear? Does He ignore them and pretend they don’t exist? Have you ever noticed that forgiveness always requires a payment, always requires suffering and loss? If your car is parked out there and a passing car swipes it, either you forgive that person and you pay to repair it, or you make that person pay through his insurance or by getting a lawyer. Somebody has to pay!
Likewise, someone has to pay for our sins. God cannot let sin go unpunished. God says from the beginning of the book of Genesis, ““but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die, Genesis 2:17. All the way to the New Testament, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 6: 23.
In this psalm, David quotes what God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai when He revealed Himself to him. Moses asked God, “Show me your glory.” God said, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live,” and He added, “When my glory passes by, I will…cover you with my hand… and you will see my back.” Afterwards, when God is making His goodness pass over Moses, He says, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” But notice what else God says: “Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished.” How does God maintain love and forgive sin and at the same time not leave the guilty unpunished? David, being a prophet, took the liberty to quote God’s words, but he didn’t quote that last part. Instead, he says, “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities,” because somebody has to pay!
Thank God that Jesus Christ paid for our sins in full! That should change our day into a twenty-four hour concert of praise unto Him!
Somebody Has to Pay for It
When we hear or read, “God loves you and He will forgive you,” we should beware not to think by any means that God is like a grandpa who says, “I forgive you and I will repair whatever you broke,” because He isn’t indulgent to us.
The Lord forgives us because Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins on the cross.
When David said the Lord redeems your life from the pit, do you know what the word “redeems” means? It means to liberate a slave, to set him free. How? Through the payment of a price. Jesus paid that price.
The Apostle Paul said that Christ never sinned, but God treated Him as a sinner. God the ultimate righteous judge doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve because God treated Jesus as a sinner, so that He could make us acceptable unto Him. In other words, Jesus was treated as I deserved to be treated for my sins, so that God can treat me as He would treat Jesus Christ. That is why we are accepted into God’s presence.
How can I be made right with God? In Romans, the Apostle Paul says that, “We are made right.” It doesn’t say that we make ourselves right, it says, “We are made right.” I cannot make myself right. We often say, “You need to get right with God.” But there’s nothing you need to do except repent and change the way you think about sin and trust in Jesus Christ. We are made right with God by placing our faith in the risen Lord Jesus. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who they are.
God in His grace freely makes us right in His sight. How did He do this? He did this through Christ Jesus, when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sins. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life and shed His blood on their behalf. This sacrifice shows us that God was being fair when He held back and didn’t punish those who sinned in past times because He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time through Jesus Christ.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
Today is the day of salvation. If you have never “gotten right” with God, this is the best day you can do it. Talk to Him and tell Him you are sorry for your sins and that you believe Jesus bore them on the cross so that you may be saved.
The Cross as The doorway of History
David committed adultery and gave orders to his general, Joab, to have the husband of the woman with whom he committed adultery murdered, by placing him in the fiercest place of the battle.
David thought everything was great. Then, about a year later, the prophet Nathan went before him and said, “There was this rich man who had thousands of lambs and sheep, but next to him was a man who was poor, but he only had one sheep. And he treated that sheep like a pet, calling her by name. But when a visitor came by the rich man’s place, you know what the rich man did? He sent his servants to the neighbor and stole that one little lamb and he had it killed and prepared for the party that night.”
David, who had a heart after God, a man after God’s own heart, [he sinned, you sinned, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have a heart for God, we still know what righteousness is], when he heard about the man who stole the lamb and killed it, he rose up and said, “That man deserves to die. Who is he?”
And Nathan lifted up his finger and said, “You are that man.” Can you see David’s face turn white? He falls on his knees and he says, “I have sinned.” But notice what the prophet says. The prophet says what none of us would ever say. The law said adultery should be punished by death. But the prophet said, “David, your sin has been forgiven.” Why does God forgive him? Because, “Oh please, boys will be boys, you know, besides she was a beautiful woman, so come on give me a break.” No. Why did God forgive David? Because back then, before Christ came, God was looking forward to the day that he would bust through the ceiling of the universe and become a human being and die on the cross and carry David’s sin upon Himself. The cross is the center of history.
In the Old Testament they looked forward, today we look back to the cross. We do that all the time.
God did this to demonstrate that He is fair and just, and that He makes the sinners right in His sight when they believe and trust in Jesus Christ. I urge you if you haven’t made that decision, choose to trust in the risen Lord Jesus as your Savior.
You can ask yourself, “How was all of this hidden in Psalm 103?” As you read the book of Psalms, God will speak to you in ways that will amaze and bless you as you have never imagined.
Remember, one Psalm a day.