This Week's Scripture & Reflection: Psalm 103:1-5
One of the major concerns we have when applying for a new job opportunity is the benefits package! We want to know the various perks that we will receive as part of our employment. Those perks can help to cover many significant things, such as health and life insurance, 401(k) retirement savings, and paid time-off. Often times, we as believers can forget about the amazing benefits that we possess as children of God! That's why the psalmist David instructs us in this Psalm to bless the Lord and to forget none of His benefits:
He pardons all our iniquities. This word "pardon" in the Hebrew language means "to forgive". Furthermore, the word "iniquities" in Hebrew means "perversity, i.e. (moral) evil". In general, sin can be defined as the violation of or failure to obey God's commands! However, when speaking of iniquity, we are referring to the internal, perverse desires and motivations that result from our wicked heart, which ultimately lead to conscious sin-breaking decisions. In the book of Jeremiah, God declares that "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (cf. Jeremiah 17:9).
While we should not leave sin and iniquity unchecked, we do have a gracious and loving God who forgives us of our iniquities that result from our wicked hearts! No other god can forgive and pardon all our iniquities because no other god sits in the seat of authority that God Almighty does! Moreover, sin is a violation of the holy standard of the only true and living God, not the standard of other false deities. Therefore, He is the only one who is able to forgive us! Praise the name of the Lord that He does not hold our iniquities against us!
He heals all our diseases. In Exodus 15:26, God speaks to the nation of Israel saying, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer". In the Hebrew language, the last phrase "I, the Lord, am your healer" is translated as Jehovah Rapha, meaning "the God who heals"! As the omnipotent God, He has the pure and inherent power to heal any and all diseases; no sickness or disease is exempt!
His healing virtue is able to cure any and all types of diseases that have manifested as the result of sin and restore our physical bodies to proper working function! While individuals can and do pass away due to the effects of certain illnesses, this does not negate God's ability to heal nor the fact that He does heal nor the fact that He truly heals all diseases, especially for those of us who are believers! We can experience His healing power here right now in the Earth realm, but nothing will compare to the ultimate healing we will experience and possess in Heaven when we dwell with Him for eternity (cf. Revelation 21:4).
He redeems your life from the pit. This word "redeem" correlates to the Oriental law of kinship in which the next of kin buys back a relative's property by marrying the deceased's widow. In context, the act of redemption carries the connotation of rescuing someone from bondage or slavery, or even death. Furthermore, this word "pit" in the Hebrew language denotes a literal pit or hole representing destruction. Recall to mind those moments when you were headed towards destruction and God rescued you from those perilous situations! Take into account those seasons of your life where you found yourself falling into a seemingly never-ending pit, feeling trapped and without a clear escape, and yet God brought you out!
In the book of Isaiah, the prophet himself declares "Behold, the Lord's hand is not so short that it cannot save..." (cf. Isaiah 59:1). The psalmist David could definitely testify to the Lord's ability to redeem his life from the pit as he spent most of his young adult life on the run from King Saul who was desperately trying to kill him! Only an omnipresent, compassionate God could redeem and rescue your life from destruction on multiple occasions! He steps in at just the right time and saves us from unthinkable destructive situations, especially the ones we created ourselves!
He crowns us with lovingkindness and compassion. A crown is the trademark of any individual of distinguished royalty! For God to crown or bestow lovingkindness and compassion upon our heads signifies that His lovingkindness and compassion, or tender-mercies, rest on us! In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah declares that the Lord's mercies are new every morning and it is because of them that we are not consumed (cf. Lamentations 3:22-23)!
It is because of His lovingkindness and compassion that He redeems our lives from the pit, heals all our diseases, and pardons all our iniquities. These two virtues permeate everything that the Lord does, even His correction because the Word states that He disciplines those whom He loves (cf. Hebrews 12:6)! Just because the Lord crowns us with lovingkindness and compassion does not mean we should abuse either one! These virtues should stir us to walk upright before the Lord, but also to rest in the fact that we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses (cf. Hebrews 4:15).
He satisfies your years with good things. In Acts 17, the apostle Paul declares to a group of men in Athens saying, "...He Himself [God] gives to all people life and breath and all things" (cf. Acts 17:25b). In light of this truth, how we could give credit to anybody else but the All-Sufficient One for all that we possess? He has satisfied our years with life and all the joys of this abundant life! He has satisfied our years with breath in our physical bodies in order to experience two of the most natural human functions that we could not do apart from Him: inhaling and exhaling!
Ultimately, everything that we have: our homes, possessions, wardrobes, jobs, talents & skills, the Lord has graciously blessed us with them all! While the years of our lives have not been void of trouble, they have been abundantly filled with many good and marvelous things if we simply take the time to sit back and reflect on them! We certainly won't be able to name them all! At every stage of life from young to old and in-between, God has supernaturally renewed our youth and strength, empowering us to mount up on wings as eagles and soar (cf. Isaiah 40:31).
Who wouldn't serve a God with all of these incredible benefits? And these are only a few of them! His benefits are endless because they are in accordance with His eternal riches in glory!