Salvation ... comes from the Lord ... because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Psalm 103 Healing

The Psalm quoted below was written by an ancient Israeli leader  known as King David in the Bible.  I add some thoughts interspersed throughout.  

“1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.”
God is a restorer of hope.  Connection with God can only be experienced when we are surrendered to him in our “inner most being.”  Relationship with God brings all the benefits of healing---physically, mentallly, emotionally, and spiritually.  God supplies for legitimate needs, and even satisfies desires for good things that honor him.  

“6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.”
There is not enough room here to unpack all the good news that this one verse reveals for mankind.  For years I read over verses like this in the Bible thinking of people In comparison to myself who are  worse off, more needy (physically, mentally, or spiritually), and perhaps in a condition more persecuted by people around them.  The English word “opressed” may include people we think of as “less fortunate,” but I think the meaning of this text goes far beyond social perceptions.
            A deeper meaning of this verse involves God’s eternal purposes for mankind.  Over 1,000 years before Jesus came to earth, this prophetic declaration describes how the Messiah would free mankind from the slavery of unrighteousness and injustice.  Whether we like to admit it or not, we are all born into an oppressed condition.  We need a Savior to free our soul from the powers of the evil enemy of God’s entire creation (including the human race).  It’s not about us working our way to God, but salvation comes by each individual receiving (and believing in) the work God did in sending His Son Jesus Christ to redeem our lost (oppressed) status.  As followers of Jesus, we are to cooperate with God’s work of changing us from the inside out, until the day we die.  In this process, our oppression lifts more and more each day.  This process (sanctification) is the real path to healing.
I came to realize that it’s not about me thinking I’m opressed or privileged (more or less needy than another person).  It’s about how I relate to God, and whether I’m accepting more or less of him in my life every day.   

“7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
The past is extremely important is making sense of the present, and future.  People in the Bible have thousands of years history in relatiing to God.  When Jesus the Messiah came to earth, it completely changed the way God relates to mankind.  God’s son Jesus does not treat us as our sins deserve.  If we believe Christ’s message and respond by surrendering our hearts to his teachings, all the guilt and shame of our short-comings is done away with.  We are not condemned to living in our past, but have genuine hope for the future.    

“13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children..
18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”
             The God of the Bible is worthy of respect.  In fact, he commands it.  He doesn’t force himself on people, but he enforces the laws he has set into motion.  Respecting God’s ways is guaranteed to see compassion flow from his heart.   Covenant is a word we don’t hear much about, but it has to do with God’s promises with his people.  All his promises are true and loving toward his creation, and he doesn’t even know how to break a promise.  Honoring his covenant is always to our benefit.  Father God’s heart is to lavish love and compassion on his people.  The only thing necessary to receive Father God’s full blessing is to remain faithful in keeping our end of the deal.  Since he knows we cannot remain faithful in our own strength alone, he provides the Holy Spirit to guide us and nudge our hearts to greater degrees of surrender.  

“19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.”
God is a supremely benevelant King.  His kingdom is not an earthly kingdom, but divinely powerful for the destruction of evil.  Jesus came to enforce the heavenly kingdom and provide a way for mankind to rule and reign as God’s sons and daughters.  There is nothing outside of God’s domain.  Our task is to bring God’s rule to our surroundings.  God reigns in the most general terms of the affairs of the universe down to the smallest details of  our personal lives.  He wants to be on His throne in our thoughts, attitudes, and actions at all times.  

“20 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.”
“Praise the Lord” is David’s heartcry to end this Psalm as it began.  All creation is designed to give glory to God.  God wants the glory, not in some egotistical way, but because he knows our tendency to grab glory for ourselves.  Our self-effort only produces self-glorification.  A surrendered heart gives glory to God.  Self-effort produces self-righteousness.  A surrendered heart gives credit to Jesus for his accomplished work in saving our souls.  Healing is evidenced by gratitude.  Gratitude begins with giving honor and praise to the Lord.  Give him the glory due his name today.  Praise the Lord!

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry