Bless the Lord, O My Soul
Text: Psalm 103
I. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t get someone asking me:
A. Do you think I can be forgiven of my sin?
B. How can I know I’ve been forgiven?
C. I live in fear that I might have overlooked something and God is going to condemn me for doing something I didn’t know was wrong.
D. At the core of each of these question is the same misunderstanding of the nature of God.
1. Each imagines God as harsh and unrelenting, just waiting for another to slip up so he can be removed.
2. There is no trust or remembrance of God’s love
E. After talking about those who return to sin - Hebrews 6:4-6
1. The writer reminds us that God wants us saved - Hebrews 6:9-15
2. The fact that the world continues is a testament to God’s patience - II Peter 3:9
3. God’s goal is salvation for each man - Ezekiel 18:21-23
II. David looked at his relationship with God and found cause to sing out in praise of his God - Psalm 103:1
A. The benefits God gives - Psalm 103:2-5
1. We try not to, but so often we forget to keep in mind why we became children of God in the first place.
a. Was it not because God offered us salvation? - Romans 5:8
b. He demonstrated love toward us - John 3:16
c. He initiated love - I John 4:18
2. Pardons all our iniquities
a. The Lord has power to cleanse us from all unrighteousness - I John 1:9
b. There is no sin from which God cannot forgive or is unwilling to forgive
c. If a sin is unforgiven, then it is because man, not God, who will not let go of his sin and humble himself before his God - Romans 6:17; Hebrews 5:8-9
d. The invitation for freedom is open - Revelation 22:17
3. Heals all our diseases
a. Physical maladies are not what is foremost in David’s mind, though God did design the human body and provides us with health from disease.
b. I believe here David is referring to recovery from the consequences of our sin
(1) Our sins damage us - Psalm 38:1-7
(2) God provides a cure - Psalm 107:17-22
c. He relieves us of the mental anguish that we inflict on ourselves - Psalm 147:3
4. Redeems your life
a. We have sold ourselves into sin - Romans 7:14, 24
b. Worse, we willingly sold ourselves for nothing - Isaiah 52:3
c. God bought us back, paying an unimaginable price - I Peter 1:18-19
5. Crowns you
a. As if the aforementioned were not enough, God has given us a crown of glory - I Peter 5:4
b. A crown of life - James 1:12
c. A crown of righteousness awaits us - II Timothy 4:8
d. God, in His mercy and compassion, has invited you and I to reign with Him - Revelation 3:21
6. Satisfies you
a. The exact translation of the first half of Psalms 103:5 is disputed, but it contains the idea that God satisfies desire or brings satisfaction though our years. The later is more likely since it is being compared to youth.
b. The idea is that even as we grow older, we get younger on the inside.
(1) Psalm 92:13-15 - Fresh and flourishing
(2) Continual energy - Isaiah 40:31
(3) Outward man decays while inward man is renewed - II Corinthians 4:16
c. This is because God takes care of us
(1) Satisfied with goodness - Psalm 65:4
(2) Filled with good - Psalm 104:28; 107:9
B. God’s dealings with man - Psalm 103:6-13
1. God takes up the task of bringing justice to the oppressed
a. God cares for even the lowest of His people - Psalms 72:4;146:7
2. He teaches His ways - Psalm 19:7-11
a. We aren’t left to guess what God requires of us. He has told us.
b. II Peter 1:3 - everything pertaining to life and godliness
3. His character is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and merciful
a. This is a quote from Exodus 34:6-7
(1) It is repeated many times through the Old Testament
(2) The children of Israel sinned by worshiping the golden calf while Moses was on Sinai getting God’s law for the people.
(3) God was ready to wiped the people out and restart with Moses - Exodus 32:9-10
(4) But Moses interceded and God relented - Exodus 32:14
(5) And when the tablets were replaced, God revealed why He put up with the Israelites.
b. But not to the point of doting
(1) It would be dangerous to misinterpret God’s longsuffering and compassion for someone who overlooks all faults like a dotting grandfather.
(2) Exodus 34:7 emphasizes that the guilty will not be let off the hook
(3) But neither does He give up on us
(a) Else we would not survive - Isaiah 57:16
(b) He delights in mercy - Micah 7:18-19
c. He gives us less than we deserve
(1) Else again, we would not survive - Psalm 130:3
(2) Punishment is given, but lighter than deserved - Ezra 9:13
d. He is very merciful to those who fear Him - Ephesians 2:4-7
e. He has removed our sins far from us
(1) How far is east from west? No matter how far you go, it is still further.
(2) How thoroughly does God forgive us?
(a) Sins won’t be found - Jeremiah 50:20
(b) It is no longer remembered - Isaiah 43:25
(c) Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin - I John 1:7
f. He treats us with compassion as a father his children
(1) God is willing to spare - Malachi 3:17
(2) Illustrated in the parable of the prodigal son - Luke 15:21-22
C. The permanence of God’s love - Psalm 103:14-19
1. God knows the frailty of man
a. We don’t last long - Psalm 78:39
b. We are like wild flowers - Isaiah 40:6-8
c. We are a morning mist - James 4:14
2. In contrast, God’s compassion is permanent
a. Not an unqualified, unconditional love
b. An everlasting love - Jeremiah 31:3
c. God doesn’t give up like men do. His is a continual mercy - Psalm 100:5
d. A just righteousness - Romans 3:21-25
3. It is given to those who keep His covenant - Psalm 25:10
a. He taught us His ways - Psalm 119:9-11
b. We are to walk in them - I Thessalonians 4:1
c. We are to be steadfast as God - I Corinthians 15:58; Colossians 1:23
4. God’s reign is permanent and He is in control
D. The response of all - Psalm 103:20-22
III. David answers those questions
A. Do you think I can be forgiven?
1. A resounding “YES!”
2. God could do no less for you and remain faithful to His character
B. Is God going to condemn me if I missed something?
1. If you are living by His teachings, and learning day by day
2. When you come across wrongs and you confess them and correct them
3. Then God knows you. He knows what you understand. He knows your limits, and He is rich in compassion and mercy
4. I John 1:5-2:2
C. How can I know I’ve been forgiven?
1. Because you can see all the effort God has expended to secure your forgiveness
2. I John 2:3-6
D. Where is your faith in the God of all creation?