Our Need, His Character

For reasons I’ll explain later, I’m not going to begin a study on another full book just yet.  Instead, this Sunday, we’re going to begin a short study on what, for me, has become a focal point chapter in the book of Psalms.

Psalm 103 will be our subject for the next few weeks.  Read it here in the NKJVRead it here in The Message. (I really love The Message version…and we’ll be referencing it in our study).

This is a Psalm I love to pray…for a while I prayed it every day, but now its every few weeks, as other Scriptures and prayers have been in the forefront for me. 

Psalm 103 is a Psalm of David…a song that is believed to have been written in his old age.  I imagine that old king, scars on the arms which hold his harp, reflecting on his adventurous life with God as he hums and sings in time with his strum.  It’s such a wonderful prayer.

As you read it, do me a favor.  If you need to, print out a copy of the Message version of Psalm 103.  Now, sometime when you have a moment of quiet…somewhere when you’re all alone, and the TV isn’t screaming what you should buy, and the kids are occupied or asleep….in that time, read this out loud (a whisper will do though), and add personal pronouns in the reading…so that it is a conversation in which you personally are speaking to God. 

It will read like this:

1-2 O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless your holy name!
   O my soul, bless God,
      don’t forget a single blessing!

 3-5 You forgive my sins—every one. 
      You heal my diseases—every one. 
      You redeem me from hell—You save my life! 
      You crown me with love and mercy—a paradise crown. 
      You wrap me in goodness—beauty eternal. 
      You renew my youth—I’m always young in Your presence.

….and on and on.  You get the idea.  Personalize the language of the Psalm…make it YOUR prayer…and pray that Psalm to God.  Think over what it means as your saying it (realizing that He hears you, no matter what you hear).  Let it soak in.

What does this Psalm say to you in the first five verses?  What do you see as the emphasis?  What is revealed, and who is it revealed about?

Do these verses evoke any thoughts you want to share, good or bad?  Questions maybe?  Testimonials?

Just wondering.  Hopefully this will be a cool study.  I really love Psalm 103.

4 comments

  1. Rob;
    When I first started coming to Eastgate, one of the things that struck me, was that you (often) quoted verses 12 and 14..I guess because you, like I, stand in reverent, continuing and increasing awe of this incredible Gift God has given us. My faith in this Gift (namely His salvation, love and friendship (!)) is more comfortable now, but at that time, I just couldn’t believe that God would have any reason or desire to have anything to do with me. Those two verses brought me much healing and much faith that in spite of my stumbling, inept walk with God, that he really meant what He said. Because of those 2 verses, I started to study Psalm 103 as a whole, which became a source a continuing delight to me in the weeks following. It gives us a glimpse into God’s nature, that perhaps can never be understood in a religious sense (natural mind), but only becomes real when experienced as a relationship with Him. Even then, I don’t really understand it, but I love both the mystery and the relationship, and as a result, have come to love Him more and more. It still doesn’t make logical sense, but it doesn’t have to!

  2. It has always been hard for me to read how much God loves me. I never had a close relationship with my earthly father and trusting my Heavenly Father has been difficult for me. He is being very patient with me and he will NEVER give up on me. It is so amazing how God always seems to get through my hardened heart, even when I have built up walls from hurt and disappointment. This psalm helps me to see that it is all about how much he loves me and accepts me, with all my faults, and I can trust him, no matter what. Thank you, Rob.

  3. Because I have an self-inflicted affinity for perfection and control, I have an amazing way of beating myself up on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. As a follower of Christ, I know that I know that I know that I am far from perfect, and I cannot control much of anything beyond my fingertips (and rarely that much). Why would God voluntarily continue to forgive my sins; forgive every one? Why would He suffer the patience it must take to love ME? Psalm 103 reminds me what an AWESOME God I serve. How BIG He is and how small I am…and what a mystery it is that He would even desire a relationship with me. It also causes me to meditate on the possible reasons why…b/c I’m created in His image? b/c He created me for the very purpose of having a relationship? b/c
    GOD IS SHEER MERCY AND GRACE;
    not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
    He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
    nor hold grudges forever.
    …As parents feel for their children,
    God feels for those who fear him.

    Oh yes, this tendered and broken heart cries…”Bless God, oh my soul!!! Don’t forget a single blessing!!!”

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