When we get older we are prone to forgetfulness but Psalm 103 reminds us that all of us need to be reminded to give thanks to the Lord for His blessings. This generation in which we live has been described by some as “entitled” meaning that people see they are owed good things. We don’t see life as a gift. This country has an abundance of wealth and beauty and it is easy to think that we are entitled to it. Rather the Bible truth is that all good things which we have in life including material blessings are a gift from the Lord. James 1:17 says that every good gift is from Father in heaven. A true gift is not something which is earned nor are we entitled to it but it is graciously given to us by someone.
something which is earned nor are we entitled to it but it is graciously given to us by someone. We know that David who wrote this Psalm had failed God and disobeyed the Lord and in this Psalm he is reminding himself personally of the greatest benefit of all – forgiveness of sins. Praise in the Bible is an interesting thing because it arises out of who God is and not how we feel. Too many Christians are driven and or motivated by their feelings but true praise is first of all a recognition of how Good God is and how good He has been to us regardless of how we feel. Not only does God forgive our sin but He also blesses us with His love and compassion. This is such a beautiful gift because it means that we are loved and valuable. Despite our failures and despite the trials of life God is for us and loves us and showers our lives with good things. He has proved this by dying on the cross for our sin and offering us forgiveness. God provides all we need for salvation and godly living now. When we allow God to satisfy us with what we need (not necessarily what we want) then we find new strength and refreshment. Anxiety or discouragement or disappointments in life sap energy and weigh us down but our God meets our deepest need which is to be reconciled with God and have a loving relationship with Him. It is no wonder that David calls forth praise from the depths of his being. David’s faith is not shallow but recognizes that only God can satisfy our deepest longings. The New Testament takes up this idea of being satisfied by God in Philippians 4. Paul has been through many trials in his life which has included prison, beatings and shipwreck and being deserted by friends but he has learnt that contentment comes from Jesus (4:11-12). Paul understands that in a changing world the one person who is constant and dependable is Jesus Christ because He is with us and gives us courage to face the trials which come our way (4:13). Our world continually encourages us to be discontented with life thinking that we don’t have enough. We have to counter this lie and deception and cultivate a thankfulness and gratitude to God and look for contentment in Him alone. The trials which come our way as hard as they are teach us that only Jesus can satisfy our deepest longings. Contentment actually grows as we learn to praise God and trust Him in the midst of trials knowing that He will give us strength to face these trials and that our joy is Him alone!
Rev David O’Mara