Thursday, February 17, 2011

God, Goodness, and Psalm 103 - Part 1

I've been reading Psalm 103 often these days. It's kind of like the path I keep going back to when I feel lost. The path that leads me back to truth and realigns life so I am not so lost.

It's easy to get lost. It's easy to hear the words of the world around us, to feel the barb of circumstances, and then to forget what the truth is. The lostness seems to come when I begin to give in to the questions. Is God really good? I've been reminded in a book I am reading that this is the same question that Satan asked of Eve in the beginning. If he isn't giving you what you desire, is God really good? I don't want to fall to the same sin of my flesh's mother, so when I get lost in the question and it's sister question "Can you really trust God?" I find my way to the path of Psalm 103.

In the beginning of the Psalm there are directions. Directions that if I follow will start to clear away the clouds and point me in the right direction.
I particularly like the wording of the NLT:

"Praise the LORD, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. " Psalm 103:1-2

Sometimes to find the path, I have to tell myself to praise God. I have to praise him with my whole heart. I need to stop and count the good things he does. They are there. Even in the darkest of times, they are there. So, I stop. I notice. I count. The Psalmist started to count:
"who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." Psalm 103:3-5

God forgives my sins. He gives mercy and grace.
He heals my diseases. My soul diseases, like leprosy of the heart, blindness of the soul, and lameness of the body. He heals my sin sick being.
He redeems my life. I was in a pit like the wearer of the multi-colored robe. I was left to die. But He paid for me. He lifted me up.
He crowned me with love and compassion. He saved me for His glory, but I wasn't just a notch on his belt or a conquest; He called me beloved.
He gives generously. He satisfies my desires.

Yes. That's true. Do I desire to be loved? Do I desire to belong? Do I desire to be free? Do I desire to know? Do I desire peace? Do I desire purpose? To all of these He's given abundantly. Like all the trees in the garden, he's produced an abundance for me to taste and enjoy. Who am I to pout and say, "But I want....(the thing He hasn't given)? Who am I to question? Praise and count. It's the first steps on the path back to truth.

"The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:6-12

God reveals himself to His children. What do we find when He shows us who He is through his deeds? When my heart is wounded, I want to point to my bruises and my scratches. I want to focus on how He didn't come through. But then I'd also have to be honest. What do I mean He didn't come through? Isn't it really that He didn't do things the way I thought they should be done? Why does this blind me from all the good He does? Like the children of Isael I need to remember. I need to count the mana, the water from the rock, and sandals that don't wear out. And when I count, what do I find? Yes, the Lord is full of compassion, grace, patience and love. He doesn't treat me as I deserve. He doesn't pay me what I have earned. His love is measureless when we fear Him. We are forgiven by what He does. And when I count, I return to the right path.

What brings you back to the right path today?

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