“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits – who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:2-5)
I have just begun a 40 day study of Unbinding the Gospel with the leaders of the other four churches that will be participating in congregation-wide studies of Unbinding Your Heart this coming fall. This is the same 40 day study of Unbinding the Gospel we will begin on February 25th during Lent.
Part of the daily discipline for any of the “Unbinding” studies is prayerfully reading selected scripture. You are instructed to read through the verses several times, waiting for certain words or verses to rise to the surface. The text for the first day of Unbinding the Gospel is Psalm 103 – a Psalm I had read before, but perhaps had never fully appreciated. The verses above were the ones which spoke most powerfully to me.
The Psalmist begins by reminding the reader of all the benefits God provides those who love and serve him. As I read down through the list – the words jumped off the page. Forgiveness – I need that. Healing – I need that, too. Redemption – ditto. Crowning with love and mercy – it’s getting even better. Satisfaction! Really? Wow. And perhaps the most amazing – the end result of it all, “the renewal of youth,” like that of an eagle. Go back and read the verses for yourself. This is what God does for those who seek to be faithful. He:
What does a person have to do to receive these benefits? There are not as many hoops to jump through as some might like you to believe. God understands exactly how mortal and prone to mistakes we are: “For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust.” (vs. 14)
So, it seems to me God has promised to do all the heavy lifting. None of the things listed above are things you can do for yourself. They are gracious gifts of a loving Creator. However, in order to receive them you must be humble enough to turn in repentance and faith to the Source. You must understand that no amount of hard work or good behavior is going to get you there. Even your very best is tainted. But for those who “fear the Lord” (which is Old Testament-speak for love, trust and respect), God is ready and willing to bestow not just the basics (forgiveness and healing), but even things that would seem completely out of our reach (satisfaction and renewal of youth).
Do you believe God can do that for you? Do you believe God can do that for our church? BELIEVE! And then let God take it from there.