Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesday's with Jesus #92

#92 "All His Benefits"
April 17, 2007
"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits--" (Psalm 103: 1-2) Passage Lookup: Psalm 103
I've heard some people say that you can't know God. I've heard it said that we can only obey Him, but never really know Him. To refute this idea, you only have to spend some time reading Psalm 103 in God's precious Word. In this psalm written by David, God pulls the curtain back and allows us to see His glory. Are you having trouble seeing God today? Do you feel like you've been seeking but not finding? Well, I invite you to pull up a seat, get comfy and spend some time with me as God pulls the curtain back for you...yes, you! We're going to take this slow, so that you can drink in the riches of what God, by His Spirit and His Word is saying to you today about Himself. It will be life changing, my friend..I promise you that it will. 
I'd like to camp out here for a few weeks, if that's okay with you. The nourishment in these words is too awesome to eat quickly. We need to savor each line, each precept, each revelation, like we would a fine meal. We'll take a look at small bites each week until we're finished, full and completely satisfied that we can know God, that He is awesome and that His revelations about Himself can affect every fiber of our being and every moment of our lives. So pull up your chair, put your napkin on your lap and let's begin....
One of my commentaries says this about Psalm 103. "This hymn of praise is without a peer in all the world's literature." (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary) David is stirring himself up and talking to his own soul. He is exciting his soul to praise God. Don't you know that sometimes in this world of troubles and problems and struggles that we have to talk ourselves into focusing on and praising God? We must purposefully fix our eyes on Jesus, not on the circumstances around us. There is no sorrow, complaining or sadness in the psalmists words. He is deliberately telling himself to praise God. The King James Version says, "Bless the Lord, O my soul..." The Hebrew meaning to "bless" is to kneel, and to adore. To paraphrase, David is saying, "Listen to me soul...get on your knees and bless the Lord, praise Him. Stop thinking about your issues and your problems. Praise God!"
David tells himself to praise with all of his entire being. This is not just lip service here. It is praise with the whole heart. Your soul is that which breathes within you. It is your inner being and the seat of your appetites, emotions and passions. All of your faculties and powers should be used to magnify God for His blessings and mercies to you. The Message translation of the Bible says to bless the Lord "from head to toe". Bless Him with all that is within you. And what are you to bless and praise? "His Holy Name."
The King James Dictionary says this about God's name: "In Scripture, the name of God signifies his titles, his attributes, his will or purpose, his honor and glory, his word, his grace, his wisdom, power and goodness, his worship or service, or God himself."  God's name is His reputation, His fame and His glory. It is all that He is. He is unfailingly loving. He is merciful. He is compassionate. He is gracious. He is unwaveringly forgiving. He is abundantly patient and long suffering with us. He is great. He is glorious. He is excellent. He is wise. And that's only the beginning. I'm getting excited here and I don't want to get ahead of myself. We'll cover all those attributes of God's name in the coming weeks. But, I hope that you get the idea of what it means to praise His Holy Name. The picture that you need to capture is ALL of you, praising and blessing ALL of God.
We always want to praise God for who He is. That's first and foremost because He is worthy to be praised simply because He is! He is God. But in this passage we see that it is okay to also praise Him for "all His benefits". We are exhorted by David to "forget not all His benefits". To forget is to ignore or cease to care. On the positive side we are encouraged to call all of God's blessings and benefits to our recollection. We are to record them as an everlasting memorial to His goodness to us. It's counting your blessings. It's thanking God for all that He has done for you. Your praise is certainly warranted in view of the Lord's many benefits to you. The Hebrew meaning of "benefits" are the dealings of God's hand to you. His recompense and His reward to you. 
We know that "every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1: 17) You have nothing...no thing...that hasn't been given to you from God's hand. He is the source of everything that you have. It's not your spouse, it's not your job, it's not your friends, it's not your church. It's not even your good works. Everything that you have finds it's source in the mighty and gracious hand of God. So, praise Him and thank Him for them.
These first two verses of Psalm 103 are already so rich with truth. We've talked about praising and thanking God with our whole beings. We've been encouraged to not be subdued in worshiping our God. We are to "enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name". (Psalm 100: 4) Do you want entry into the King's inner courts? Go through the gates with thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is your entry ticket through the gates. Don't stay on the outside, looking in. Then let praise take you all of the way into the King's inner courts. Into the Holy of Holies.  Into the place of the mercy seat. The place where you find "mercy and grace to help [you] in time of need." (Hebrews 4: 16)
As for those benefits...we'll start looking at those next Tuesday.
Until next week, 
Donna Schultz                                                                             

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