Monday, February 10, 2020

2020.02.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 103

Read Psalm 103
Questions from the Scripture text: What or whom is the Psalmist commanding to bless the Lord (Psalm 103:1)? With how much of what is within him is he to obey this command? How many times does he give himself this command (Psalm 103:2a)? What is he not to forget (verse 2b)? What is the first benefit not to forgive (Psalm 103:3a)? What is the second (verse 3b)? The third (Psalm 103:4a)? The fourth (verse 4b)? What is one of the tender mercies of God (Psalm 103:5a)? What effect does it have (verse 5b)? What does the Lord do for the oppressed (Psalm 103:6)? What has He done for His people (Psalm 103:7)? What four aspects of His character does He highlight in Psalm 103:8? Of what does this make the Psalmist confident, with respect to the Lord’s anger (Psalm 103:9)? With respect to our sins and punishment (Psalm 103:10)? What point is Psalm 103:11 making about the greatness of God’s mercy? What point is Psalm 103:12 making about the completeness of His forgiveness? How does the Lord pity those who fear Him (Psalm 103:13)? What does He remember about us (Psalm 103:14)? What is the length and effect of a man’s life like (Psalm 103:15-16)? What two things in Psalm 103:17 have exactly the opposite length and effect? What are three characteristics of those who are recipients of this mercy and righteousness (Psalm 103:17-18)? Where is the Lord’s throne (Psalm 103:19), and how does this relate to man’s composition (cf. Psalm 103:14)? Upon whom does Psalm 103:20 call to praise Him? What does Psalm 103:21 call them? What do they have in common with the people from Psalm 103:17-18? Upon whom does Psalm 103:22 (a-b) call to praise Him? Upon whom does the last line of the psalm call to praise Him? 
What is it to love the Lord our God? It is to give all of every aspect of our being to Him, as detailed in His commandments (Deuteronomy 6:4-5; cf. Jesus’s authoritative interpretation in Mark 12:29-30 and Matthew 22:37-40).

Now, there is a special way in which we are to love the Lord our God. And that is by worshiping Him according to His commandments. This is what He says in the second commandment, when He refers to those who reject manmade worship and instead fear Him and keep His commandments as “those who love Me.”

So, by the Lord’s own definitions, when we are preaching to our own souls, with Psalm 103:1, “Bless Yahweh’s holy name with all that is in you!”—what we are saying is, in effect, “O, my soul, LOVE Yahweh as He defines loving Him!!”

So, it is not surprising to us that Psalm 103 focuses so much on His mercy and forgiveness and redemption. We love Him because He loved us (1 John 4:19), and in this is love, that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10) and that He laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16).

So Psalm 103 strikes this note repeatedly and richly, even turning to the angels and living creatures and elders of Revelation 5:9-12 as they join the chorus and praise God for His redemption of sinful men.

This is the great subject of the praise of all Yahweh’s works in all places of His dominion: that He has redeemed sinners. And therefore, if I am one whose iniquities have all been forgiven (Psalm 103:2-3), this is the great charge unto my soul: “Bless Yahweh, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!!”
What special act of love does the Lord want from you? What should you put into it?
Suggested songs: ARP103B “Bless the Lord, My Soul” or TPH103E “O Come, My Soul”

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