Psalm 103: Forgetful soul


What do you forget?  To put the bins out?  Where you're going?  What day it is?

Me too.

And for most people it seems to come naturally to forget the good things and all God's gifts - none of which we did anything to deserve.  Especially when life is hard.  We're prone to forget God and how generous he's been to us.

David, who wrote this psalm, had the same problem.  And his strategy in these low moments... was to talk to himself!  David would start talking to his soul.

It's absolutely brilliant and I recommend it!

Check this out...
  
Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits –
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.


How much of this can you echo?  What are the ways in which God has been generous to you?  Given good gifts that you did nothing to deserve?  If you're struggling to think of them, maybe you need to start talking to your soul!  Grab pen and paper and make yourself remember.

David doesn't stop there either.  He remembers stories of God's faithfulness throughout history...

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:

It's good to remember how God has been generous to others and the amazing things he has done.  There's lots of this in the Bible's history but you can also probably think of stories from others you know of that have happened since then and stories of people today too.  If you're stuck, check out iamsecond.com for loads of videos of people today telling their stories of what God has done in their lives to turn them around. 

David reflects not just on what God has done but on WHO GOD IS.  His character...
 
the Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.

Someone once said we shouldn't just seek God's hand (of blessing) but we should firstly seek his face (God himself).  The Giver should be more important, more precious to us than the gifts.  More than that - the GIVER IS THE GIFT! 

David knows his struggles won't last forever...
 
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbour his anger for ever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.

David knows God is a gracious God.  God gives us what we don't deserve.  For Christians, this is an even bigger truth because we know God has not only given us life and breath and other good gifts from day-to-day - but through Jesus he's also given us forgiveness, a relationship with him, his Spirit in us, a hope and an eternal future in a world without sickness, suffering or death. 

David reminds himself (and us) about how God can deal with a person's sin...
 
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

For the person who trust and follows Jesus, their sin is permanently dealt with and God has nothing but love for them.  If this is you - you have PEACE with God.  If it's not yet - what are you waiting for?  Don't let anything stop you asking all your questions or talking to God about what you're thinking and feeling about Jesus, about your sin, about everything.  Don't harden your heart.  God is longing for you to turn to him in prayer.  He loves you and wants you to be part of his forever family...

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

David compares what it's like to be in God's forever family to what it would be like otherwise...
 
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children –
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

David knows all too well the difference it makes to know God personally.  Christians today know it too.  But sometimes, like David did, we need to remind ourselves.

Next David reminds himself that there's nothing above God and even reminds the angels to worship him, just in case they're tempted to forget!

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.

It's like a great crescendo as David reflects on his place in the universe and in God's great plan:
Come on angels - Praise God!
Come on all his people - Praise God!
Come on all of creation - Praise God!
And me too.  Come on my soul - Praise God!

Do you need to talk to yourself today?
And then praise God?!