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Psalm 103: When you count your blessings

Sidebar Richard Lauersdorf

Ever wonder what life would be like without the Lord? If sins kept piling up on our shoulders? If life’s problems were pushing our faces into the dirt? If death was the ultimate monster spooking us all our days? If hell was the certain destination of our final journey?

Thank God we know better. We have a gracious God who continues to shower his blessings on us every day. It’s only fitting that we stop with the psalmist to thank him.

He forgives all my sins

The psalmist starts his listing of God’s benefits with the words “who forgives all your sins” (v. 3). Can there be any greater blessing than to know God has hit the delete button on his heavenly computer and completely erased all your sins?

That forgiveness is 100 percent a gift from him. It required God to do the impossible: take on our flesh, take on our sin, take them to Calvary’s cross, and take them away forever. At the end of each day, we all can pray with confidence, “Jesus, Savior, wash away all that I’ve done wrong today” (Christian Worship 784:2). And when a past sin rattles like some skeleton in the closet of our conscience, we can hear the Lord say, “The blood of Jesus Christ, my Son, cleanses you from all sin—that one too.”

On the final day when we close our eyes for the last time, our confident prayer can be, “I fall asleep in Jesus’ wounds; there pardon for my sins abounds” (Christian Worship 1993 608:1). Yes, “praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (v. 2).

He heals all my diseases

It’s no coincidence that David turns to disease (v. 3) after his mention of sin. When sin entered the world, it left its cancerous touch not only on the whole creation but also especially on people, the crown of God’s creation. Ever since the fall, people have had to contend with sickness and sorrow, trouble and tribulation, and the crippling effects and decreasing strength of advancing age. When sickness lingers or never leaves, we need to remember that God heals not only by removing a problem but also by strengthening the shoulders to carry the load. Finally, he will remove our problems forever when we reach his home in heaven.

Jesus also “redeems [our] life from the pit” (v. 4). With the word pit, David refers to the grave. As we travel on our busy highways, work on the job, and are exposed to one infectious disease or another, who has preserved us from harm and danger? Who has sent his angels to watch over us? If only we could see how many times from sunrise to sunset and during the hours of the night his angels were busy redeeming our life from the pit, we’d know whom to praise.

He crowns me with love and compassion

When I was growing up in the late 1930s and early 1940s, times were tough. We seldom got cake. When we did, it was usually without frosting. But when it was our birthday, my mother would lay the frosting on good and thick. That’s what David says the Lord does for us each day. His fatherly love and compassion never grow thin or disappear. He lays his benefits on us—good and thick—each day. Remember this truth in every circumstance of life and praise him each day.

“Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name” (v. 1).

Other psalms for when you draw nearer to the end: Psalms 65, 66, 146, and 148.

This is the final article in a six-part series about the psalms’ guidance for our daily lives. Read the psalms with FIC in a six-month Bible reading series.

Author: Richard Lauersdorf
Volume 110, Number 06
Issue: June 2023

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This entry is part 1 of 62 in the series bible-study

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