Monday, August 29, 2022

Everlasting Mercy (Psalm 103)

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits" (Ps. 103:2).

Many interpreters agree that David wrote Psalm 103 when God forgave him for his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah. Oftentimes, the greatest expressions of thanksgiving come on the heels of some great sin. Psalm 103 serves as a testimony to such gratitude on the part of a man who understood his sinfulness, yet drank deeply from the fountain of divine mercy.

God freely gives us His grace—it depends not on our merit. He pardons us for our sins, heals us of our spiritual diseases, and removes our transgressions as far as the east is from the west. “It is not without causes that he begins with God’s pardoning mercy, for reconciliation with Him is the fountain from which all other blessings flow,” Calvin wrote. “The first then of all the blessings of which we have the true and substantial enjoyment, is that which consists in God’s freely pardoning and blotting out our sins, and receiving us into His favor.”

When we consider, as the psalmist did, our sad estate before God shined His light of mercy into our dark souls, we lift our voices in even greater praise to Him. God redeems His people from the pit, from a life of sorrow and hopelessness. “The considerations that the mercy of God delivers us from death and destruction ought, therefore, to lead us to prize it the more highly,” Calvin wrote. “If the resurrection of the soul from the grave is the first step of spiritual life, what room for self-glorification is left to man?” To praise God rightly for His mercy means to have a correct view of yourself. It takes a posture of humility to thank God for His abundant mercy. The prideful man will not admit that he needs such mercy; the poor in spirit, however, those who know their utter sinfulness, cannot thank God enough for His infinite mercies. David knew that he had earned God’s anger by sinning, but God pacified His own wrath and forgave David for his sins. “Let each of us examine his own life; let us inquire in how many ways we have provoked the wrath of God,” Calvin said. “Do we continually provoke it? And yet, He not only forbears to punish us, but bountifully maintains those whom He might justly destroy.… God’s mercy towards us is infinite.” Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Read Luke 6:36. Consider how much mercy God has shown you in your life. In light of His mercy, do you have any excuse not to show others the same mercy? Is there someone you need to forgive? Tell that person you forgive them and that you will forget what they have done.