Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 103; 150, Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (10-15), Ephesians 4:1-16, John 1:1-18
We all need reassurance sometimes. On days when we seek to be comforted, there aren’t many resources better than Psalm 103. The psalmist blesses the Lord for all the goodness that is part of the Lord’s nature. When we trust in the Lord, this goodness showers down upon us in countless ways. Today, let’s enjoy some reassurance courtesy of Psalm 103.
Our God forgives, heals, and redeems (vv 3-4). So many messages seem to say God’s default attitude toward us is one of damnation until we choose to be saved, as if God locked a door between us and wishes us luck finding the key in the person of Jesus. The Lord’s desire is that we all be saved. God puts no barriers in our way; we may do that ourselves, but God provides the tools to tear them down.
The Lord works justice for the oppressed (vv 6-7). Hope in an eternal afterlife may be comforting, but it does little to relieve suffering in the here and now. God is also concerned with justice on the earth, particularly for those who are marginalized and exploited. When that process seems excruciatingly slow, it’s not because God doesn’t care.
The Lord’s compassion is far greater than humankind can understand (vv 8-14). We are incapable of conceiving emotions and attitudes beyond human ones. We fear the limits of God’s love and compassion do not exceed our own. Yet the psalmist assures us that God, understanding we are frail and temporary as dust, forgives us based not on our merits but on his mercy – mercy like but greater than that of a parent for a child. The only thing we need to fear is the Lord, and that fear ultimately offers a peace beyond understanding.
The Lord is steadfast (vv 15-18). Unlike mortals, who flourish and perish like flowers, God’s love, mercy, and affections are not subject to whims, and don’t sway back and forth like grass in the wind.
The Lord loves us, wants what is best for us, and is there for us to reach out to … always and all ways.
Comfort: Take comfort in God’s love for you.
Challenge: For the next week, when you stress or fear turn to Psalm 103.
Prayer: Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Discussion: Where do you go – a place, an activity, a person – to find comfort?
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