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As we prepare for Easter and take time to remember the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus that gives us hope in this life and the one to come, we need to take time to truly be thankful.
The reason why I say that, is because it has become so easy these days for us as Christians to complain about things around us instead of giving thanks.
Our tendency is to complain because of our selfishness and sin.
When we take our eyes off of the Lord and begin to think about all the negative stuff happening in the world or in our lives complaining and being negative starts to pile up.
Gratitude is a wonderful weapon against our complaining attitudes.
In fact, the more time we spend counting our blessings, the less time we will have to think about all of our complaints.
(Sign that hangs in our house.
“What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”
What would we have?)
When we begin to complain about the things in our life or the things that are happening in our world we can have a distorted view or a faulty view of what is really going on.
Here is what I mean by that.
Because we are God’s children and the Lord has truly changed our lives we really don’t have anything too grumble or complain about!
Because God has stepped in and intervened, showing us His generous blessings and amazing grace.
God’s grace brings into our lives blessings that are too many to number.
No matter what difficulties that you may be facing today, you need to know that they are outweighed by the huge storehouse of blessings that are available to us in Christ Jesus.
What might those be you ask? Well let’s run to Psalm 103 this morning to look at just a few.
Here is the question that I want to challenge you with this morning.
Why should we take time to be thankful?
Take time to be thankful:
Because of God’s wonderful benefits.
These earthly gifts can include many things such as forgiveness of sins, recovery from sickness, deliverance from death, abundant love and mercy, and food to sustain us in this life.
When God does choose to heal people from diseases or sickness this is a wonderful thing, and even considered a miracle.
But, there is something we need to keep in mind.
God’s healing is not always promised and does not always happen.
Even when we as believers earnestly seek the Lord in prayer and fasting God does not always choose to heal.
This is what happened to King David as he prayed and fasted for God to spare his son.
(2 Samuel 12:16)
In verse 2 we see the purpose of praise.
We see why we need to take time to be thankful.
We remember God’s past acts and all of the things that He has done for us.
“Do not forget all His benefits!!!!” When we fail to give praise to the Lord our God and begin to grumble and complain, what we are doing is forgetting the Lord’s gracious benefits.
Bless the Lord here actually carries the sense of declaring God to be the source of blessing, and so a better translation is to praise or worship the Lord.
I think this is super helpful because this is exactly what we are doing today corporately as the body of Christ.
Today we come and worship God by giving Him our praise and honor.
In Scripture the Israelites sang a song of praise to God when he helped them cross the Red Sea and delivered them from the pursuing Egyptians.
Let me ask you this morning, do you stop to see God and notice the things he is doing in your life?
Have you taken time lately just to praise Him?
The character of God is described here by a series of 5 relative clauses in verses 3-5.
Here are some more reasons that we can be thankful and praise God.
1. God is one who forgives.
The Lord is the one who forgives all of our sins.
I want you to stop and notice that the author here explains to us that God forgives all of our sins.
How many times have we forgotten this?
We hold onto certain things in our past that have been really bad or messed up and have wondered can God really forgive me of this one thing?
Yes, He can, if you will run to him and confess that, he will forgive ALL of your sin.
Not just some or a little bit, or the small things, but even the worst of it.
2. God is one who heals.
God is the only one who can heal us of diseases and sicknesses in our world.
This could be physical illnesses, weaknesses, pain, famine, and disease.
The word diseases here is a related term for illness or weakness.
Because we are born into a broken creation, we are frail and finite people.
We are sinful, broken people who fall short every day of God’s will.
Because of this our bodies are subject to disease and pain, knowing that at any time death could come.
I know that may sound morbid but it is reality.
But the important thing I want us to see here church is that God gives us a wonderful promise here.
The promise is that God can forgive all of our sins and heal all diseases.
We have seen this throughout Scripture with Elijah and the widow’s son to Jairus’s daughter, to blind Bartimaeus, and even Lazarus.
3. God is one who redeems.
The word redeem here is also anther important word but often misunderstood.
This refers to an act of a family member who fulfills a family obligation to a relative in need.
The type of obligation fulfilled would have changed based on the need.
This could be a property issue, a vengeance issue, a kinsman redeemer issue and so on.
But here in this particular verse the description of the Lord is the one who redeems our life from the pit.
What this shows us is that God is able to save one’s life, no matter what the threat or crisis may be.
4. God is one who crowns us with His love and mercy.
God crowns us with good things.
The word crown here points to royalty.
In other words, the royal like responsibilities that the Lord gives to us as human beings.
God shows us his steadfast love and His new mercies every day.
Here is how Peter explains this to us in the New Testament.
5. God is the one who truly satisfies us.
Do you believe that?
The Psalmist helps us to see here that the Lord’s blessings pile up so much that the psalmist is full.
There is nothing else that they are hungry for.
God does not gives us everything we want or desire, however He alone completely satisfies us.
God knows just what we need for this life.
A bonus benefit in Verse 6. God works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
This verse shows us that the Lord will accomplish his vindication and justice for those who are oppressed.
It may not feel that way or seem that way in the here and now but someday the Lord will return and take care of the wrongs and injustices of this world.
These 2 verses are a short bridging text.
We see here that the Lord is merciful, gracious and slow to anger, but abounding in hesed (the steadfast love of God).
God’s steadfast love shows us about his character and the way He chooses to act toward us.
The psalmist here is drawing on their own personal experiences and confession and Israel’s experiences and confession.
Take time to be thankful.
2. God doesn’t handle us harshly.
In verse 10 we see several important words that we need to take notice of and that is the words with us and our.
In verse 12 we see this again with our transgressions from us.
In verse 14 he knows our frame and that we are dust.
So this section here is speaking about the people as a nation.
In verses 9-10 we see 2 primary things about what God will not do.
1. God doesn’t keep His anger.
One of the things that we know and understand about God’s people is that their sin was for real, because both judgement and the sentence from God were just, but the time for mercy either had come or was coming.
Many scholars believe that this is referring to Israel returning from exile.
Over and over again throughout the Old Testament God’s people would wonder away from him.
We see that sin and then forgiveness was a part of their long history.
So, my point is this.
God’s anger and punishment are for a moment or a short season, but his favor is for a lifetime.
2. God doesn’t repay us.
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