Over the past few Lessons From the Psalms, Over the past few Lessons From the Psalms, we have seen that the book, subdivided into five parts, was thought to parallel the five books of Moses, with the theme of the first book, comprised ofPsalms 1-41, focussing on man and his relationship with God; the second book, comprised ofPsalms 42-72, focussing on God’s deliverance; and the third book, comprised ofPsalms 73-89, focussing on God’s holiness and the necessity of coming into His presence with appropriate reverential fear.
The fourth book of the Psalms is comprised of 17 Psalms,90-106. David only wrote three of these Psalms,101-103. Moses is thought to have written some of them, but most are “author unknown”. This fourth book is felt to parallel the book of Numbers, with its theme being wilderness wanderings, and the ups and down of life. It speaks of coping with loss, and it is felt that Israel’s exile in Babylon highly influenced its compilation. The entire book reminds us that God will restore everything the devil has stolen (SeeJoel 2:25,Jer. 20:17,Is. 61:7,2 Cor. 5:17, etc.).
In this series, some of the Psalms of this fourth book have already been showcased.Part 1, based onPsalm 104, speaks of God using our troubled times so that His strength can be perfected in our weakness. InPart 3, based onPsalms 92,94 we saw that no matter how much we are under attack, God is our only hope of joy. Finally, fromPart 6, based onPsalm 100, we understand that the best thing for us to do in the midst of our difficulties is to go to God with nothing but praise and thanksgiving on our agenda.
Another key example of this theme can be found inPsalm 103, a Psalm of David. Today’s devotional has been adapted and republished with permission from a devotional written by author and speaker, Janet P. Eckles entitled, “Hey, that’s my bag; where are you going with it?” Enjoy and be blessed:
Where’s my bag?
If you’re like me, while traveling, your mind wonders with possibilities. Unable to see, I sometimes think about someone walking away with my bag or me grabbing someone else’s suitcase. Despite those thoughts flashing through at times, I still travel with no worries.
But, on one trip, that very thing happened. The plane landed, and armed with patience and chatting our time away, my friend and I sat in our seats waiting for other passengers to disembark. Suddenly, my friend calls out, “That’s my bag!”
Someone had slipped her bag from the overhead compartment and was pulling it away down the aisle.
Good thing she noticed. In addition to her laptop, she had stored valuable material she worked hours to create.
Sad, isn’t it? When we least expect it, we can risk losing something critical, something that belongs to us, something we hold dear, valuable and essential. But in the airport of life, the truly crucial possessions of the soul that no one can take away are outlined in Psalm 103. Let’s look:
No one can rob our self-assurance because we always remember all God’s benefits:
“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…” (Vs. 1-3 NIV)
No one can rob our hope because He:
“…redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,” (Vs. 4 NIV)
Nothing can snatch our expectation for good things because He:
“…satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Vs. 5 NLT)
No one can steal our strength when facing attacks because:
“The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.” (Vs. 6 NIV)
When feeling guilty or condemned, nothing can rob His love because:
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Vs. 8 NIV)
Reassurance for mercy belongs to us because He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever.
“He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever…” (Vs. 9 NIV)
His comfort is ours because:
“…he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him…” (Vs. 10-11 NIV)
Freedom from unforgiveness has our name written on it because:
“…as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him…” (Vs. 12-13 NIV)
“…he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children–
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.” (Vs. 14-18 NIV)
How’s that for good news? When traveling through life, have you marked all those attributes with your name? They belong to us; God meant for us to engrave them in the label of our heart. And if the enemy is trying to sneak them down the aisle of your life, claimPsalm 103 with all you got!
Let’s pray: Father, thank you for your many promises. Thank you that we can use them to defeat the enemy. Thank you for being completely trustworthy, and full of mercy. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Janet P. Eckles
(To access the entire “Lessons From the Psalms” mini-series, please click here.)