Psalms 103:6-18 - Homiletics
The confidence of God's children.
These strong, sustaining words call us to consider—
I. TO WHOM THE DIVINE ASSURANCES ARE GIVEN . It is clear that they are given to the servants of God. The thought runs through the whole passage (see Psalms 103:11 , Psalms 103:13 , Psalms 103:18 ). Where this is not explicitly stated, it is to be understood (see particularly Psalms 103:12 ). Those may not claim the fulfilment of promises to whom they were not made. First enter the service of Christ, and then look up for all the blessings assured to those who believe in him.
II. THESE DIVINE ASSURANCES THEMSELVES .
1 . The overthrow of evil, and the consequent deliverance of the good ( Psalms 103:6 ). God "executes righteousness and judgment" in two ways—sometimes by a Divine intervention, when he overturns the designs of the wicked, and at the same time redeems his people ( e.g. the Jews from Pharaoh and from Haman and from Sanballat); more often by the constant outworking of those righteous laws which are always acting on behalf of rectitude against iniquity (see Psalms 34:15 , Psalms 34:16 ).
2 . Divine patience. ( Psalms 103:2 .) God is "slow to anger." It was said of a noble modern ruler that, under great provocation, he was "slow to smite, and swift to spare." Of how many might the opposite be said? Our God is "slow to anger." His displeasure is awakened, his condemnation uttered, only when it would be unrighteousness to remain unmoved and silent.
3 . Divine mercy. ( Psalms 103:10-12 .) Instead of inflicting pain, poverty, misery, death—the wages of sin—God has
4 . Divine pity. ( Psalms 103:13 .) Nothing can exceed the pity of the parent for his or her child when in pain or trouble. Then the very tenderest and strongest as well as the purest emotions of the human heart are stirred. "As one whom his mother comforteth"—with such perfect sympathy, such exquisite tenderness—does God comfort us ( Isaiah 66:13 ). God's pity for his children is felt
5 . Divine considerateness. ( Psalms 103:14 .) Christian service is imperfect; our character is blemished, and our work is faulty; but it is sincere; it is rooted in faith; it is animated by love; it is purified by prayer. And he who accepted the service of his apostles in the garden, "knowing their frame" and the weakness of the flesh ( Matthew 26:41 ); he who has owned and blessed the spiritual endeavour and the earnest labours of his people in every age and in every Church since then;—will accept our service and crown our labours now, though in the one and in the other we fall far short even of our own ideal. Well, indeed, would it be if we made as generous allowance for one another as our Master makes for us all.
6 . Divine continuance. ( Psalms 103:15-17 .) With the brevity of all human things we contrast the continuance of the Divine. We ourselves pass away and are forgotten, but God's mercy and his righteousness remain forever. We can always count on them. Men may be very true and very kind, but they pass to where they cannot reach and help us. Let us commit ourselves to the goodness and the faithfulness of God, for on that we may build with absolute security. This is the true confidence of the children of God. But we are reminded in one verse (7) of—
III. THE ONLY HOPE OF THE DISLOYAL . God revealed himself, "his ways, and his acts," to Moses, but grace and truth have come by Jesus Christ ( John 1:17 ). In the gospel God has revealed himself as the Divine Father, who waits to receive his wayward but penitent children. Those that are obdurate and impenitent may not plead his promises, may not appropriate to themselves the sustaining assurance which apply to other persons. But they may—they must— return in humility and in faith to the Father whom they have forsaken; and, once at home with him, they may rest in his loving favour and rejoice in his upholding Word.
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