God’s Steadfast Love

KEY VERSE: “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.” —Psalm 103:8

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Psalm 103:1-12; Ephesians 1:5-10

MANY of the psalms that David wrote were prophetic, and we believe that this psalm is one of them. The first two verses reflect the attitude of heart and mind of all who have come to know something of God and his loving and merciful provisions for his human creation. The first verse reads, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” The thought seems to be that the realization of the Lord’s mercy and goodness should elicit full and unreserved praise from the recipient. And in the second verse we are reminded that we should always keep in mind the specific benefits that he extends toward us. In the succeeding verses the psalmist enumerates and elaborates on these benefits.

In verse three we read, “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.” Jesus spoke of the great love of God in providing the means for the forgiveness of our sins when he said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16,17) Jesus, in a very interesting way, related illness and physical deformity of any kind with man’s fallen condition. We read in Matthew 9:1-8 the account of Jesus healing a man with the palsy, and before healing him he said, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” The scribes were offended and thought that Jesus had blasphemed because they knew, according to the Law, that only God could forgive sins. But Jesus said, “Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thine house.” The power that Jesus used in this and the other miracles was God’s power. The purpose of the miracles was to illustrate the power of God that would be available in the kingdom through Jesus the mediator, not only to forgive sins but to heal all the diseases of the human race which are now evidences of their fallen, sinful condition.

In Psalm 103:4, a more far-reaching and sobering thought is brought to our attention. The verse reads, “Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving kindness.” When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, he was sentenced to destruction. We read in Genesis 2:17, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” And in Genesis 3:19 we read, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” There was no hope given in these words for a future life, or that in some way his life would be carried on and he would not really die. The sentence was to everlasting destruction. This was the inheritance of all Adam’s offspring—the human race. (See Ecclesiastes 3:19-21; 9:5,10.) As suggested in the psalm, it was God’s love that provided the means of lifting this sentence of destruction from the human race, by giving, at great cost to himself, his only begotten son—Jesus—to be a ransom for Adam and all his children.

Then, because of this great gift, the Lord in his providence designed that he would take out from the world a little flock of faithful footstep-followers of Jesus to be associated with him in bringing blessings to all the families of the earth in the kingdom. The Apostle John expresses the great privilege that belongs to those called out ones, “How great is the love that the Father has shown to us! We were called God’s children, and such we are, and the reason why the godless world does not recognize us is that it has not known him. Here and now … we are God’s children; what we shall be has not yet been disclosed, but we know that when it is disclosed we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:1,2, NEB) So, as suggested by the psalm, these have been crowned with loving-kindness and mercies.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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