I have a problem and it's life-threatening. My problem is I forget things. I've forgotten my son's name when I baptised him, I have forgotten another's date of birth; thankfully I haven’t forgotten my wedding anniversary this week! But none of those things are life-threatening.
The life-threatening forgetfulness is forgetting what God has done for me and what he is like. I get consumed by my problems, distracted by my newsfeed and defeated by my failings; and so I forget about God's goodness to me personally. Left untreated it can grow as a cancer of graceless christianity and alienation from the goodness of God.Maybe you have that too? You know the facts, theology and bible verses but your heart has forgotten a love you once felt and you’ve lost the Jesus mojo you once had.
If that’s you, fear not! You are not alone!
In Psalm 103, David is experiencing forgetfulness. He writes in verse 2...
My soul, praise the LORD,
and do not forget all His benefits.
So David writes Psalm 103 as a song to his soul to remind himself of the goodness of His God.
Songs are a brilliant way to remember the truth about God and this one is a real ‘earworm’ - you know, the kind of song that gets into your head and that you can’t shift.
Psalm 103 is a song given to forgetful people who so easily forget God’s goodness. It’s a sinner’s anthem designed to get the grace of God into our heads and transport us into the presence of the God who saved us, loved us and deserves all our praise.
In verses 3-5 David urges his soul to remember the rescue God has given him. His song contains three bleak images to describe what he has been rescued from - from sin, from disease, from the pit. This is the King who committed adultery with Bathsheba, got her pregnant, killed her husband and covered the whole thing up in a web of lies and deceit!
Against this blackness David sings of what he is rescued to. Crowned with faithful love, satisfied with goodness, renewed like an eagle. Just look at those verbs! David has avoided the pit and he’s soaring like an eagle. This is a rescue to remember!
In verses 6-16, David sings to remember what God is like. Two key hebrew words are bass beat of this section - hesed which means steadfast love and rachum which means compassion. This psalm doesn’t want to spot these words, but experience these words.
Verse 7 gets us to experience God rescuing his people out of slavery in Egypt in Exodus. Verses 11 and 12 gets us to experience God's love and forgiveness by looking down at the ground then up at the sky and by travelling from the East to the West! Verse 13-15 gets us to experience Gods compassion by comparing ourselves with him.
This is a God worthy of this song! This is a song essential for our souls. This is a song we must sing to cure our forgetfulness.