For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. Rom. 5,6



Psalm 103:1-6

   1 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle. 6 The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed."

   David, the king in Jerusalem, was probably beyond anybody a role model for Messiah in The Old Testament. He lived with God as a child, he lived with God as the Sheppard in the wilderness, as the warrior who went out towards Gods peoples enemy, Goliath, as Saul's commander and last as the king in Jerusalem, and when he testifies about the Lord that he has lived with, he brings up the best that he can think of.

   His relationship and his experience of the Lord, after the years he has wandered with Him, is best shown in his out burst in the psalm: "Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name." (v.1). "All that is within me!" Then there is nothing left to give anything else any praise. David, like the rest of us, probably appreciated a lot of things in this life, but when he saw them next to the Lord, it vanished away, like the dew before the sun. Then, the Lord was left standing alone.

   This was what they back in the old days, called piety. It is today a very old fashion word, which is compared to utter Christianity, and therefore not tasteful. But it describes in reality a "condition," which can't really be fully described with any other word. Today we probably would say: Spirituality. But it doesn't cover it in the same degree, even though what we are trying to describe is in the highest degree exactly spirituality.
   To locate this, let us say. Do you want to know what piety is, read for example the first six verses in Psalm 103.

   It is actually not - as one usually think of it today - a condition a human being achieves himself to, by being especially god-fearing and religious, in other words a development guided by the law, and under the whip of the law, but a condition which is caused by, that the Lord reveale Himself for a human being.

   When it comes to the first and most general understanding of what piety is, Luther among other things says something like this: "You shall know that it is a difference in being pious and being a Christian."

   But you can also say that this is about our apprehension of what piety is. - There is a difference, because you are a Christian solely for Jesus sake, because of what is in Him, and the value of His vicarious deed, and that God has hidden you in it, while piety is a fruit from this.

   You can see this fruit here in David's worship. And those who has tasted the least of God's goodness, he will also taste this fruit, by what he reads here: "It is good to give thanks to the LORD And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High." (Ps. 92:1). "It is good!" the psalmist says. Yes, to see the Lord so that you have to break forth into worship, that is truly good.

   Not like we so often see today, that by a song and rhythms achieves some sort of atmosphere, and then breaks out in worship in some kind of trance condition. That reminds more of the heathens religions, but when the Lord Himself gives an expression of Himself in your heart, and you because of that wants to worship and praise Him. Yes, then it is good to worship the Lord!

   Why so little worship among us? An absolute possible and reasonable cause for this is probably this, that we look at our deed for the Lord more than His deed for us. And then we keep on going under the bondage of the law, believing that that is Christianity and communion with God. You always have your eyes fixed on a uncompleted deed, that is your own, and does not get your eyes opened for the completed deed, that is God's. The moment you get your eyes fixed on the complete deed - yes, then it is impossible that not also the worship should break out in you. Then you see yourself seated on a rock, which cannot be moved - you look back, and Jesus blood covers it all - you look forward, and Jesus blood covers it all. - In other words: You only see Jesus. He is the Way (John 14:6), the completed! Which means that when you see yourself in Him, you see yourself already at the destination. The goal you wander towards here on earth, is in Him already achieved, how mysterious it may seem. Therefore it is spoken of only one thing above all with the believer, to be preserved in the faith. When you are about to yield just a iota to the right or to the left for this road, you are no longer considered as a believer, but in bondage of the law. A believer is someone who has his everything in Jesus! "My salvation I do not know, without you the Lamb of God."

   That it is so sharp this division - no, many do not like this. One cannot take this so serious! God is after all good! He probably wants to bear over with us! We are not meant to be fanatics either! You! Listen! - God's tolerance with us, is exactly Jesus! There is no indulgence, there is no mercy outside Him! Therefore is this step to the right or to the left in this connection, so fatally for us.

   It is actually a step away from the road, and have you first started walking to the right for example, you will just get further and further away from the road, the further you go. It is not just an adjustment that is needed, but a whole different course! You have to get back on the road again - and it is called Jesus alone! You see that this step to the right or the left means deeply seen a change of mind - a different view of the Gospel, than when you got saved by God's grace in Jesus Christ alone.

   Can't you see this? Here is where the danger lies. It is this (in our eyes) little sourdough, which after a while sours the whole dough.

   There is a certain word which always comes back in David's mouth, when we read this psalm - also the verses after those we have stopped for - and that is the word: Him! The psalm starts with David's worship. He is speaking to his soul and says: Praise! - And the rest of the psalm shows us why. Just read the verses from our passage again: V.3-6.

   One thing that should surprise us is the statement here about the Lord acting with justice, when He deals with us this way. When He showers us with goodness alone! One who stands there, who is an unworthy sinner before God, just has to be astonished by a statement like this. Not thinking about the blind, self righteous' mind, who thinks this is something they have the right to have, but for those who has stood in the true light, with their life, their heart and mind.

   But it is really as we read it here - God acts with justice, when He showers a sinful human with goodness. This is what you are called to! You are of the Lord Himself, called to step into this blessing - the one which is called Abrahams blessing, and which is given us in one man, the man Jesus Christ.

   Listen to what the Word testifies about this blessing: "From your seed shall all the worlds generation will be blessed." This is repeated many times both in The Old and The New Testament. "All the worlds generations!" Who is left out? You? How can you come on the outside of this blessing? Look, you have it already - it is given you in Abrahams seed! And this seed, who is that? Paul writes about it, and says: "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ." (Gal. 3:16). Did you hear that? In Him it is given to you.

   But we asked: How can you come on the outside of this blessing? Some people ask this: When I already is been given salvation in Jesus Christ, how can I be lost? The answer is simple: "By choosing something else!"

   Now you see that you stand naked in yourself. God does not ask for anything of this, what your salvation concerns, but "when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you." (Ex. 12:13).

   This is not good "tones" for the one who is rich in himself, but for the one who has stood before the Holy One, with his dirty clothes, he praises the Lord for this incredible salvation - this incredible mercy - yes, he says to his soul: "Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name." (v.1).


Holy Bible New American Standard Version
Translator: Benedicte Holtan Smart