Psalm 103:2 (KJV)
- Forgiveness of iniquities. Who other than God can forgive sin? Through Christ’s sacrifice and atoning blood, not only are our sins forgiven but our “sin nature” has been rendered “inoperative” (Rom. 6:14; Heb. 2:14-15). If we “fall short”, we need only confess and God faithfully forgives us (1 John 1:9). He then removes remembrance of them to the furthest points of existence-even to the heavens (Ps. 103:11-12). There is no other god or religion that offers such forgiveness.
- Healing of diseases. Disease is the result of sin’s entrance into the world. It was not part of God’s original plan for His beloved creation. Yet God, within His providential will, provides physical healing-both on this side and the “other side” (2 Cor. 5:1; Rev. 21:4). Spiritual healing is now available to release us from anger, shame, guilt, and unforgiveness. After His temptation in the wilderness, Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit and spoke these words in the synagogue in Nazareth, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:14-19). Jesus is our Healer today.
- Redemption of life from destruction. In Hebrew, destruction or sahat, is translated pit or dungeon; corruption or decay. Before God’s intervention (through Jesus Christ) we were “in a hole, destined to die.” The sin of one man, Adam, caused death to rule over us, but all who receive God’s wonderful, gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. (Rom. 5:17) God will continually save us from the world, Satan, and our “old nature.” He is our Preserver (Ps. 145:14-20).
- Crowning with lovingkindness and tender mercies. God’s lovingkindness and tender mercies are evidenced from Genesis to Revelation, as He provides and protects His covenant people. Through our confession of faith in Christ, lovingkindness was extended to us, as Abraham’s seed and heirs to the promise (Gal. 3:29). The literal translation of tendermercies is “tender and compassion.” It expresses love of a superior for an inferior; this love is seen in the deep feelings that move the superior to help. While we were without strength to save ourselves Christ died for us (Rom. 5:6).
- Satisfaction with “good things”. The NIV rendering of this verse is “He satisfies your desires with good things.” When we are obedient to God, we are in the center of His will. He will give us what is best for our life-even when we don’t see it. The result is renewal of hope and trust and the ability to continue our walk of faith. “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in You!” Psalm 84:11-12 (NIV)
For I will contend with him who contends with you, And I will save your children.” Is. 49:25b
In our study last week, we discovered the power available to us when we exchange our human weakness for God’s inexhaustible strength. Declaring our total dependence on God moves believers from doubt and fear to confidence and trust. This confidence is strengthened by the reality that we have a God who contend on our behalf.
In most Old Testament texts, contend refers to fighting or strife between two persons. The Prophet Jeremiah pleaded with God to reverse His decision to punish Judah with exile: Give heed to me, O LORD, and listen to the voice of those who content with me! (Jer. 18:19)
In other biblical writings, contend is used in reference to a legal argument or defense. In Ps. 35:1, 23 the psalmist is asking the Lord to enter the case and act as their advocate. Such is the case in John’s epistle as he reminds this new church that they have a “heavenly Advocate” who stands before the throne of God and contends for His saints (1 John 2:1).
Our text today is found in the section of Isaiah known as the “Prophecies of Comfort”. Israel and Judah’s disobedience was a major offense to God throughout their national history. Upon hearing Isaiah’s pronouncement of judgment, the people tried to shift blame to God by accusing Him of “forsaking them” (v.14); but Isaiah would not engage in their excuses but would instead comfort them with God’s promise of the coming Messiah and hope of restoration. God would contend for Israel and Judah, even while they were in exile and bring them and their families back to their native land. Those nations who had been enemies of Zion would receive judgment for their crimes and ultimately destroyed. God would contend for Zion because of His promises and because of His great love for them (Deut. 7:7,8).
Before the foundation of the earth God was contending for us (Ps. 139:15, 16). God contends for us through His everlasting love (Jer. 31:3) and spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). Through Jesus Christ, Satan has been defeated (Col. 2:15) and sinners reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20). With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have everything we need to successfully live in this corrupt and lustful world (2 Pet. 1:3-11). Regardless of your personal situation or circumstance, know that God “has you covered”—He contends fo you.
Also Read: “Victorious Living”
“Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.” Psalm 139:7-8 (NRS)
Our life consists of more than “flesh and blood”. It includes our assumptions, beliefs and behaviors that regulate our personal preferences and pursuits; they can be “of the world” or “of God.” These assumptions, beliefs and behaviors eventually influence the choices we make daily and are ultimately reflected in our life style.
It is important that God’s influence is evident in our lives. This begins by our acknowledging His glorious presence. In Psalm 139 David shares the effect such knowledge can have in the life of the believer.
In this psalm God’s presence is demonstrated through several of His key attributes. In verses 7-12, from which our text for today is found, David speaks specifically of God’s omnipresence. God is everywhere all the time. In Jeremiah 23:23-24 this characteristic is spoken of by God Himself. “Am I a God near by, says the LORD, and not a God far off? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD.”
The impact of living in God’s presence offers extraordinary benefit for the believer. First, knowing God is everywhere offers us great comfort. The new norm for living in the 21st century requires us to be ever vigilant—watching for potential risks and dangers that may threaten us physically, financially, and/or socially. To know that we are never out of the presence of God should settle the faint-hearted. God alone can make good on His promise that He will “never leave nor forsake us” (Gen. 28:15).
Secondarily, believers living in the presence of God possess great confidence knowing that God is ever-present. Even in the most routine of transactions, recognizing that the “only wise God” (Rom. 16:27) is there to guide and direct our steps, releases us from unnecessary stress and concern (Phil. 4:6-7).
Finally, living in God’s presence provides us great clarity as to how we are to live in this present age (Titus 2:11-13). This acknowledgment requires that we live obediently according to His Word and under the direction of the Holy Spirit. God’s Word, especially the Epistles, describes God’s expectation of the believer’s conduct in light of living in a fallen world. The believer’s reality is expected to be very different from the world’s view (Rom. 12:2; 1 Pet. 1:13-16; 1 John 2: 16-17)
As believers in Christ, our reality recognizes that God is the center of our universe and it is God who sustains us and keeps us (Ps. 3:5; Heb. 1:3). We are to joyfully seek His will—the divine purpose of the ever-present God. The believer’s life and reality is derived from knowing we live continuously in the presence of God.