Theme: How Should a Person Praise God?
This week’s lessons show us that it is essential to remember God’s blessings, and how we are to praise God for all that he is and for all he has done for us.
Scripture: Psalm 103:1-22
I want to address a number of questions regarding this psalm, arranging them in such a way that the successive verses of the psalm give the answers. The first question I want to ask is this: How should a person praise God? The answer of this psalm is in verses 1 and 2. It is “with all my inmost being” or with all my soul.
In these verses David is rousing himself to remember God’s benefits, and he does not want to do it superficially. He wants to do it with all his heart, with all his soul and with all his strength (cf. Deut. 6:5). This is the place to begin noticing the “alls” in this psalm: “all my inmost being” (v. 1) and for “all his benefits” (v. 2), which includes forgiveness for “all my sins” and the healing of “all my diseases” (v. 3). Later David will call on “all God’s heavenly hosts” and “all his works” to join him in his praise (vv. 21, 22).
What a rebuke to much of what passes for praise in our assemblies. We come to church, but we leave our minds at home. We hear of God’s grace, but our hearts have been hardened by a critical and carping spirit. Jonathan Edwards believed that there is no true worship that does not touch the “affections.” That was his choice word. As for us, well, we are strangely unaffected. Far too often, we honor God “with our lips” while our hearts are “far from him” (cf. Matt. 15:8; Isa. 29:13).
What is the problem? Obviously it is that we have forgotten God’s many benefits or blessings. It is human to forget. But let us remember this at least: it is a terrible thing to forget God’s “benefits.” It is said of Hezekiah that his “heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the LORD’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem” (2 Chron. 32:25). Similarly, God warned the Israelites, “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day…” (see Deut. 8:10-18).
Here then is my second question: Why should a person praise God? The answer should be obvious by now. It is because of “all his benefits.” David gives this answer in verse 2 and then lists what he means by God’s benefits in verses 3-5. We will look at this in depth tomorrow.
Study Questions:

What does it mean to praise God from your inmost being?
How many times does David use the word “all”? Why does he repeat this?
How did Hezekiah bring trouble to Judah and Jerusalem?

Reflection: What is your mindset during worship? How does the approach in this psalm change the way you worship?
Application: Read Deut. 8:10-18. How has God blessed you? What has been your own personal “desert”? How has the Lord sustained and carried you through such times? What does the Lord want to do in and through you during these hard experiences?
Key Point: We come to church, but we leave our minds at home. We hear of God’s grace, but our hearts have been hardened by a critical and carping spirit.

Study Questions
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