All Scriptures will be from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.
Feel free to take your time reading and meditating on the Scriptures and questions. Don't be in a hurry. You can print it out and have it to do at your leisure. Allow The Holy Spirit to minister Truth to you. If you are comfortable, share your thoughts and answers to the questions in the comment section. Don't feel pressured to do so if you don't want. Maybe check back during the day or on Friday to see what others are thinking and feel free to discuss it. And please don't hesitate to ask questions!
So, grab your Bible, notebook, and a cup of coffee/tea and join in the Circle.
Okay, here we go with Lesson Three:
Let's open in prayer:
Father, in The mighty Name of Jesus, we come thirsty to drink from Your Well, hugry to feast from Your Table. Oh, Father, nourish our souls and in so doing cause us to be free! FREE! Thank You, LORD, for this opportunity to feast from Your Word. Amen!
A Friend With Benefits
King David, a man after God’s own Heart, does not resist temptation and falls knee-deep in sin. He commits adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. After learning that she is pregnant, he has Uriah killed on the battlefield so that his secret would never be found out. But, he forgot that God knows all things!
So, The LORD sends Nathan, a prophet, to declare the Word of the Lord to the king. It was a strong word and David comes face-to-face with his sin. Nathan tells him that he is going to face the consequences for his sins. His son, born to Bathsheba, would die. You can read the accounting in II Samuel 12:1-22.
David, a man after God’s own Heart, cried out to God in repentance. He sang Psalm 51, then Psalms 32 and 38, pouring out his heart before his God and crying out for His Mercy. It might be beneficial for you to read these Psalms first, so you can see the agony of his soul. After David repents of his sin, he then sang Psalm 103. (The progression of the Psalms, intertwined with II Samuel is found in The Chronological Bible.)
Please turn to Psalm 103 in your Bible and read it.
Psalm 103 is about our God (Who is our Friend), and the list of His Benefits, hence the title A Friend With Benefits.
Psalm 103 starts out with:
Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
Once we ask for forgiveness, God throws our sin as far as the east is from the west, remembering it no more (vs. 12). But, we remember, and sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to forgive ourselves and to move on. That is what Psalm 103 is all about.
After realizing the depth of his sin and how he hurt the Heart of God, he commands his soul to bless and praise God (vs. 1) and to forget not all God’s benefits – all He has done (vs.2). He's muttering to himself, "Soul, forget not all God's benefits". Singing to himself. Maybe shouting to himself, "Soul, remember!"
Maybe he was truly scared at this point of what God was going to do; desperate to change God's mind. So, he puts his own soul, and God, in remembrance by singing out loud God’s wondrous benefits.
The word “benefits” means: benefit, recompense, that which He has given, reward.
Here is a list of thirty benefits found in Psalm 103:
Verse 3 He forgives all our sins
3 He heals all our diseases
4 He redeems our lives from destructio
4 He crowns us with loving kindness
4 He crowns us with tender mercies
5 He satisfies us with good things
5 He renews our youth like an eagle
6 He executes justice for the oppressed
7 He makes His ways known to us
7 He makes His acts known to us
8 He is merciful and gracious to us
8 He is patient - slow to get angry with us
8 His mercy and grace abounds to us
9 His rebukes to us are temporary
10 He doesn’t hold a grudge
10 He is merciful in His dealings with our sin
10 He does not punish us as we deserve
11 His infinite mercy is to those who reverentially worship Him
12 He removes our sins far, far away from us
13 His Fatherly compassion is toward us
14 He understands our humanness
14 He keeps our humanness in mind
15-16 He allows the brevity of man, because Heaven awaits us
17 His mercy toward us is eternal
17 His eternal mercy is toward those who reverentially worship Him
17 He honors His righteousness (right standing) to even our grandchildren
18 He honors His righteousness to covenant-keepers
18 He honors His righteousness to the obedient
19 His Throne of Grace is dependable
19 He has given us membership in God’s Kingdom
King David winds down this Psalm with praising God’s angels who heed the Word of God, knowing the angels would act upon his speaking of The Word (vs. 20-21). He even commands the angels to bless God!
Then he speaks to himself once again, commanding his soul to bless The LORD.
Have you ever done that? Many times I've needed to take authority over my own soul and do like David has done because the enemy is always on top of us to condemn and accuse us.
Can you imagine knowing that your child would surely die because of choices you had made? PHEW! That's heavy-duty! Can you imagine living with that?
King David was facing the death of his child as a result of his sin and yet he got to a point where he could sincerely bless God; no doubt, hoping that God would retract His “sentence”, but was OK if God did not.
When King David heard that his son was dead, he went into the house of The LORD and worshipped (II Samuel 12:20).
He went and worshipped. A man truly after God’s Heart.
If you read II Samuel 12:24, you will see that God blesses David with another son soon after. A son that would be renowned for all of history as the wisest and wealthiest man that ever lived - King Solomon.
It is very difficult to live with the knowledge that our actions or choices have severe consequences for those we love. You ask God to forgive you, you may even ask the parties involved to forgive you, but now, you have to forgive yourself. You have to live with guilt or you can choose to be free of condemnation, like it says in Romans 8:1.
Don’t let Jesus’ death be in vain. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Surely, there are times that we know not what we are doing! I believe those words, cried out from a Loving Heart, were for every man, woman, and child, and every sin that we would ever commit, not just for the people who crucified Him. If your Heavenly Father can forgive you, then you can forgive you.
Forgive yourself if you have to and then live out your life in freedom! But, never forget all of God's benefits toward you. If you'd like, make your own list of God's benefits toward you personally. Keep it in your Bible and refer to as needed.
The peace of God be unto you!
Because of Him and Unto Him,