Satisfaction, Justice, and Revelation (Psalm 103:5-7)
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. —Psalm 103:5-7
Last week we began our list of benefits that David “preaches” to his soul in this Psalm in order to fuel worship, and this week we can add three more:
The Lord satisfies the soul with good, renewing its strength (v. 5)
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed (v. 6)
The Lord reveals himself to his people (v. 7)
Satisfaction of the Soul (v. 5)
How does satisfaction of the soul relate to blessing the Lord? Since David is preaching it to his soul, satisfaction can be seen as a cause of worship.
But does satisfaction automatically make the heart bless the Lord? Unfortunately no. Take the Israelites as “exhibit A.” Before entering into the Promised Land, they were promised by Moses that it would be a fruitful land filled with good blessings (Deuteronomy 8:7–9). He then says “you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you” (v. 10). But Moses quickly followed this up with a warning: “Take care… lest, when you have eaten and are full… then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God” (v. 11–14).
Sadly this did come to pass: Israel’s prosperity made her forget the One who gave her prosperity. This is a real danger here in cushy America, but a balance is needed: Don’t reject the blessings just because they can be dangerous, but use them as fuel for worship.
Justice for the Oppressed (v. 6)
The word that threw me off when meditating on this verse was the word “all.” Is there truly justice for all who are oppressed? One way to answer this without resorting to a social gospel is by looking at the next verse, “He made known his ways to Moses” (v. 7a). One of the most dramatic times when the Lord did this was in Exodus 34:4–8, which I think David had in mind while writing this Psalm. Here the Lord passes his glory before Moses and declares,
The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness [cf. Psalm 103:8], keeping steadfast love for thousands [cf. Psalm 103:4], forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin [cf. Psalm 103:3], but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation [cf. Psalm 103:6].
The guilty will never be cleared without justice. All the oppressed will see justice come to their oppressors: every aborted baby, every sex slave in India, every persecuted Nigerian Christian, every bullied middle school student. God will work justice for all. That justice will be worked either through hell or through the cross. Each one of us has been at one time the oppressor or the oppressed. Praise the Lord that through our faith in Christ’s death and resurrection we are forgiven.
Revelation of God (v. 7)
God has communicated who he is to his people. What a marvelous benefit this is! Knowing God’s “ways” and “acts” informs us about his character. And God’s greatest act was the death and resurrection of his son, Jesus. Here is where we see Exodus 34:4–8 most vividly.
1. Which of these benefits spur you to worship the Lord the most? 2. What character attributes has God communicated to us through his work on the cross?