Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 24, 2012

"The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.  He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;  for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul." Psalm 103:6-22
When you are looking for benefits such as life insurance and health insurance you want a solid company that has the financial assets to deliver what has been promised. That is why you wouldn't want to go with Rodney from Rio Linda.
In short, the benefits a company offers are only as good as the assets that back them.
The Psalmist says in Psalm 103:1-5 that we should praise the Lord because of His benefits. Last week we learned that His benefits are forgiveness, redemption and provision, among others. He offers good benefits and He has the assets to deliver on them!
One of the main assets that God offers is mercy! The Psalmist declares the mercy of God and then supports his claim with with a classic example from the Old Testament.
But verse 7 is the first glimmer of hope in the passage, giving us the answer as to how the Lord works righteousness and justice for the oppressed: "God made his ways known to Moses." That is fine, but if that is more law, we are all done for. Then in the next verse we see where this is leading us.
After the Israelites left Egypt, having survived the plagues, they walked through the Red Sea, and came to Mount Sinai where God gave Moses the Decalogue. In Exodus 32, while Moses was still on the mountain, the people rebelled, crafting a golden calf and bowing down to worship it. As Moses came down the mountain with the two stone tablets in hand, he saw their debauchery and shattered the tablets. The covenant appeared to be destroyed. God’s favor was gone. But in the ensuing chapters of Exodus it is clear that God’s mercy is not so easily broken. New tablets are chiseled out of rock and in Exodus 34, God descends to Moses in a cloud and speaks.
“5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

David, in explaining the tremendous benefits we have belonging to God, points our attention to these events, thus giving us perspective on what God’s mercy looks like. How does God handle rebellion? How can we know his forgiveness? God's forgiveness does not remove the law. God forgives and gives them the Law once again. Grace does not ignore justice; rather grace alters the place where justice will be met. That place was the Cross of Calvary!
You know you can depend on the generous benefits of God because His assets are as great as those benefits!