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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Benefits (Benefit #3)

Here's that list of benefits from Psalm 103 again:

  1. forgiveness for iniquity
  2. healing for diseases
  3. redemption from "the pit"
  4. being crowned with "steadfast love and mercy"
  5. being satisfied with "good" - specifically good health

God redeems your life from the pit

Redemption is a word with a very small meaning outside of Theological circles these days. You can "redeem" a coupon for thirty cents off a can of peas. You can "redeem" the box tops off your cereal boxes to satisfy whatever promotion the cereal company is running. When I was a kid you could "redeem" glass soda pop bottles and get a few cents back. Or, if you say or do something stupid, you can do something better and so you "redeem yourself" in the eyes of whoever saw you do the stupid thing.

None of these things are exactly the Bible meaning of the word "redeem". In the Bible, to "redeem" someone (because in this verse God is redeeming us!) means to pay the price to get them out of a captive situation. Paying a ransom, Almost like "posting bail" for a prisoner to secure their release from prison, except that once redeemed you don't have to go back to prison. It's more akin to paying off your mortgage, and then you are free from that payment forever! In Bible terms, "redeemed" is a permanent state!

So what is "the pit"? Well, literally... it's, you know, a pit. A hole in the ground. Maybe extend that to something like a dungeon. But this is a very specific "pit" – this pit is the place where people go when they die. It's parallel language to Psalm 49:15 that talks about redemption from "Sheol" which is a Hebrew word for "the underworld". But this doesn't really signify Heaven or Hell as the Christian faith understands them; this is a much more primitive imagery. Many translations render this word as "destruction" which is probably an accurate portrayal of what the Psalmist meant.

Let's put those things together... there are things in the world that want to kill you and me. Even outside of whatever hostile spiritual forces there may be, there are creatures who, if they saw you, would absolutely try to kill you. Then there are things that could accidentally kill you... a car swerves into your lane, something falls on you out of a window, you catch a terminal disease. These things want to destroy you, and the danger exists because sin has been brought into this world. There is a price to pay for sin; that price is destruction. But God constantly pays the ransom cost that it takes to redeem us from the destruction that results from our sin! Your life doesn't have to lead to a place of oblivion. God redeems you!

On to Benefit #4, or start from the beginning!

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