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Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Benefits (Benefit #5)

 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 satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's

There is an inspiring story about eagles, that they fly to the top of a mountain and break off their beaks and lose all their feathers and grow new ones. I'm no ornithologist so I don't know if that's true or not, but I don't think this means that your body is going to regenerate somehow and you'll suddenly look 20 when you're 60. I think the imagery in the Bible of an eagle is an image of strength. Look at what it says in Isaiah 40, for example:
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
     and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
     they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
     they shall walk and not faint.

I think that the image of the eagle in the Bible represents strength and stamina. It is true that sometimes we have to go through a painful process to get to where God wants us to be, but in my opinion, that's not what this is about.

So what is the process that this verse is talking about? It says that our youthful strength and stamina is renewed because God satisfies us with "good". Good what? Well, the word just means good and pleasing. What if God wants to satisfy us with things that make us happy? And I'm not talking about expensive cars and yachts and huge televisions and that sort of thing... even people who don't believe in God know that wealth alone doesn't make you happy. I think that in general God wants us to be supplied and comfortable in our lives – I think He wants our lives to be full of joy. I mean, if God wanted us to suffer, he could send us all right to Hell right this minute. The Gospels don't show us a Jesus who came and injured people and caused damage... Jesus came and healed people, supplied for their needs, even sometimes fed them. I think God wants to bring things, people, and circumstances into our lives that we can rejoice in, that put a spring in our step, that make us feel like we could spread our wings and fly up into the sky!

Counter point: Sometimes Believers suffer.

Yes they do.

In fact, the next verse, immediately after the benefits, acknowledges that: "The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed." (Psalm 103:6) Some people, it says, are oppressed. BUT: God is working in their behalf, bringing justice, bringing that "good" promised in the benefits! The Bible isn't some kind of utopian nonsense. It fully admits that difficulties exist. God's benefits are not a denial of reality – they are hope that it will get better!

On to the final wrap-up, or start from the beginning!

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