What's In It For Me? Benefits From Psalm 103
We live in a culture that asks: “What’s in it for me?” Our culture can be extremely self-centered, self-oriented, and waving the banner of ‘‘get all you can get.” Think about how social media can promote a narcissistic motive for much of what we do. It’s not hard to get a gauge on the climate we live in.
We, however, we’re never made to worship ourselves and be as self-interested as our culture chants that we should be. That’s why people are hungry and grasping for more. Statistics show the benefits of living on this unhealthy diet of “me” has resulted in a decrease of empathy, lowering self-esteem, and falling contentment.
God, however, is not like this culture. He doesn’t have a greedy mindset. And even though we are far removed from the nature of God’s character, God transcends our culture and speaks to us where we are. This is one of the things that I love about God: our culture doesn’t scare Him, disgust Him, or make Him turn away from us. He understands where we are better than we do. In fact, He meets us in our culture and answers our culture's question; telling us EXACTLY what’s in it for us.
How great is our God that he is willing to meet us on this unhealthy plan of self indulgence in order to teach us truth and call us to Himself.
Now, I can knock culture all I want about it’s broken tendencies, but when I get right down to it and examine my own heart, I find that human nature is pretty much the same inside me as it is outside of me. I have a desire to be the center of the world, to have the best, to get what I want, to keep more then I give, to be served instead of serving, and so on and so forth.
Knowing this about our world, knowing this about me, that’s why I stopped at Psalm 103. I was surprised to see God answer this selfish question and tell me precisely what is in it for me when I choose to fear Him. (In verse 11 and 14 of Psalms 103 to “fear” God means to honor, respect, and follow Him.)
I want to pause here before we start numerating the specific benefits that God give us and explain one thing. God isn’t shy about telling us what He will give us when we choose to fear Him, AND God is not hesitant about telling us what it takes to truly fear him and be his disciple. God is honest about it all. Here is Psalm 103, I was struck by the benefits that we receive. (If you have any questions about what it costs to be a disciple of Jesus, then pause and take a look at Luke 14:25-35.)
So what benefits do we derive from be Christ followers? David not only tells us; he emphatically instructs us to not forget it. I’m going to pull them out in a list to make it easier to wrap my head and heart around them.
Verse 3: God pardons the bad things I do.
Verse 3: God heals my diseases.
Verse 4: God redeems my life from the pit.
Verse 4: God crowns me with lovingkindness.
Verse 4: God crowns me with compassion.
Verse 5: God satisfies my years with good things so that my youth is renewed like an eagle.
Verse 6: God will perform righteous deeds and judgments for the oppressed.
Verse 9: God will not always strive with me.
Verse 9: God will not keep His anger forever.
Verse 10: God has not dealt with me like He should have, He has not paid me back for my sin.
Verse 11: As high as the heaven is above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness towards me.
Verse 12: As far as the east is from the west, this far He has removed my sin from me.
Verse 13: God has compassion on me.
Verse 14: God knows my frame and is mindful that I am but dust.
Verse 17: The lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting.
Verse 17: God’s righteousness is to my children’s children when I obey Him.
Verse 19: God has established his throne in Heaven and His sovereignty rules over all.
It is honestly a vast and overwhelming list. Isn’t it incredible to know that by fearing and following God, I will in turn receive all of this and more. There is A LOT in it for me!
I realize that I don’t see God clearly. I don’t understand Him. I think a part of me has viewed “fearing God” to look more like the monks of the medieval ages. No fashion forward clothing, no yummy food, solitude, going without, dirges, sackcloth and ashes, baldness…
The truth is that God wants to shower benefit after benefit on me. All those things that I listed that I wanted in my selfishness: “I have a desire to be the center of the world, to have the best, to get what I want, to keep more then I give, to be served instead of serving, and so on and so forth.” These were meager things, and in truth they are not very good things to want.
I can never be the center of the world. Others have come much closer than me: Satan, Caesar, Hitler, Obama, Kim Kardashian… None of them actually get very close and ALL of them pale to the true center of the world -- the one true God. However, the God who created all thing, who is the center of the world, He, Himself, will shower me with lovingkindness and compassion, pardon my sins, heal me, redeem me, crown me... and so much more if I let Him.
God is willing to give me benefits that are much more healthy and rich than what I asked.
So, here is my application from all of this: I choose to get the benefits that God will give me. I choose to believe God when he tells me that I will be greatly blessed by fearing Him. I will choose God and not my selfish nature. I will place God on the throne of my heart and worship Him, knowing He is on His throne in the heavens (verse 19). I will bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name (verse 1,2, 20,21,22).
Hannah Michael Wolfkill Snyder has always loved all of her names (yes, each one is on her passport!). However, the name she loves the most is Jesus. Jesus taught her how to play in the throne room of Heaven and sit in the lap of God the Father. This is her identity, where her heart loves to abide (even if her hands and feet are busy on earth running a household or meeting up with people). Because of her joy in the Father, her heart’s desire is to show women their God given identity in the kingdom of Heaven. You can find her on Instagram.