“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.2 Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5
This Psalm reminds me of a Matt Redman song (which I put below) but it also reminded me of a moment I had this past Friday. My son had asked me to buy him cinnamon sugar pretzel sticks as we were leaving the mall, and I agreed to the special treat. But since they are a mess, I asked him to not eat them in the car and to wait until we got home to enjoy them. They were next to me then, and as we were driving home, I took one to eat. Just then a lovely worship song came on the radio that I love to sing along with. Only my mouth was full of something I knew I shouldn’t be eating. One, they were for my son. Two, I read later there are 99 grams of carbs and 500 calories per serving! YIKES!!! I knew I shouldn’t have them, but I had grabbed it anyway to indulge my own craving.
Sadly, though, as I listened to the song, it occurred to me that I couldn’t do both. I couldn’t eat and praise the Lord with singing at the same time. This became a good picture for me – at least in my life, praise and self-indulgence in an area I know to be sin in my life can’t go hand in hand.
Then this morning after reading this, I thought the reverse might actual be helpful. The next time I’m tempted, instead of giving in, I should give praise to the Lord! I love worship music and praising the Lord. If I choose to do that with my time rather than eat, I think the cravings will go away. Even if not, I’m sure my soul will be much more satisfied.
I love that these verses tell us that the Lord benefits us – He’s not asking us to give up something that is good for us or truly pleasing. In the end this sin is a killer! Instead, God forgives our sins and He heals our diseases (verse 3), He redeems our life and crowns us with love and compassion (verse 4) and He SATISFIES OUR DESIRES WITH GOOD THINGS (verse 5)!!! He renews our youth like the eagle’s (verse 5). Later on in Psalm 104, we are reminded that the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love (verse 8); His love for those who fear Him is greater than we can imagine and He has compassion on us like a father has compassion on his children (verse 13).
God is not asking us to give up things that are good for us. He has our best in mind. He’s not in heaven looking down with anger because I have my son’s cinnamon sugar pretzel stick in my mouth. Instead, He’s calling us to BETTER things. He says to lay down our desire for food that isn’t meant for us and instead come to Him who satisfies our desires with GOOD things instead! When we do, we’re healed and our youth is renewed. He loves us! He is compassionate! To even think about it brings tears to my eyes.
Instead of eating, I should be praising! I need to remember all that God is and all He has done for us. I need to satisfy my soul longings with some good honest worship time. And the end result will make me feel better anyway – what a God we serve!
Father God, we thank You for Your Word. We thank You for Your compassion and grace. We thank You for Your love and that You want what’s best for us. Sometimes it feels like we’re giving up so much when we aren’t eating what our sinful nature craves. But, in reality, we need YOU to satisfy our desires with good things. We need You to renew our youth like the eagle’s, heal our diseases, redeem our lives from the pit and forgive our sins. We confess that we struggle with overeating. But, we long to please You, God. Please forgive us and allow us to start fresh. Guide us with Your Holy Spirit into a life of self-control and discipline. We thank You for all Your many benefits, and we ask that You receive the praise due Your Name. Let our souls praise You! Thank You, God. You are so deserving. Please make us more like You. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!