Bless the Lord, O my soul

“Bless the Lord, O my soul!”

Bless-the-Lord

As I ponder upon Psalm 103, indeed, this is the response that David wants us to do – “Bless the Lord, O my soul!”

Why?

He can forgive all your sins. He can heal all your disease. He can redeem your life from a bottomless pit. He showers you with love and compassion. He satisfies.

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.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious. He is slow to anger. If we really understand that we are all sinners, we know the gravity of our situation. But the truth is this; he doesn’t repay us according to our sins. His love is great. It is compared to how far the east is from the west, which means there is no limit in his love for us.

8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

The Lord knows we are nothing. We are but a breath. We are mere mortals. But the Lord looks upon us with love. From everlasting to everlasting the Lord is with those who Fear him, with those who understand that they are but dust.

14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.

Praise the Lord for this goodness! Praise the Lord for his love. Let us respond and bless the Lord!

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Ponder upon this, how much do you know the Lord to be able to respond, “Bless the Lord, O my soul?” Do you have 10,000 reasons or even more to praise His name?

 

Trust God. He is in Control.

This is a story of a man named Joseph. At a young age, his brother’s sold him (Genesis 37:28) to be a slave in Egypt. But the Lord was with Joseph and everything that he did was successful, so his master Potiphar made him an overseer (Genesis 39:4) of his entire household. Now Joseph was handsome which lead Potiphar’s wife to desire him. She tempted him to come to bed with her numerous times, but Joseph was a man of God and did not want to sin against Him. One day, Potiphar’s wife was out again to tempt him. Joseph refused but she was able to catch him by his garment and left his garment in her hand. Then she reported to her husband that Joseph tried to rape her – this lead to Joseph’s imprisonment despite his innocence.

This was the story that happened before Genesis 40. That’s why in Genesis 40 you would read that Joseph was already in prison. But even in prison the Lord was with Joseph, he was put in charge of all the prisoners.

Joseph with Cupbearer and BakerThis chapter starts with a story about a cupbearer and baker who was put to prison, and Joseph was put in charge of them. Now, was this coincidence? I don’t believe so. God has a plan. He was always in control of Joseph’s life. He was always there, allowing everything to come into place.

When the cupbearer and baker had dream, Joseph notice that they were sad because no one was able to interpret what they saw. And I like what Joseph said in Genesis 40:8, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.”

What can we possibly learn from what Joseph said?

First, Joseph acknowledged God. It’s amazing to see Joseph’s response to his situation. He was sold to slavery. He was accused of rape. He was put to prison. But despite all that has happened to him, he still acknowledged God. He didn’t hold a grudge against God. He responded well, knowing God is, and has always been in control. How about us? When problems come our way, or when things do not go as we expended it to happen, do we grumble? Do we hold a grudge against God? Do we see the trials in our life as God’s blessing? Do we see just like what James 1:2-3 says?

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

Secondly, look at what Joseph said next, “Tell it to me, please.” Why would Joseph ask them to tell them their dream? If he believes that God can only give the meaning of these dreams, then why would he ask them to tell it him? Was he going against his belief that he can interpret it, and not God?

Do want to know what I’ve realized? Joseph said this not because he believes that he can interpret it, but because he knows God is with him. He believes that despite everything that has happened in his life, God is still with him and God will give him the proper interpretations for their dream. Joseph has a faith that we should learn to imitate!

Joseph saw that God hasn’t left him despite the situation of his life. Joseph saw all of these things happening for a certain reason. What could be that reason? Did Joseph foresee everything that the Lord will be doing in his life? That is something that I don’t see clearly in the bible, but one thing is for sure – He knows everything that is happening in his life is God’s hand upon, and he knows that God is good! He said to his brothers (who sold him to slavery) when they encountered them again:

 Genesis 45:5-8

5 Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8 Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Indeed, God was and has always been in control. When the cupbearer and baker shared their dream to Joseph, he was able to interpret them. The cupbearer was reinstated to his position, in pharaoh’s court, just as Joseph said. And when pharaoh had a dream, it was Joseph who also interpreted. It was the cupbearer who told pharaoh that Joseph can interpret. Was it coincidence that all of these things happened? I don’t believe so. Joseph interpreted pharaoh dream and through this pharaoh saw the Lord was with Joseph. So he made him second in command to him. The Lord was indeed good!

You may be going through a tough time in life. You might not understand why things are happening this may. Take heart. If you know God and he is your Lord, take heart that your life is in his hand and he is in control. If you don’t know God and he is not your Lord, I suggest you make him your Lord first and allow him to take control of your life.

The Lord loves us. May we learn to trust him – he is in control. No matter the situation. No matter the circumstance. Let us find joy in our trials and let us always give glory to God despite whatever is happening in our life. If you would read Joseph’s response, he has always acknowledged God in his life. Despite the success that has happened in his life, he has always acknowledged that it is God’s work and not his.

May this message bring you hope. May this message turn you to trust God and hope in Him. There are so many things to learn from Joseph’s life. May we follow his response in his life and trust God that he is under control.

Don’t Delay. Turn Away.

There’s one song that comes into my mind when I reflected on Judges 17 to 21. It’s a famous song – part of the top 10 list of videoke songs. Do you know Frank Sinatra? Do you know his legendary song? I did it may way.

Frank-Sinatra-My-Way

When we look at Judges 17 to 21 it takes us into two different conclusions for the book. Two stories that show they just wanted to do it their way. One story talks about idolatry, while the other highlights rape and murder. Here the bible gives us a good picture of the effects of sin and how man will try to do what it thinks is right but in the end it is still far from what the Lord expects of His people.

There is much to learn from these passages. If only we would really take the time to read and be sensitive to what the Lord wants us to learn. This is passage (like any passage in the Bible) is important to read and internalize that we learn not to take sin lightly and know what God said in His word that we may not go our own way. Sin has life threatening effects. Some may feel that they are getting away with their sin, but that’s not really true. There are consequences. There are effects. And if we’re not careful how we live, the consequence might involve another person’s life.

Micahs-IdolsIf you would read Judges 17-18, here you would read Micah and his mother building her own idol and even a shrine. Honestly, I can’t understand why his mother would do this since she mentioned in verse 3 “the Lord.” The Hebrew for the Lord there is not any of those menial gods but it is referring to Yehovah, which is the proper name of the God of Israel.

How could this be though? If she knows who the Lord is, that the Lord commanded in Exodus 20 (the Ten Commandments) not to create any idol, why would she even do this? What I realized is this; man will try to still do what they want to do. Knowing who God is does not guarantee that we will act in accordance with what we know. We will still try to do things our own way. This sin led others to sin as well. Here we would see initial this idols were used in Micah’s household but eventually it resulted in having a whole tribe worship these idols as well. Sin has consequences. The sad part about this is, it also resulted in other committing the same sin. How about you? Is there is a sin in your life that you think you can get away with? Is your sin causing others to sin as well? Ask God for forgiveness now and correct it. Do not delay. God said in his word that if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our trespasses.

Then another story can be seen in Judges 19-21. If you read these chapters, you would immediately we able to recall what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. It looks exactly the same. Here we would see a traveller who stopped in a city to rest. No one took him in, but one man was kind enough to be hospitable to him. During that night, men from the city came and this man’s house and demanded that he brings them his guest so they can have sex with him. The man did not want to do this so, he offered his virgin daughter instead plus the man’s concubine. Doesn’t this sound like the same story in Sodom and Gomorrah?

So what happened? The men insisted and the guest brought her concubine out to them without any hesitation and they raped her and abused her until dawn. I cannot even imagine what they did to take. It’s just so immoral and so inhumane. What happened to the woman? We would see in verse 26, she came back to the man’s house and fell down at the doorway – dead at arrival. The guest got his concubine, went to his home and cut the dead body into twelve pieces. Then he sent a pieces all throughout the territory of Israel.

You may ask, what was the consequence of this?

sodom-gomorrahThe same as Sodom and Gomorrah, a total wipe out of a city. This caused such a stir in Israel that the whole land roused up to purge wickedness from this city (Gibeah). Leading to the destruction of a whole tribe. Again, sin has its consequence. Sodom and Gomorrah were totally destroyed. And Gibeah and the sons of Benjamin were also totally destroyed. The entire city and all their cattle were killed. All the cities under the Benjamites were set on fire.

Again, how about you? Is there is a sin in your life that you think you can get away with? Are you taking your sin lightly? You should take sin seriously. Sin can have tremendous effects on your life and the life of those around you.

We should learn how to purge the sin in our life immediately. The Lord is gracious. If we will learn how to be humble and daily walk in forgiveness, I know he will restore us. Don’t delay. Ask forgiveness. Turn away from sin.

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