Shalom: Blessing of the Lord
Being grateful is not easy. The habit has to be cultivated and thankful mindset has to be carefully nurtured. For human beings, forgetfulness is natural and that to good things. The Psalmist had to engage in a self-talk to encourage himself to bless the Lord who loadeth us with benefits. For a generation that knows only ‘Friends With Benefits’ in sensual sense, may not be able to comprehend the Lord who loads us with all benefits.
“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5)
The first and foremost blessing Psalmist sings about is the spiritual blessing. The greatest spiritual need for human beings is the forgiveness, reconciliation with God and adoption into His family. Without forgiveness, human beings are alienated from God, deprived of dignity and identity. God is gracious to forgive a person who is contrite in heart, repents from his sinful and selfish life and exercises faith in His Son Lord Jesus Christ who gave his life and rose again from the dead.
The Lord is not only interested in our spiritual life, he is interested and involved in our physical life. The creator God, heals all our diseases. He declared to Israelites, “I am the Lord, who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26) In the marvelous creation, Lord has the provision of healing in built in our bodies; also gives wisdom to medical professionals to devices ways and means to heal our bodies and also miraculously heals us. The methods of treatment could be different, but Lord is the ultimate healer.
The Lord redeems us from the pit. In this place, pit denotes despondency, emotional depression and moral depravation. Sin within one and sin in the environment can drive person into deep spiritual anxiety and fatigueless. David experienced that because of his personal sin of adultery (Psalm 51) while Lot experienced that in the environment of Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Peter 2:7,8). Such emotional turmoil could lead to moral confusion. In those circumstances, God is gracious to redeem us. Prophet Nathan was sent to rebuke and reprimand David, he repents and was redeemed. Hearing Abraham’s prayer, Lord send his angels to bring Lot and family before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Since God loves us, he uses all his resources to help a person to be redeemed from the emotional and moral despondency. However, his children should be willing to listen, ask for help and obey when he speaks.
Like parents who delight in praising children that they are prince and princess; God delights in crowning us as Kingdom of Priests (Exodus 19: 6) It is amazing to know that God has chosen and called us to be His Kings and Priests. Crowning is coronation and is an occasion of celebration. Rejoicing and celebration is daily routine of a Christian. It is not a future expectation but today’s reality. Many lose the zest for life as they do not authentically enjoy and experience this glorious spiritual reality.
Being content and rejoicing in any state, stage and status is a rare blessing today. Dissatisfaction, discontent, frustration even at minor irritations, restlessness, covetousness and carnal drive marks the Postmodern generation. The genuine longings that is contrast to selfish cravings could be satisfied by our Lord, provided we do not seek from other sources. David expresses well his longing like that of deer that pants for the water. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness; they will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6) Some religions teach to kill even legitimate desires while others to enjoy all desires (even if they are immoral, unnatural and illegitimate); the Lord of Heaven and Earth provides fulfillment for such moral spiritual and legitimate longings.
God has been gracious to provide a wholesome blessing – shalom blessing. It is not a theory or a philosophy but an authentic reality to be experienced. When Lord blesses us with these aspects, we are renewed like Eagle and could live robust like young people. In Christian life, it is almost impossible to receive such blessings.