The Pit, the Crown and the Eagle

All the Benefits of Believing (ATBOB) #4

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:1-5 (ESV)

We pick up where we left off last time, and today consider verses 4 and 5 of this spectacular Psalm. So far, we’ve already seen some of the benefits of believing, which include forgiveness and healing. And now find out a few other exciting reasons to “Bless the Lord.”

Redeemed from the pit

We don’t often encounter the word “redeem” in our everyday lives, and the most common use I can think of is when we “redeem” a voucher when shopping. When we shop like this, the word means “exchange” – you exchange your voucher for some product or service.

We might understand this verse – “redeemed from the pit” – to mean that we have been saved from death. Probably the pit referred to here, is the grave. So to be redeemed in this context, is to “exchange” death for life. We redeem our old sinful life (that leads to spiritual death) with our “Jesus coupon” which entitles us to life eternal.

Redemption can also mean “restoration,” “reinvigorate,” and even “renovate.” These are all relevant terms for us, as we exchange our old life of sin for our new life in Christ.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

The above verse tells us that we are made completely new when we put our faith in Jesus. That redeeming work of Christ is exactly like renovation. When we renovate a house, we transform it from its old worn out state into a brand new dwelling place. Likewise, our spirits which were once dead in our transgressions are now fully alive and new.

Crowned with steadfast love and mercy

When you think of a crown, you probably imagine something like a queen or king might wear. This is one type of crown of course, but the Bible also speaks of victor’s crowns – more like gold medals from a sporting event perhaps.

There are a number of crowns in the Bible –

  • The Imperishable Crown – 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
  • The Crown of Rejoicing – 1 Thessalonians 2:19
  • The Crown of Righteousness – 2 Timothy 4:8
  • The Crown of Glory – 1 Peter 5:4
  • The Crown of Life – Revelation 2:10
  • And more…

The crown mentioned here is one of steadfast love and mercy. A “steadfast love” implies one which cannot be moved. A love that is not fickle or whimsical, or based on shifting foundations like wealth or good looks. This kind of love and mercy endures to the end, and is God’s kind of love.

You never have to fear that God’s love will run out, or that you will somehow wear down His resolve.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)

Satisfaction with good things

Another benefit of believing we find here is “satisfaction”. God satisfies us with good things. I don’t believe this should be interpreted to mean God will give us whatever we want, but i certainly do think it means we can trust God to take care of us. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6 that God takes care of the birds, and that we are far more valuable than they, and so, we should trust God to look after us.

Satisfaction goes far beyond mere material needs however. Many spend the majority of their lives unsatisfied with their work, relationships, and most importantly spiritual lives. This verse, along with many others, tells us that satisfaction can only be found in God. We cannot be content without that relationship we were born to have – that is, with God.

Youth renewed like the eagle’s

This satisfaction we briefly discussed above has a consequence. Verse five goes on to say that we are satisfied so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s! This is quite a promise!

While, in my experience, young children are rarely satisfied for very long (with dinner, clothes, TV, toys or activities), they are generally content with their lives. They never seem to worry about tomorrow, never fear where their next meal is coming from or even too contemplative about their lot in life. Most adults can’t say the same. They tend to be worried, fearful and always seeking something else.

This verse does not promise we will never grow old, or even feel it at times, it does suggest that a life lived in relationship with God can lead to mental or spiritual youthfulness.

As I draw this post to a close, remember you have been redeemed from the pit, crowned with love and can have a youthful outlook on life. These are indeed great benefits to believing in Jesus, and I pray you will spend some time thinking on them today.

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