1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
I love the 103rd Psalm. I like to call it the “benefits package” of walking with the Lord. It’s a reminder that there are so many reasons for us to bless the Lord with all of our heart and soul.
To me, it sounds like all of these benefits are ongoing. God doesn’t just do them one time and then you move on. God forgives our iniquities (that’s shouting ground in itself). Then, if we transgress again, He will forgive again if we come to Him in repentance. He heals our diseases and sicknesses, and then when we encounter another disease or sickness, He heals us again. He redeems us from destruction over and over again (not just one time). He crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies, and His word assures us that those mercies are new every morning.
I believe that the benefit that is listed in verse 5 has the same characteristic. He satisfies our mouth with good things and then when we hunger again, He satisfies us again. This is how Jesus described it in The Sermon On The Mount:
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
As long as we’re hungering and thirsting after and pursuing true righteousness (not our righteousness but His), we shall be filled. That’s a promise direct from our Savior and Lord.
I want to point out that the word that is translated “filled” in Matthew 5:6 is translated differently in Mark 8:4.
The multitude had followed Jesus into the wilderness and had been with Him 3 days. They hadn’t had anything to eat. Jesus knew they were hungry and needed something to eat before He sent them away. He expressed His concern to the disciples and this was their response.
And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?
How can we “satisfy” a starving crowd here in the wilderness? We know the answer. They couldn’t but Jesus could but that’s a message for another time.
What I wanted to point out is that the word translated “satisfy” here is the same word that was translated “filled” in the Beatitude. So the Beatitude, in essence, says “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be “satisfied.” That’s what I want to write about today, Satisfaction.
The Psalmist said that the Lord satisfies our mouth with good things basically so we can regain our strength; so that we can be sustained. It is my belief that the Beatitude has the connotation that if He is going to be able to do that in our lives, we have to be pursuing (longing, hungering and thirsting for) righteousness.
A few months ago, I was right in the middle of my daily Bible reading and I came across a couple of passages that really stood out to me. They were the seed from which this message has grown. I’m writing about Satisfaction but I want to talk about 2 very different kinds of people: Slackers and Strivers.
I want to give you a quick background on the first passage of scripture.
From my calculations, it had been about seven years since the Children of Israel had crossed the Jordan river and had watched the walls of Jericho fall flat.
The tribes of Gad and Reuben, and the ½ tribe of Mannasseh had chosen to claim their possession on the East side of the Jordan River before they crossed over. In keeping with their commitment to Moses, they had been fighting every battle with everyone else on Canaan’s side of Jordan.
Let me add another quick note here. We have to take into account that the birthright had been taken away from Reuben and given to Joseph. Part of that birthright was a double portion. Ephraim and Mannesseh were his sons and were both considered of the tribe of Joseph. They each had their own territory in the Promised Land.
After seven years, Gad, Reuben, Judah and Joseph (Ephraim & Mannesseh) had taken their possession in the promised land. The Levites were to have God for their portion so they weren’t given a specific inheritance. So 7 tribes (Benjamin, Zebulun, Issacher, Asher, Naphtali, Simeon and Dan) still hadn’t taken possession of God’s promise for them.
That’s the background and listen to these words.
2 And there remained among the children of Israel seven tribes, which had not yet received their inheritance.
3 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?
Joshua was pretty straightforward with them. God has already given you an inheritance. It is yours to possess. What are you waiting for?
Do you know what really struck me when I read that? Almost 2/3 of the tribes of Israel were satisfied. They were satisfied with living on someone else’s possession. They were satisfied abiding by someone else’s fire. They were satisfied celebrating someone else’s victory. They were satisfied enjoying the fruits of someone else’s inheritance. They were content to put off claiming what God had prepared for them. They were satisfied to live without what God had already given them.
It really was quite simple. All they would have had to do is pursue. God had promised that He would drive out the inhabitants before them. They just had to be willing to engage the battle. God was the One who would bring the victory.
When they had been camped at Mount Sinai and God had given Moses the Law, along with the commandments, God had given a promise. He told them that if they would keep His commandments and follow after the statutes and judgments He had given, He would bless them beyond measure. He told them that they would prosper and become great.
He also told them that when they looked at the inhabitants of the Promised Land and were dealing with doubts about their ability to drive them out, He told them to remember the Red Sea. Remember what He did to Pharoah and his armies. And then He encouraged them and gave them this promise.
21 Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.
22 And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.
23 But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.
God even told them that He would send the hornets before them. God would use the hornets to trouble the inhabitants of the Promised Land and help Israel win the battle. That was the promise of God to all of the Children of Israel.
In Joshua 18, Joshua was, in effect, calling them Slackers because they weren’t pursuing God’s promise for themselves. They weren’t inhabiting the promise of God for themselves and their families.
But I told you there were 2 passages of scripture that caught my attention when God started dealing with me about this message. And there was another group of people I want to talk about: the Strivers.
And the coast of the children of Dan went out too little for them: therefore the children of Dan went up to fight against Leshem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and possessed it, and dwelt therein, and called Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their father.
Before I go any farther, there’s something very important about this verse that I need to point out. Dan was one of the tribes who hadn’t claimed their possession. They were one of the tribes that Joshua had basically called Slackers. I would like to think that maybe the words of Joshua that day stirred them. Or that an individual or a family of Dan got stirred up and started hungering and thirsting for God’s promises. But the events of this verse happened over 20 years later.
There is quite a story leading up to this desire to possess their inheritance and more. I want to focus on the spies and their message that inspired Dan to possess their promise. Five spies had gone in and searched out the country and this is the account of their report.
7 Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man.
8 And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol: and their brethren said unto them, What say ye?
9 And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land.
10 When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land: for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth.
Laish is just a different name for the city of Leshem. The spies had found a people who thought they were so secure, they were living their lives without care or caution. There was seemingly no leadership to govern them; to keep them stirred up to vigilance.
So the spies brought back the message of encouragement to Dan. Don’t be slothful. Arise and go up against them and possess the land because God has already given it into your hands. The last phrase of verse 10 is so amazing. The promise of their inheritance was that there is no want of anything there. Everything you will ever need, God has supplied.
Obviously, the tribe of Dan was changed. They were no longer satisfied with someone else’s possession. In fact, they weren’t satisfied with what they had already been promised so they got up and got busy. They took God at His word and they engaged the battle and God gave them victory. He increased their borders. He increased their possession. He gave them more than what was promised them.
We live in a day and time when it is so easy to get complacent. It is so tempting to want to sit on the sidelines and do nothing. It’s so enticing to be at ease in Zion. But the things that God has promised us in His word are too wonderful and the things He has spoken to us through His Spirit are too amazing for us to be satisfied with anything less than getting up and engaging the battle and possessing the promises of God.
Seven tribes had been willing to live outside of what God had promised them. They were willing to survive on the fruits of someone else’s possession. Joshua called them Slackers. I don’t want be a Slacker. And yet, I’m afraid that for me to be completely honest with myself and you, that would too often describe me. That’s who I have been more than once in my lifetime.
My prayer for this message (this blog post) was that it would stir me and others to not be Satisfied with how things are. That we would be stirred to not be satisfied with being at ease in Zion. I need to hear and listen to the message of the Word of God when it tells me about the nature of God and His promises.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
God is not a Slacker when it comes to His promises and we can’t afford to be slackers concerning those promises. We can’t be slack in claiming God’s promises for ourselves and our families. We must be Strivers.
It’s not enough to seek to know God. It’s not enough to seek to possess His promises. It’s not enough to seek to draw closer to Him. We must strive. You see, there is a difference between seeking and striving.
Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
That word “seek” there means endeavoring or trying. The word “strive” means laboring fervently or contending or struggling (as with an adversary).
We can’t and won’t find Satisfaction with anything less than God’s good things. And we can’t and won’t find Satisfaction with them until we are hungering and thirsting after them. We can’t and won’t be satisfied until we are contending for those things.
It appears to me that the difference between Slackers & Strivers is their level of Satisfaction with where they are right now. The Slackers are Satisfied with where they are and the Strivers are not.
So, as you read this post, are you satisfied? If so, I’m afraid for you because you’re in a dangerous place. But if you’re not satisfied, I want to challenge you to find a place of prayer and start contending for the promises of God. Not just for yourself, but also for your family, and for your church, and for those that your church has the potential to reach with the message of the gospel and with the Love of Christ.
The world can’t afford for the church to be slack. We can’t afford for the church to be slack. We must be striving for the promises of God.
Are you Satisfied?