When Your Soul is Tempted to be Despondent, Part 2
May 17, 2020
Over the past couple of months I’ve thought several times of a popular and catchy, but ridiculous song from the late 1980s:
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now
That’s much easier said than done, isn’t it? And, of course, the song offers no real reason to be happy and no good reason to stop worrying. Just “be happy.”
Another song writer wrote a better song about being happy. It might be that King David penned this song, though we don’t know for sure. Regardless, the song is filled with a clear admonition for us to express our happiness by praising God. Throughout the song, rather than lamenting his suffering, he reminds himself — and us — of the many reasons to praise the Lord for His goodness to us. I speak of Psalm 103.
When we struggle to praise God or be content in whatever circumstances we are, it is because we are focused on wrong objectives. We want wrong things for wrong reasons and in wrong ways. In order to praise God and be grateful and content, we need a new way to think. Our minds need to be renewed. And that is exactly what this song does for us — it renews our minds and transforms our thoughts so that we can move from ingratitude to gratitude, and from despair and despondency to joy and praise.
Last week we noted that in this psalm, the writer addresses himself and he compels himself to praise God. His problem is not his circumstances; his problem is that he is thinking wrongly about his circumstances and about the sovereign God who is over the circumstances. This song corrects his — and our — faulty thinking.
We can summarize the message of Psalm 103 this way:
When tempted with despondency, the believer always has reason to praise God.
From the second part of this hymn, we are exhorted with four more reasons to praise Yahweh.
- Let Your Praise be Stimulated by Who God Is (vv. 6-14)
- God is (and always is) righteous (vv. 6-7)
- God is (and always is) gracious (vv. 8-9)
- God is (and always is) forgiving (vv. 10-13)
- God is (and always is) mindful (v. 14)
- Let Your Praise be Stimulated by Who Man is (vv. 15-16)
- Let Your Praise be Stimulated by What God Does (vv. 17-19)
- He is loyal to His people (vv. 17-18)
- He rules wisely from Heaven (v. 19)
- Let Your Praise be Part of a Universal Chorus of Praise (vv. 20-22)
- All creation and created beings praise Yahweh (vv. 20-21)
- We (corporately and individually) praise Yahweh (v. 22)
Download the rest of this sermon on Psalm 103:6-22.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.