Summer Daily Devotional - Psalm 103

The Key to Joy

The Key to Joy

“Praise the Lord, O my soul;
All my inmost being, praise his holy name.”

So you’re running out the front door, about to be late to that important appointment… You pause at the threshold to do a brief mental inventory of all your necessary items for the day:

Wallet? Check.

Phone? Check.

Work bag? Check.

That important document I need to bring? Check.

Keys? Che—wait a second… Oh no… No no no… Where are my car keys?

You probably already know the rest of the story. You spend the next 10 minutes frantically combing the countertops, tearing your house apart drawer by drawer, and cushion by cushion, desperately trying to recover that small, yet essential piece of metal that happens to be the ONLY thing that allows your car to do what it was meant to do: take you where you want to go.

…If you’ve never been there, please just humor the rest of us.

See, here’s the thing:

Just as you and I are prone to an everyday forgetfulness that causes us to misplace the key to our car, we are just as, if not more, prone to a type of spiritual amnesia that will cause us to misplace the key to our joy.

Psalm 103 starts out with the Psalmist commanding himself, his own soul, to praise God:

“Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.”

Similarly, he closes like this in verse 22:

“Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, O my soul.”

Unlike some of the other Psalms we’ve looked at thus far, this psalm (as well as Psalm 104) isn’t a cry to God for help. It’s not a commentary on suffering. This is a case study of someone so bursting with joy, thankfulness, happiness, gratitude and sheer ecstasy that they couldn’t help but write a song commanding literally everything, everywhere to pronounce a blessing on the Lord (v.22).

What reasons does the Psalmist provide for giving you such a bold command?Let’s take a look:

(v. 4) He has crowned you with love and compassion
(v. 5) He satisfies your desires.
(v. 8) He is compassionate and gracious.
(v. 19) He has established his throne in heaven and He rules over all.

Now, these are all great reasons to praise God! However, the main idea is found smack-dab in the middle (not unintentionally) of Psalm 103, in verses 11 and 12: “

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

There it is: the glorious truth of the Gospel, contained in the middle of this Psalm of overflowing joy.

Psalm 103 tells us this: even higher than the heavens, so great was the Father’s love for you that He made a Way to deliver you from your sin; a Way to remove your transgressions; a Way to pay your impossible debt; a Way to rescue you from the eternal death that you deserved, and a Way to usher you into eternal, glorious, death-defying life with Him.

Jesus Christ is that Way (Jn. 14:6).

So what’s the point?

If you want to drive your car where you’re trying to go, you have to remember where your car keys are at. If you want to experience real, true, abiding joy, you have to remember where your Truth is at: contained within the glorious person of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 103 points to the fact that Jesus himself is the only key to joy, because Jesus brings us to the Father, the ultimate source of joy.

So if Jesus is the key to joy, the question becomes this: What have you done with Jesus?

Have you forgotten Him somewhere?
Is He in the back of some junk drawer?
Have you buried Him underneath all the paperwork in your office?
Maybe He’s lost in the shuffle of your backpack?
Are you blaming someone else for how you’ve misplaced Him?
What would it look like for you to place Jesus somewhere in your life that you can’t miss Him?
What will that take?

Take heart my friend.

Jesus thankfully, unlike your car keys, isn’t waiting to be found by you. He’s actually the one that found you. He is, right here, right now in this moment, reaching out His nail-scarred hand to you once more, inviting you again into His peace, offering to take the burdens you’ve been carrying and fill you with His joy. And when He does, you’ll find that you can truly declare, along with the Psalmist, a deep exhale of praise:

“Praise the Lord, O my soul;
All my inmost being, praise his holy name.”

Won’t you take His hand now?

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