This psalm begins with David stirring his soul to praise the Lord. David exhorts his own heart to private worship of the Lord. The public worship of the Lord on the Lord’s Day is vital to the spiritual life of the believer. We neglect going to church and worshipping with other believers at our peril. The Lord has tied the preaching of the Word to our perseverance in the faith.

Private worship also is imperative to the Christian life. It is often what distinguishes a sincere Christian from a hypocrite. Jesus warned in Matthew 6 of externalism in religion without sincere private worship of the Lord. Even noble religious activities such as giving, fasting, and praying he warned were of no substance if done only for the applause of men or to congratulate ourselves.

So, if you haven’t made a regular practice of isolating yourself to a private place in order to worship the Lord, then if Christ means something to you it is time to begin. This psalm gives us a design to follow. David first of all speaks to his soul about the name of the Lord. The name of the Lord is holy, meaning he alone is God; there is no other. He is pure light, not darkness at all in him. Adoration of God is conjoined with worship, and the Scriptures guide us in praising the Lord. So begin with it.

Next, David reminds himself not to forget the benefits of the Lord. In Romans 1, Paul teaches that endemic to sinful man is an absence of showing honor to the Lord or being thankful for the benefits of the Lord. David, like Paul, values the spiritual benefits of salvation above all others. David begins in verse 3 to itemize these benefits.

He reminds himself of the Lord forgiving all his iniquities and healing all his diseases (verse 3). Iniquities mean perverse acts, actions against what is God’s righteous standards and worthy of judgment. So long as sin is unforgiven, God and men remain enemies. In Christ, all the sin of a believer is wiped away. David, under the inspiration of God’s Spirit, prophetically anticipates this. 

In verse 12, he writes: “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Sin is so far removed it will never appear again. It is impossible to calculate this benefit, but the Christian is assured the Lord no longer counts sin against the believer. It is a benefit worthy of bringing up in private worship. If you have forgiveness of sin, you have everything.

The benefit of “healing all your diseases,” points to the Lord’s inner work in the soul of breaking the power of sin. The believer has the promise of one day being completely free of not only the guilt of sin, but the corruption sin works in both body and soul. Christians have bodily diseases in this world that afflict them, as well as spiritual ones.

Malice in the soul is like a fever in the body. Leprosy is comparable to lust; pride to insanity or blindness. Every Christian who battles the inward sins in the soul praises God for the promise of one day being completely free of this contagion.

Another benefit of the Lord is “He redeems your life from the pit (verse 4).” The pit means destruction or death. Redeem has the meaning of buying back or paying a debt. The wages of sin is death, and the gift of life is Christ Jesus. He pays in full the debt of sin, conquering death. 

The Lord replaces death in his people with the “crown of steadfast love and mercy.” It is a good bargain for the believer. He goes from misery and death to enjoying the mercy and love of the Lord forever. 

We see another benefit of the Lord in verse 5: “Who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Restlessness or discontentment is the natural condition of the sinner. The creation contains many good benefits, but they prove to be empty and fleeting in the absence of knowing the Lord.

Paul, in Philippians 4, writes that in Christ he learned to be content no matter the creaturely comforts or lack of them in his life. His soul soared with life in the Lord whether he was in plenty or want, in prison or walking free of it. Can you be content in this same way?

The path to it is faith. Faith worships the Lord, enumerating the benefits of the Lord before him as a matter of consistent practice in private worship. Try David’s pattern this week.