The other morning I was sitting in my home office reading the Bible when I came across Psalm 103. I was so moved that I was on the verge of tears by the end of the first stanza.
Now, if you've grown up in Christianity, you would probably recognize different lines from this psalm sprinkled into musical choruses on the radio or in church. Yet as you read it as it was originally pieced together, several things begin to stand out.
As with many biblical texts it follows a mirror pattern called a chiasm. The first five verses form a stanza that mirror the last three verses. These sections are calling for the author to praise God in the first part and then for all of the universe to praise God in the last part. This is followed by more reasoning for the praise in verses six through thirteen which mirror verses fourteen to nineteen. The writer uses these verses to contrast the Lord's great compassion with man's great weakness.
I realize this is dipping into a more scholarly accounting of this beautiful poetry, but consider this for a moment. God inspired and guided a mere human being to sit down and express his weakness and tendency to forget how good and great God is with beautiful structure and patterns as if architecting a mansion, all the while knowing that another man thousands of years later would be awestruck by the simple impassioned statement to "forget not" everything that God had done for him. Every piece of the his ancient poem is intricately laced together to glorify God and offer humanity truth and hope.
That is an amazing work of God and just a taste of the gems he's left for us between the pages of the Bible. While it's true that some of these gems are buried deeper than others and most of us aren't trained to identify a chiasm, if we allow ourselves to be intimidated by the depth of Scripture, we will miss out. After all, it doesn't take a scholar to appreciate verses eleven to thirteen of this Psalm when it says:
"For as high as the heaves are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him."
The beautiful truths of those line are lying right on the surface for us. Don't let the fear of what you don't know keep you from enjoying the riches of God's word. Never forget, they were meant for YOU.