Psalm 103

Psalm 103
Bless the LORD, O My Soul
Of David.

(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 forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
(4) who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
(5) who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

(6) The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
(7) He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
(8) The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
(9) He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.
(10) He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
(11) For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
(12) as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
(13) As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
(14) For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

(15) As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;
(16) for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.
(17) But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children,
(18) to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.
(19) The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.

(20) Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
(21) Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
(22) Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

A Psalm of David. David was a man who knew suffering and pain. He was the youngest of many brothers, all of whom were better suited to success and certainly to a kingship, according to his own earthly father. He was anointed as God’s chosen king over Israel between ten and fifteen years old but did not become king until he was thirty. For possibly two decades he struggled to find his place in life, and many of those years he was hiding or defending himself against the jealous king Saul. Then, as king he was betrayed by friends and his own son. He committed sins and suffered consequences. David knew pain. He knew sin, and he knew God’s forgiveness.

One thing David’s life and words teach us is: no matter what, praise the Lord. David knew pain and fear and tribulation, but he also knew that despite the pain he was never alone.

The New King James version titles Psalm 103: Praise for the LORD’s Mercies. A Psalm of David. The International Children’s Bible titles it: Praise to the God of Love. Of David. The Good News translation is titled: The Love of God. The Hebrew Title. By David.

Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: 
who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, 
who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV

So many things to praise God for! Do not forget! And not only does David remind God’s children to praise Him with song and dance and words but also with our very souls. This psalm is a beautiful call to worship. For everyone and everything. God is our Creator and Redeemer and Father and all that we are calls out to worship Him.

We praise the Lord for all He has done. First and foremost, we praise Him for the forgiveness of sin. By the sacrifice of Jesus, we are saved from the wrath of God. Because of Jesus, when the Father looks upon us, He sees His children washed clean despite their human failings. When He looks upon us, He sees the sacrifice of His Son.

Secondly, God cares for the bodies He gave us. He heals us of disease, whether spiritual or physical. God provides. He protects us “from destruction.” We do not what all He protects us from, but make no mistake, there is evil in a realm we cannot see with our eyes. Within that realm, God watches over us. Praise the Lord.

God “crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies.” He lavishes His covenant hesed love upon our heads. He pours down His love and grace upon His children.

And lastly, the Father gives us nourishment. He provides what we need to survive, but what He supplies is “good.” So good, that it “renews our youth.”

Here David begins his list of blessings received, which he rehearses as themes and arguments for praise. He selects a few of the choicest pearls from the casket of divine love, threads them on the string of memory, and hangs them about the neck of gratitude.

Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
GOD makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work, opened up his plans to all Israel.
GOD is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he's rich in love.
He doesn't endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children, GOD feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we're made of mud.
Men and women don't live very long; like wildflowers they spring up and blossom.
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly, leaving nothing to show they were here.
GOD's love, though, is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, making everything right for them and their children as they follow his Covenant ways and remember to do whatever he said.
Psalm 103:6-18 the Message

God makes everything right. That is such a comfort in hard times. The NIV says:

The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. (v6)

Righteousness: the quality of being morally right or justifiable (Oxford Dictionary)

What is Righteousness? Righteousness is an attribute that belongs to God, the Lawgiver, and is manifested in His laws. No man can be justified by his own works apart from God’s ordinance. Therefore, righteousness is a wonderful gift from God to humanity through His love: it is the God-given quality imputed to man upon believing in the Son of God.

I love this section of “God is . . . “

God is righteous.

God is just.

God is compassionate and gracious.

God is slow to anger and abounding in love.

Although God gets angry, He does not stay angry. Nor does He anger easily. He is right and just, compassionate and gracious FIRST. Oh, that we had an ounce of this temperament for those around us!

What God says is Truth, and God called Himself these things in the book of Exodus, as recorded by Moses.

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.
Exodus 34:6-7a NIV

There are consequences for sin. David knew this. We know this. The second half of Exodus 34:7 (b) says this: God will see the punishment of sins from generation to generation. There are stories of that in the Old Testament.

Yet God is righteous, just, compassionate, and gracious! Because of the Redeeming power of the blood of Jesus Christ, we know His forgiveness. He takes our sin, and He hurls it as far as the east is from the west!

As high as the sky is above the earth is His love for us. We don’t know and cannot even comprehend this distance. To us, there is nothing up there. As far as the east is from the west, He has thrown our sins. The east and the west never meet. There is never a point on this planet when one continues west, reaches a point, and is now going east. It does not happen.

We are but dust. He knows; He formed us. And yet, His love and mercies know no boundaries.

How beautiful are these words? How beautiful is our God?

GOD has set his throne in heaven; he rules over us all. He's the King!
So bless God, you angels, ready and able to fly at his bidding, quick to hear and do what he says.
Bless GOD, all you armies of angels, alert to respond to whatever he wills.
Bless GOD, all creatures, wherever you are- everything and everyone made by GOD.

And you, O my soul, bless GOD!
Psalm 103:19-22 the Message

The LORD has established His throne in heaven: David celebrated God’s secure reign from heaven. God is enthroned in heaven, beyond the troubles and corruptions of earth. It is established, and will never be moved.

Pastor David Guzik,

Praise the Lord. His throne was, is, and forever will be established. Established means: having been in existence for a long time and therefore recognized and generally accepted. (Oxford Dictionary)

David’s psalm calls for his own soul to praise God three times! He calls for all of creation to sing the Lord’s praises. He even calls upon the angels and the heavenly hosts. David doesn’t care about the sound of his voice. He doesn’t care if someone else finds his style of worship off putting. He doesn’t care what others think. None of that matters because his soul MUST praise the Lord. It must be so.

Let it be with us. Cast aside our worries and our fears and our insecurities to praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord for He is good.

Father in heaven, may your name be praised throughout the earth and heavens above. You are faithful; you are beautiful; you are good. Thank you, the Creator of all that is and was and will be, for choosing to care about us. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for your Word. May our souls praise You all the days of our lives. Amen.

He xoxo

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