David wrote Psalm 103; it is truly a most beautiful psalm. It reminds us of the wonderful God that we have. I wish to encourage you with this psalm.
Verse 1: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” David here calls upon his soul and all of his faculties and power to magnify and praise God. We also should praise God with all of our being because of the wonderful God that we have.
Verses 2 – 5: “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.” David here begins to enumerate the wonderful nature of our God and the benefits that we receive from Him. First and foremost is that He forgives us all our iniquities. He is a righteous God, and we deserve condemnation and destruction, but His nature is to be merciful and to forgive. Next, since He designed and created us and is the great physician, He can heal any disease that afflicts our bodies. Then, He is all powerful and can redeem us from any force that might destroy us. And finally, He blesses us with His love and kindness and satisfies our desires with good things. All the temporal and spiritual blessings we receive come from Him.
Verses 6 – 12: “The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” The Lord is a righteous and just God who has special care and mercy for those who are oppressed and helpless, whether that is the orphan and the widow, or each of us when we need God’s help. He has demonstrated His nature throughout time as recorded in the Bible. We see His nature demonstrated in His interaction with the Israelites from Moses onward. The Israelites were a difficult people, who complained and were rebellious, yet He did not totally destroy them, but He was slow to anger and abounded in mercy. Even today, He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us as we deserve, but is merciful and compassionate towards us. The height of the heavens about the earth is used to illustrate the magnitude of His mercy to us if we fear and honor Him. When we come to Him in repentance, He forgives our sins and removes them from us as far as the east is from the west; this illustrates the fact that our sins are totally removed.
Verses 13 – 16: “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” God created us and knows all about us; He loved His creation and demonstrated that love by giving His only begotten Son so that we should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” If we humble ourselves before Him and fear Him, He gives us His grace. James 4:6 “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” He remembers that we are but dust and that our lives are very short and soon we are gone and forgotten upon the earth. So, he pities us and gives us His favor.
Verses 17 – 18: “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.” In contrast to our short, temporary life here on earth, God’s mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. It extends from one generation to the next. His blessings are upon everyone who truly seeks to please Him and keep His word.
Verse 19: “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.” We need to remember that Yahweh our God is ruling over all creation from His throne in Heaven and we are nothing compared to Him. He is almighty and is Lord over all kingdoms and authorities.
Verses 20 – 22: “Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure. Bless the Lord, all His works, in all places of His dominion.” David calls upon the angels of God, who serve Him but are mightier than we, to praise Him because of how wonderful He is. David also calls upon all of God’s creation throughout the universe to praise and glorify the Lord. This is similar to what David writes in Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” All of God’s creation is evidence of His wisdom and glory. God’s creation praises Him. The intent seems to be that God is so wonderful that everything should magnify and praise Him.
I hope you appreciate how wonderful our God is. Psalm 103 reminds us of some of the characteristics of His nature. It encourages us to meditate upon who He is. It encourages us to worship and praise Him. It encourages us to fear Him. Like David, we too should remind ourselves to “Bless the Lord, O my soul!”