Tonight we will examine Psalm 103. This Psalm can be divided up into 3 basic parts. Part 1, which includes verses 1 Ė 2, David invites his own soul to praise the Lord. Part 2, which includes verses 3 Ė 19, David magnifies the great benefits we receive from God, and finally part 3, which includes verses 20 Ė 22, David calls on the abode of heaven to join him in praise to God.
As we will see, this Psalm contains one of the most affectionate sentiments of gratitude to God for His tender mercies, and it persuades us to continue to trust in God, and be obedient to Him. Lets us begin in verse 1:
Psalm 103:1 A Psalm of David. 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:
David is calling on his entire being to give his best to God. He wants to make sure that he is fully focused on praising God. He is doing exactly what God wants from us when we worship Him and praise Him.
Deuteronomy 6:5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Friends, we should have this same attitude when we worship God in spirit and in truth. We need to call on our own souls to be fully engaged in our worship to God. This means when the preacher preaches the Word of God, He should be excited about what he His doing, and those listening should listen careful and enjoy the message because the message is coming from Godís Word.
When we sing praises to God, we need to think about the words we are singing and allow our souls to be stirred up by the message we are singing to God and to those around us.
When we pray we should be listing closely and focusing in on what is being prayed for.
When we partake of the Lordís Supper, our minds should be going back to the cross thinking about the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and when we give we should do so cheerfully knowing that the money will be used to further Godís kingdom.
If we come to worship with a half-hearted attitude, then we have not called on our entire being, we are not giving God our best. Now when David says, ďBless the Lord oh my soul,Ē he is proclaiming his thankfulness for Godís love and mercy. Next, he says do not forget all His benefits, and in the following verses David will mention several of the benefits that come from God, and we would do good to pay attention to them because when we reflect on the great benefits that God offers us, it will help remind us to worship Him with all our heart, soul, and strength.
Psalm 103:3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,† 4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
One of the greatest
benefits we get from God is the forgiveness of our sins because without that,
we could never have a relationship with God, which means that we would never be
able to make it to heaven. There is also the healing of diseases, which could
include physical and spiritual ones. In the OT times and even in the NT times
when† miracles were still being done, God
healed many physical diseases, but he also healed spiritual disease, which
comes from our sin. He gave us the cure for this by sending His son to die on
the cross, and everyone who is willing to embrace the gospel call and will continue
in the way of the Lord will continually be cleansed from the disease of sin.
As John says:
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
When we choose to accept God grace by obeying the gospel, God will redeem us from the destruction that awaits us in hell. The reason He does this is because of His love and †tender mercy for us.
Psalm 103:5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The Bible uses the eagle several times to make its
point. In our verse, I believe David is referring to how the eagle molts. Every
year they get rid of their old feathers as they grow new ones. Like the eagle, the
Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
I donít know if you have ever noticed this in your life, but I have. When you get busy doing work for the Lord, you begin to forget about the bad things in your life or what you did in the past because you are focused on the task at hand, and it gives you a renewed strength to keep pressing on.
When you labor in Godís kingdom, it will make you feel good knowing that you glorifying God and that you are helping the kingdom grow. As Paul said:
1 Corinthians 15:58 †Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.†
You will never regret the time you spend working for the Lord.
Psalm 103:6 The
LORD executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed.† 7 He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of
David points out another important characteristic about God; God executes righteousness and justice. Many today only want to talk about Godís mercy and His grace, but they want ignore the fact that God is a just God and His mercy and grace only goes so far. This is why David says God will not always strive with us nor keep His anger forever.
I can remember having a conversation with someone that belonged to a denomination. I was† teaching that God demands obedience from us or we will not make it to heaven, and she told me she did not think that Jesus would keep someone from going to heaven because He loved everyone and was full of grace. This lady had this attitude that I was talking about how some only want to focus on God mercy and grace, but I preceded to give her example after example of how God demanded obedience in the OT and the NT, and how Jesus would judge us on the last day in according to the Word of God.
John 12:48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.†
Therefore, God is not just a God of mercy and grace, He is also a God of wrath and punishment and this can clearly be seen throughout the Bible. There have been many who tried to test Godís limitations and when they did, they found out pretty quick that Godís limitations do not reach out to infinity because He would unleash His wrath against them.
For example, in the OT,
God would bless the king of
Moreover the people of Ammon crossed over the Jordan to fight against Judah
also, against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim, so that
God was getting tired of the Jews repeating their sins over and over again, and He tells them to call out to their false Godís they keep embracing, but we see their response in:
Judges 10:15 And the
children of Israel said to the LORD, "We have sinned! Do to us whatever
seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray."† 16 So they put away the foreign gods
from among them and served the LORD. And His soul could no longer endure the
When these Jews showed true repentance by confessing their sin and putting their idols away God had mercy of them because He could not stand their misery any longer.
We are fortunate that we have a merciful God who is as patient as He is. If He were not, we probably would not be alive right now. God has the same characteristics in the NT as well. †
2 Peter 3:9 †The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
God is patient and He wants everyone to have the chance to be saved, but this time span will not last forever because Jesus will come back again, and everyone will be judged. When that day comes, if we are found outside of Christ or have become unfaithful, we will be cast into hell for eternity where we will remain separated from God forever. While God is patient, He is also just.
David also points out Godís
mercy, and He uses Moses and the children of
Psalm 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
If God dealt with us according to our sins, none of us would be alive today and this is why we should remind ourselves daily of the great mercy and grace that we are privileged to. †
Psalm 103:11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;† 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.† 13 As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
David is stressing how merciful God is to those who fear Him or who show reverence toward Him. To show reverence to God means to respect Him and honor Him by keeping His commandments. When we do this, we can know that God will show mercy to us.
From verse 12, we learn that when God forgives the sin in our life, it is removed as far as the east is from west, which means it is completely gone. Sometimes, we struggle with our past sins because we have a hard time letting them go because we are so ashamed of what we did, but we need to realize that when we repent our sins, God has forgiven them and forgotten them, and we must do our best to forgive ourselves and put our past sins behind us so we can continue forward without our past sins weighing us down. †
I love verse 13 because every parent can relate to it. God pities us just as father pities his child. When children are growing up, they are going to make all kinds of mistakes. We should discipline our children when they make mistakes, but when you do discipline them donít do it when you are angry or you might lose control and hurt them.
When you discipline them, you are not being mean, instead you are showing them how much you love them because discipline is necessary in order to teach your children that there are consequences to their bad behaviors and wrongful actions. When we fail to discipline our children, they will grow up thinking that they can get away with just about anything because they have no fear of consequences and this will hinder them from respecting God and keeping His commands.
Of course, I do not believe that we should discipline our children for every little thing they do because we want them to be able to figure some things out on their own. While we should be patient and merciful to our children, there is line that should not be crossed, but when they do, we need to discipline them, so they will grow up with a respect for God and for those around them.
This is the same way God is with us. He is our Father, and we are his children. There are many things we do wrong, and God pities us and shows us mercy, but that mercy only goes so far before there is a consequence. But even when we are corrected by God, He does it because he loves us. This exactly what,
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives."† 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?† 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.† 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?† 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.† 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
So God is merciful, and He is just. †
Psalm 103: 14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.† 15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.† 16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.† 17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children,† 18 To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
David is pointing out how weak we are as humans and how short our life is compared to our everlasting God. We are compared to the grass or flowers in the field, which quickly grows and dies within a short time. He also gives us a visual illustration of how fragile we are and how God could easily destroy us, but because of His love and mercy, He does not. Since Godís mercy extends from everlasting to everlasting, it means His mercy will be there for every generation until the end of time.
One important thing I want to point out about Godís mercy is that it is conditional. Again, David points out that God gives His mercy to those who fear Him by remembering His commandments and doing them. This same thing holds true to the Christian today. If we want to enjoy the mercy and grace of God, we must fear Him by keeping His commandments.
19 The LORD has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.
Since Godís kingdom rules over all, this means we are under His authority. Therefore, if we want to be pleasing to Him, we must submit to His authority. Since God has authority over everything, David concludes his Psalm by requesting that everyone join in and praise God almighty with their entire being.
Psalm 103:20 Bless the LORD, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word.† 21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.† 22 Bless the LORD, all His works, In all places of His dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!
What a fitting end to a beautiful Psalm which shows how thankful we should be that we have a God that love us so much that He gives us His mercy and His grace. We need to count our blessing every day and thank God for the many benefits He gives to those who love Him and strive to walk in His commands. We have learned from this Psalm that God deserves our entire heart, soul, and strength in our worship and in our daily lives. †