Psalm 103

Psalm 103

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Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Of David.

103   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 iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
  who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
  who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
  The LORD works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
  He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
  The LORD is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
  He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
  He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
  For as high as the heavens 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.
  For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.
  As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
  for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
  But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
  to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.
  The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
  Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his word,
    obeying the voice of his word!
  Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
    his ministers, who do his will!
  Bless the LORD, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
  Bless the LORD, O my soul!


Psalm 103 Commentary

by Hank Workman

As the phrase goes, “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it” refers to someone who must accept the results, usually unpleasant, of something they’ve done.

We’ve each laid in such a bed at times.  Our foolish choices have brought results that are inescapable in life.  Our pride has leveled us to the point of losing everything.  Our waywardness has brought about consequences we live with sometimes the rest of our lives.  David, for one, knew of such a bed of suffering.  After his sin with Bathsheba, the consequences of his choices followed.  Fortunately, David sought forgiveness and was given by his God, but the bed of affliction he lay upon him was there the rest of his days.  Yes, our God is one of forgiveness, but let us not forget He is also a God of justice.

G. Campbell Morgan says Psalm 103 “is perhaps the most perfect song of pure praise to be found in the Bible.  Through the centuries it has been sung by glad hearts, and today is as fresh and full of beauty as ever.”

As the David penned these words there are no events tied to what brought about this song of praise.  What David did was focus on God’s work and ultimately the personal beauty offered to him by God. God forgives our sins.  He heals our diseases.  It is our God who redeems us from death and crowns with compassion and love.  These are noteworthy in themselves.

For not one thing God has given us is deserved.  Not one.  We each have had our own journey that has been hard.  We’ve learned more of God in the fires of life.  We’ve made foolish choices and find ourselves in a bed of suffering.  Yet, our God in all of these works out our life if we allow Him, even if we’re still laying in the bed of our choices.  For it is our God who can still work good when our hearts are humbled before Him.

For the grace of God is stronger than our sin.  He does not harbor His anger forever.  He does not treat us with what we deserve.  He does not repay us according to our sin if we have turned in humbleness.  Yes, the bed may not disappear but there’s something far greater going on than our relief.  It is simply the very grace of God in our lives.

In a tangibly visual picture, God takes our sins when we’ve sought forgiveness and throws them as far as the east is to the west.  He remembers them no more.  What beauty!  What hope!

You may be laying in a bed of choices.  Turn your thoughts to praise of God who has forgiven you for all that transpired.  Know beyond a shadow of a doubt He has thrown these sins as far as the east is to the west.  Even though the consequences of your sin may follow you throughout this life, there is one thing greater than that.  It is the very grace of God made tangible in our lives through the forgiveness of our sins.

Psalm 103 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

How long do you strive? It seems like an odd question on the surface. Let me rephrase it.

Where is the limit of your patience and trust? Let’s say a friend were to ask you for $50. It’s not that much money and they need it, so you agree to give it to them. But let’s say they ask you for $50 every day for a week. Now you are becoming restless, right? After a little while, your friend ups the amount to $500 per week. You can see where this is going.

So, the question is, how long do you strive with that person? Where is your limit? Where do you finally draw the line and say no?

God uses this term “strive” to explain how the Holy Spirit has pursued mankind since the beginning.

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.  9  He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.

Psalms 103:8-9 NASB 

The first part of this passage is heavily quoted. Psalm 103:8 has become a mantra for many today – and with good reason. However, it’s interesting the consider the very next verse. God will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. God used this same word back in Genesis when He decided to send a flood. Mankind had become so perverted and evil that He could no longer strive with them.

Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

Genesis 6:3 NASB 

120 years was the amount of time God gave to humanity before He would flood to earth. In His grace, He gave a warning. In His mercy, there was a clear boundary. We certainly didn’t deserve it, but He allowed us the opportunity to respond in the time He made available. Not only this, He provided the means for anyone who feared Him to come forward and receive grace and mercy by turning from their fallen ways.

Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

Psalms 103:13 NASB

Today, we live in a similar situation. Evil is running rampant. God has placed a time limit on our existence. But, in His grace and mercy, He has provides a way for those who fear Him to turn and repent from their sinful ways. Just like in Genesis, He has agreed not to strive with man forever, but He has also given His Son for us which proves this verse in Psalm 103 to be true – He will not keep His anger forever.

Knowing all of this, what should we do? We should turn and repent while we have time. God has been overwhelmingly merciful in His dealing with us. The only logical conclusion is to praise Him, fear Him, and love Him.

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