There are many wonderful thoughts that can be found in the book of Psalm and so in today lesson we are going to be examining Psalm 103. This Psalm can be divided up into 3 basic parts. Part 1 which includes verses 1 Ė 2 is where David invites his own soul to praise the Lord. Part 2 which includes verses 3 Ė 19 where David magnifies the great benefits we receive from God and finally part 3 which includes verses 20 Ė 22 David call on the abode of heaven to join him in praise to God.
As you will see this Psalm contains the most affectionate sentiments of gratitude to God for his mercies; and the most consoling motives 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:
Here we see that David is calling upon his entire being to give his best to God. He wants to make sure that he is fully focused upon 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 today when worship God in spirit and in truth. We need to call upon our own souls to be fully engaged in our worship to God. This means that when teach we are excited about teaching Godís Word. When we sing praises to God we need to think about the words that 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 partake of the Lordís Supper our minds should be going to that 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 †wecome to worship with a half hearted attitude then we have not called upon our entire being and therefore we are not giving God our best. Now when David says Bless the Lord oh my soul he is proclaiming his thankfulness for Godís love and mercy. Next he says do not forget all his benefits. Now in the next verses David is going mention several of the benefits that come from God and we would do good to pay attention to them because when we reflect upon the great benefits that God offers to 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 that we get from God is the forgiveness of sins because without that we could never have a relationship with God which means that we would never be able to make it into heaven. There is also the healing of diseases which could include physical ones and spiritual ones. In the OT times and even in the NT times when the miracles were still be done God did heal many of physical diseases but he also healed spiritual disease which comes from our sins. He gave us the cure all for this by sending his son to die on the cross and everyone that is willing to embrace the gospel call and continue in the way of the Lord will have continually be cleansed from the disease of sin and when we choose to do this, this is how God redeems us from the destruction that awaits us in hell. The reason why he does this is because of love for us and because of his tender mercy.
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 it point. In our verse here I believe David is referring to how the Eagle moults. Every year they get rid of their old feather as they grow new ones and so in this sense the children of Israel should become renewed and strengthened by the good that God brings into their life as,
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 the work of the Lord you begin to forget about the bad things in your life or what you did in the past and you focus in on the task at hand and it gives you renewed strength to keep pressing on.
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
Here David points out another important characteristic about God and this is that God does execute righteousness and justice. A lot people today only want to talk about God mercy and His grace but what they donít want to talk about is the fact that God is a just God and that is mercy and grace only extend so far. This is why David says he will not always strive with us nor keep his anger forever.
So 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 through out the Bible. There have been many who tried to test Godís limitation and when they did they found out pretty quick that God limitations did not reach out to infinity and he would unleash his wrath against these people. In our OT lesson we have seen over and over again how God would bless someone to become king but if that king didnít follow Godís way then a prophet would usually come and give him a warning to change his ways and if didnít then there would be consequences.
The same thing is true today as Peter says,
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.
As you can see God patient and he wants everyone to have the chance to be saved but this time span will not last for ever because Jesus will come back again someday and then everyone be judged and if they are found outside of Christ or they have be unfaithful then they will be cast into hell. So, God is just God.
David also points out his mercy and he uses Moses and the children of Israel as example and when you read the story of Moses you will certainly see the mercy of God because over and over again these people rebelled against God and none of them deserved Godís help but he continued to help them but at the same time he showed his wrath on several occasion and many died because of their disobedience. Because of God great mercy David continues on and says this.
Psalm 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
If God dealt with 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 enjoy on a daily basis.
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.
Here David is stressing just how merciful our God is to those who fear him or who show reverence toward him. When some show reverence toward some one the usually means they will abide by their wishes. Which means that God shows mercy to those that seeking after him and who striving to abide by his commands.
From verse 12 we learn that when God forgives the sin in our life that it is removed as far as the east and west which means it completely gone. Sometimes you and I struggle with the past sins that we did because we have a hard time letting it go because we are so ashamed of what we did, but we need to realize that when we repented of that sin that God forgave it and we should do our best to forget it as well.
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 and if you are any kind of parent you will discipline your child when they make these mistakes. You donít discipline them to get your frustration out or to harm them, you discipline them because you love them and you want them to grow up knowing right from wrong. Now one thing we donít do is discipline our children for every little small thing they do because we want them to be able to figure some things out on their own but we all have our limits on how much mercy we will have on them. We even feel sorry for our children when they mess up but we still know what we must do to help them understand that there are consequences to their bad behaviors. †
This is the same thing we can see with God. He is our father and we are his children. There are many things that we do wrong and God pities us and shows 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.†
Now David is point out how weak we are as humans and how short our time is compared to our everlasting God. We are compared to the grass or flower in the field which quickly grows and dies within a short time. It 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 for us he does not. The fact the God mercy extends from everlasting to everlasting this means that his mercy will be there for every generation that comes about until the end of time.
One important thing I want to point out about God mercy is that it is conditional. Again the writer 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 then we must fear God by keeping his commandments and that also includes obeying the commands that are necessary for becoming a child of God.
2 Timothy 2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Please notice that grace is found within Christ and so it should be easy for us to see that if we want to have access to Godís grace then we must be in Christ Jesus. There is a lot of confusion in the religions world on how to be saved. Some say by faith only while others when pressed would agree that a person must believe that Jesus is the son of God and repent and confess Jesus as their Lord but then they will stop there some would suggest that you should say a sinner prayer which does not exist in the Bible. Well, I am here to tell you that yes you must believe, repent, and confess but these acts alone will not put you into Christ because the Bible very clearly shows that baptism in the name of Jesus is what put into Christ.
Galatians 3:27 †For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Romans 6:3 ††3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
Friends the Bible doesnít teach any other way that you can enter into Christ where grace is found other than baptism. So, if you have never been baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins than you do not have access to God grace and no matter how perfect you live your live you will be lost until you make the decision to embrace God grace by obeying the gospel call and being baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins. Then you must do as John says in,
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.
Once we become a Christian we must continue to fear God or we could we say show reverence to him by remembering his commands and doing them by walking in them. Its only when we do this that God will extend his mercy and his grace upon us. The reason why we should take this seriously is because of what verse 19 says,
†19 The LORD has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.
Since Godís kingdom rules over all this means that we are under his authority and 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 all mighty with everything they have.
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 God that love us so much that he gives us his mercy and his grace. We need to count our blessing everyday 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 the Psalm that God deserves our entire heart, soul and strength when we worship him and when live our lives for him.