Psalm 103

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 2, 2019 1 comments

by Katie Erickson

I attended a Lutheran high school, and each school year we would have a Bible passage as the year’s theme. One of the years (I honestly don’t remember which), our theme passage for the year was Psalm 103, I believe verses 1-5 specifically. I decided to memorize that passage because memorization is a great way to keep Scripture close to your heart. I know I did memorize those verses pretty well (I still remember them), but somewhere around verse 7 or 8 I fizzled out on my memorization. But even without having memorized the whole 22 verses of this psalm, it’s still a great one to read through and take a deeper look at!

This psalm is one of general thanksgiving and praise to God for the blessings that God has given to us. While much of it does have to do with Israel specifically, we as followers of Jesus Christ today can still relate this psalm to our lives.

It starts out full of praise in verses 1-5: “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

When we praise God, it begins with our self and our attitude. When the psalmist talks about praising God with his “soul” and all his “inmost being” (verse 1), that’s his whole person - there’s no part of him that is not praising God! I can only imagine what it would be like to be so lost in praising God that we may praise Him that fully with our entire selves. It’ll be awesome when we finally get to experience that in heaven someday.

Praising God focuses first on His “holy name.” Remember God’s name, which is linked very closely to His reputation in Hebrew culture, causes us to remember all the things that God has done for us and the benefits that we have received by being His people (verse 2). He forgives our sins, He heals our diseases, He redeems us, He gives us love and compassion, and He satisfies our desires (verses 3-5). Now, all that doesn’t mean we’ll get everything we ask for since our desires are often rooted in our sinful nature; but it does mean that when our desires are aligned with God’s will, He will give them to us.

The next section of this psalm (verses 6-19) is a little more specifically geared toward God being the King over Israel. Verse 6 introduces this section by saying, “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” God’s focus is on righteousness (right living) and justice. God desires to right what is wrong with this world by judging the oppressors.

In verses 7-12, the psalmist discusses God’s character as revealed to Moses. Through Israel’s sins in Moses’ day such as the people making the golden calf, God revealed that He will be gracious and forgive them. God does not give us the punishment we deserve either but instead He continues to love us with His great love and give us His grace.

The psalm goes on in verses 13-19 to explain God’s compassion on His children because He is our Creator and our Father. God’s love will be with us forever because our identity is in Him! We should never take His grace and forgiveness for granted, because we will keep messing up and He will continue to be perfect and loving toward us. Verse 19 concludes this section: “The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.” God created us and this world that we live in, so He is in charge over it. We should praise Him because His Kingdom is one of love, grace, and forgiveness when we are His followers, instead of one of harsh judgment for our continual sins.

The last few verses of this psalm return to praising God: “Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul” (verses 20-22). It’s not just us as created people who praise God but all of the angelic hosts praise Him too! All creatures, whether in heaven or on earth, are called to praise God because He reigns over us all.

What has God done in your life to deserve your praise? If you can’t think of anything, remember the fact that you are a living human being; that only happened because God wants YOU in this world. You are part of HIs plan to redeem this world back to that perfect state where all of creation will be praising Him forever. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, God will forgive all your sins - praise Him for that. He will satisfy our desires with good things that line up with His will - praise Him for that. Praise Him for the life that He has given you and what is yet to come.

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Unknown said...

This is our family Psalm! Very well done, Katie. Thank you!