Psalm 103

Psalm 103

Of David.

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.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for 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 has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.
(Psalm 103:1-22 NIV)

King David spends time in praise and worship of the Lord today.  Thankfully, he wrote down his thoughts so we can join with him many centuries later.  The same God whom King David worshipped in his day is the same God that we choose to worship today.

David breaks his praise and worship into three sections:

  • Personal worship (vv. 1-5)
  • Corporate worship (vv. 6-18)
  • Universal worship (vv. 19-22)

In the first section, David has some personal worship time with the Lord.  David begins and ends this psalm with the same words – “Praise the Lord, my soul”.  If you grew up with a different English translation of the Bible, you might remember this beginning and end as “Bless the Lord, O my soul”.

What is David saying when he talks to his “soul”?  Is this some kind of ancient “self-talk”?  Not at all.

David knows what is going on in his outer, external life – how he interacts with others, what he is doing, his words, his outward emotions to life happening around him.

Now David is taking time to examine his inner life – what’s going on inside him.  What is he experiencing but hasn’t expressed outwardly, what he is feeling, what emotions are stirring within him, the thoughts in his mind.

David is no different than you and I – a thousand, thousand things going on inside, and only a few make it from the inner life to the outer life.  David is ordering his thought life and will and feelings, telling them all to focus on the Lord and Him alone.

In verses 2 – 5, David reminds himself of the benefits of focusing on the Lord – why he is directing his thoughts, will, and emotions to spend time in praise and worship.

And what are those benefits?  forgiveness and restoration (v. 3), redemption (salvation) and righteousness before God (v. 4), blessings and renewal (v. 5).

David, having worshipped the Lord personally, then invites others to join him in corporate worship (vv. 6-18).  David reminds his fellow worshippers of the Lord’s grace and mercy toward His people in verses 8 – 10 as he quotes Moses from Exodus 34:6-7.  David also reminds himself, his fellow worshipers (and us!) of the Lord’s kind, gentle, and fatherly love toward us through the generations (vv. 13-18).

As David closes out this psalm, he flings open the doors of heaven and invites all the universe to join him and the congregants to worship the Lord together (vv. 19-22).  Everyone and everything is invited – angels, mighty beings, heavenly hosts, us, even His created things like animals, birds, sea creatures, bugs – all praising the name of the Lord!

May we remember to take time to look inside ourselves, then choose to focus our will, our thoughts, our mind, our emotions, our body in worship of the Lord.

May you experience the blessings and presence of the Lord and His joy as you take time to worship Him today.