A few thoughts on Psalm 103

As created beings humans are triparte, which is a fancy way of saying we are made up of three parts.  We are flesh, blood, and bone. Our second part “the soul” generally includes: the mind, the will, and the emotions.  For the unregenerated creature that is all there is. He remains, as 1 Cor 2 describes “The natural man”. But for the saint of God a change is made at the moment of salvation, in which a third part, the Spirit is quickened or made alive.  In the Apostle’s Paul treatise of the good news he tells us in the Epistle to the Romans:  …

”but we have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God..”

In Psalm 103 the hymn master, the sweet psalmist of Israel becomes so enraptured that he is going to bless his Abba, Father with a song of gratitude and praise.

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

He addresses this song of devotion to Jehovah, the self existent and eternal one. Jews today will not speak this name, and in written correspondence they write it as “G-d”. It is too holy, to reverend, and too fearful and too awesome to be spoken or written. Yet, King David was using his mind and his emotions to bless this being with this act of his will. He desired that his soul AND all that was within him to bless his holy name. In scriptures too numerous to mention we are admonished to “Love your God with all your hearts, and all your souls.” This is what King David is doing.  He is not asking for protection from his enemies, or any other benefit.  He is only praising and remembering the goodness of God.

In the next verse he repeats:

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

And he adds another admonition to himself and to us:

 “and forget not all his benefits:”

Yes there is a grace that is given to all men, but only a child of God who has the Kingdom of Heaven as his inheritance can enumerate the blessings and benefits of having an all powerful, and forgiving Heavenly Father.

And how often we need to be reminded.  There has sprung up a whole industry based on our capacity as human beings for forgetfulness.  We have day planners, alarm clocks, ribbons on our fingers and calendars on our smart phones – now if we could just remember to look at them.

So what are some of the benefits of being a called out one?  King David tells us that He is the one:

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

All humans are born (shaped) in iniquity and conceived in sin. This is my misquoting of Psalm 51:5, but I believe it remains true to what David meant to say and to what is our true condition.  We have a natural bent to twist away from God. And we do.  God, our God, and only our God truly has the ability to forgive this breech of loyalty. The divine law maker is the only one who can forgive the breaking of His law and does forgive our inborn, natural rebellion that is bent on destruction.

He also heals.

The Gospels relate numerous stories of not only restoring sight to the blind, but the lame walked, the ears of the deaf were opened, and unclean were cleansed.  He still does those same miracles today.  I was blind, I was deaf, I was lame, and I was unclean, but Jesus healed all my disease.  He even raises the spiritually dead to eternal life.

Which is to say it is He:

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

I don’t know about you, but that is my story.  I had destroyed my life with selfishness, and pride. I was on the wrong path, headed in the wrong direction. I thought all my cleverness, and charm, and wit would get me all my heart’s desire.

I was on a dead end road and very far from God.

I know people who are far from God.  They are as deceived as I once was.  So many people today are so wrapped up in self. It is a form of self worship. This was Lucifer’s error. We are not meant to receive our own worship. There is only one who is.

And He is the one who crowneth thy life with lovingkindness and tender mercies.

What a benefit.  Like the prodigal we get a robe, a ring, and shoes from our loving father. Not just any robe, but the best robe. Ours is now a robe of righteousness, with a ring, the earnest symbol of our Lord’s ownership and betrothal, and shoes that we may walk worthy of His calling. The life, given to us as a gift, – we were wasting, but by His tender mercies we who were dead are made alive.

And just as there was music and dancing and a fatted calf for the prodigal. The same is true for us and it is provided by Him:

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Do you remember the of the story of King Saul’s son Jonathan in 1 Samuel.  According to chapter 14 Jonathan took a bit of honey and his battle weary eyes were “enlightened”.  This, of course, is speaking of the physical attributes of complex carbohydrates and their healthful, restorative properties. As it is with the physical, so it is with the spiritual.  WE do call the Word of God our daily bread.

Psalm 104:15 says And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

So, to further spiritualize it.  The wine of communion with God makes our heart glad.  The oil of the Holy Spirit, as it did with Moses, makes our face to shine, and the bread of life on a daily basis is a prescription for good spiritual health.

The word that is translated “mouth” in this verse is not the usual word for the mouth.  The root word used here is “adorn” in the sense of desire.  He is able to fill us to complete satisfaction with whatever is our heart’s desire.

The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

Our God, our Abba, is a loving, caring father.  There is not going to be any harm befall us.  In Psalm 91 we read how God has given his angels charge over us to keep us in all our ways.  He has a desired end for us and he will see that we are safely delivered.

He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

Moses actually asked God to make his ways known unto him. In Exodus 33:13 Moses said:

“Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.”

Moses continued to beseech the Lord to “shew me thy glory.” Ex 33:18

The Lord, as you know, put Moses in the cleft of the rock and –

“passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.”  Ex 34:6-8

And the gist of what is quoted above is found in the next verse of Psalm 103.

Verse 8 says:

“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.”

So, if as David has written, that God made known his ways unto Moses, then perhaps what David is proceeding to tells us in these next few verses are the ways of God.  Sometimes we miss it when we say God has shown us mercy or when we petition for God’s grace.  God is mercy.  Not God has mercy.  It is not a characteristic, or an attribute of God.  It is God.  God IS mercy just as God IS love.  It is who He is. He can’t be otherwise and be God.

In verse 8 and 9 we read “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.

It is as if David distilled Exodus 34:6-8 and saved us the trouble of looking it up for ourselves.  How much easier was it for them to remember the words when it was set to music.  How much easier is it for us to remember when we sing,

“He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.”

And from that we know:

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

For as the heaven in high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

In the last few years NASA has sent out space craft to explore our galaxy.  They have deployed the Hubble telescope to take pictures of deep space beyond our solar system.  And thought I have seen many amazing celestial sights, I have yet to see a picture of the gates of pearl or the streets of gold. So exactly how many miles or light years is heaven above the earth?  That is how vast his mercy is. And we all know that we can travel west for eternity and it will never become east. So, in any direction you choose on any axis you will never meet up with your sin once it is forgiven by Him.


“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.”

One thing I noticed about my own children as they were young.  They were kind of crazy.  Whoever would have thought that you needed to tell a young child not to put a bean in his ear? Did you think to tell your child not to pour a gallon of milk on a loaf of bread in the middle of the living room?  There is a long list of things I never thought to give to them as instruction until they had done it at least once.  If anyone knows that children need pity it is the parents that have had their minds blown by the crazy things their kids have done.  I notice from reading through Deuteronomy that God gave some very explicit rules and regulations.  No doubt, not until after one or two of his children had completed the now prohibited act.  But without the law there is no transgression. You cannot discipline your child for something you never told them not to do.  However, after the law is given the transgression of that law is punishable. It is a pitiful situation.

Ps 103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

God doesn’t have a remembering problem, we do.  He remembers creating Adam in the beginning from the dust of the earth and breathing the breath of life into him.

It is we who have forgotten that we are made up of the same 17 elements as the dirt out there in the flower bed.  We like to think of ourselves as unique and special.

God says he fashioned all our hearts alike.  (Ps 33:15)

And that heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. (Jer 17:9)



About tnman

I was born, then I was born again.
This entry was posted in Life Lessons, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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