Psalm 103: Remembering God's Grace

For Meditation

Last week, we heard from Corey about how the Psalms reorient our hearts, reshaping our emotions in light of who God is. The Psalmists, all human beings just like us, were in constant need of this kind of reformation. This book of their psalms, their songs, are opportunities for us to encounter every kind of emotion we could imagine and sing with the Psalmists as we turn our hearts over to God. He alone is our hope for restoring those emotions to their right, intended expression.

    This week, we’ll read Psalm 103 together and hear a song from David late in his life. Psalm 103 is actually an inner conversation for the most part, where we hear David speaking to himself. David, exhausted and distracted by the events of his life, has a big problem. In all of the distraction, he has trouble remembering who God has been, is, and will be. So, what does David say to himself? He commands himself. He commands himself to “forget not” all the truths about God that ought to lift his eyes off the distractions and up toward God in worship. We’ll see that David is reminded of two fundamental truths: that God is forgiving and that God is faithful.

    We’re also forgetful. We tend to get distracted in our brokenness and pulled away from God. We forget why and who we worship. Psalm 103 gives an example of how we ought to respond in times like that. We need to ask God to remind us, in his mercy, of who He is: that he is forgiving and faithful toward us. Those truths, examined in Psalm 103, lead David back to the fullness of worship and can for us, today, as well.

    At the end of the psalm, David has reminded himself of almost 30 reasons he ought to worship the Lord with all of his heart (twenty-seven, by my count). Charles Spurgeon reflected on Psalm 103 for this reason and said that “it is one of those all-comprehending Scriptures which is a Bible in itself, and it might alone almost suffice for the hymn-book of the church.” We have the pleasure of exploring some of these reasons this week and we would encourage you to continue to mine Psalm 103 for all the richness it has in it.

Psalm 103

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

7 He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 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.