I think it was when I was a freshmen at Bryan College I chose Psalm 103 to memorize, just for the fun of it. For some memorizing Scripture is a challenge. I dwell in that camp. But Psalm 103 is one of those delightful Psalms, cheerfully regaling the glories of the Lord towards His people. Just 22 verses long. But the things the Psalm says makes the task of memorization a bit easier.
Psa 103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Not just with the head, or heart or brain or spirit should I bless the Lord, but with everything I have, all my energy. Consider what that means in terms of something like playing football or ice hockey. You need to energize every muscle in order to have your way with the ball or puck or the opposing team. Your entire person is involved in order to coordinate your body to meet its objective, and ward off the aggressive attacks of the opposition. You need to keep your head in the game. Your spirit needs to be energized so you don’t loose heart and get deflated. Its a lot of work. The consider what it could mean to bless our Lord “all that is within me.” It is no inconsiderable effort. You don’t do that half asleep, or haphazardly. You focus, focus, focus.
Psa 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;
And what makes it less like work than a joy is because of what He’s done for you:
Psa 103:3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;
Psa 103:4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Psa 103:5 Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
Psa 103:6 The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed.
It is not a dreary thing to be under the care of the Great Physician, eh? Who wouldn’t like to have your youth renewed like the eagle, or have all your iniquities pardoned?
Psa 103:9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
Psa 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
Psa 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
We are not getting out just desserts; if we did we’d be obliterated in a moment. No, He gives us what we do not deserve, forgiveness, pardon. This really is the ultimate reward, and the best expression of His lovingkindness. He throws our sins far from us. The distance from the East to the West is not like in the circle of Earth, travelling in opposite directions untill they meet again halfway around the globe. No, this is like from one end of the universe to the other. In other words, an unmeasurable distance. Once He forgives it can’t be recalled to memory it is just too far away. Wow!
Psa 103:13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psa 103:14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.
Our God is not just some dispassionate judge looking askance and with disdain on His miserable creatures. He is like a loving father, deeply passionate toward his children, with just such tenderness of love. He knows we aren’t supermen, able to withstand the bitter arrows of this mortal coil. We are just the frailty of dust. But He nurtures and protects and guides us anyway.
Psa 103:15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
Psa 103:16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer.
Psa 103:17 But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children,
Psa 103:18 To those who keep His covenant And remember His precepts to do them.
Man is like dirt but with the spark of our Creator, and He has promised to take us under His wing and guide us into everlasting joy in His company for all time. There is a hope worthy of obtaining.
Psa 103:19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.
Psa 103:20 Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word!
Psa 103:21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will.
Psa 103:22 Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!
This is our God, who is like Him and to whom can you compare? His dominion and sovereignty is all encompassing. Who else would you seek for life. He is awesome and majestic. This Psalm describes how we should see Him every moment. Such a God is a great encouragement in these perilous and uncertain times. Surrender yourself to Him, and let Him lift you up!
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]