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 harbour his anger for ever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children –
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
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.(Ps. 103:1-22 NIV)
This is a well known and well loved Psalm. It brings great comfort to every child of God who is aware of their frailty and spiritual weakness. The Psalmist praises the Lord from his innermost being for all the benefits that he has received. Top of his list of benefits are all the sins that have been forgiven. He reminds himself how easy it is to forget the benefits we have received.
The Psalmist ends the Psalm as he begins by saying, ‘Praise the LORD, my soul’. It is good to remind ourselves to praise the Lord. Here the Psalmist uses the covenant name for God – LORD. He praises the holy name of the LORD. The name of the LORD calls to mind all the perfections and works of deliverance. The Lord revealed the covenant name ‘Yahweh’ to the people of God in the OT at the burning bush scene. At the revelation of this name, the redemption out of Egypt was associated. As we think of the revelation of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit we have associated with that revelation the work of redemption on the cross. All the benefits of salvation that we receive today we receive them through union with Christ. Christ has achieved these benefits for us. Our many sins have been forgiven because of Christ’s death on the cross.
The particular benefits the Psalmist refers to are expressed as Forgives, heals, redeems, crowns and satisfies. These benefits flow from the covenant promises and they are made ‘yes’ to us in Jesus Christ. Christ is our covenant representative. We may not fully appreciate just now the extent of our blessings but a day will come when we will express full satisfaction for all that God has done for us in Christ. We will be satisfied when we awake with Christ’s likeness. Let us cherish those moments when we are able to grasp a glimpse of the satisfaction that there is in Christ. The more we meditate and contemplate the benefits of Christ the more we will enjoy them.
As we enjoy the benefits of Christ it invigorates our souls. We soar like eagles with the strength of our youth renewed. Those of us who are older know that we never have the physical strength of youth renewed, but inside we are still young and the joy of the Lord gives us strength. Many can bring years of knowledge of the Lord’s faithfulness to this Psalm and praise the Lord for many, many benefits.
The Lord’s work is a work of righteousness and justice. Every oppression is as a result of the Fall in the Garden of Eden. An act of unrighteousness brought injustice into the world. In Christ righteousness and justice are re-established. The grace of the Mosaic administration of the covenant was revealed to Moses. The Lord revealed his compassion and grace. With the Lord’s people the Lord is slow to anger. Every day we give God cause to be angry with us, but the Lord does not treat us as our sins deserve. This truly is a benefit of grace. Christ merited the benefits of salvation and now He distributes His benefits to each child of God. ‘Praise the LORD, my soul and forget not all His benefits.’
Lord God with heart, mind and strength we praise Your holy name. We do not forget the benefits that we have received in Christ. Lord forgive our sins and help us to live a holy life, pleasing to You. We thank You that You continue to deal with us in grace. Lord help us to praise You every day of our lives, to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.