Psalm 103=Bless the Lord!
Bible Background: Psalm 103 is classified as a “Thanksgiving” psalm. Gratitude for God’s many blessings well up from the heart of the writer, who may have experienced a serious illness and a good recovery (v.3-4), but the praise goes so much farther than that: inviting to bless the Lord for God’s forgiveness, love, and faithfulness.
Digging Deeper: 1. We tend to have many ambitions and commitments that fill our hearts, minds, and days. Note how the writer of Psalm 103 expresses a single-minded goal of praising/blessing God! The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the chief end of Humanity?” The answer: “To glorify God and enjoy God forever.” Psalm 103 helps do that!
2. Verse 2 reminds us to not forget all his benefits. The writer knows how easily we might forget! What will it take for us not to forget how God forgives, heals, loves, and works for justice? And when we do manage to remember, can we at least utter a word of thanksgiving?
3. Psalm 103 is to the Psalms what “Amazing Grace” is to our hymnbook. Verse 8 is the perfect summary of God’s nature and work in the Old Testament: The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love!
4. This psalm is also a near-perfect celebration of the scope of God’s forgiveness: God does not deal with us according to our sins. As far as the east is from the west, that’s how far God has removed our sins from us! When you need God’s promise of forgiveness, this is a good place to find it!
5. The writer starts, summoning his own inner being/soul to Bless the LORD! Before he finishes, he summons the heavenly hosts/angels to also bless the LORD; and then for all of God’s works in the whole universe to bless the LORD. He is determined to sing, shout, and declare God’s praises!
6. I (Pastor) learned the opening line of this Psalm at my grandparents’ dinner table. Grandpa would use verse 1-2 as a table prayer. Would you try it? Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless God’s holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits!