Scripture reading – Psalm 103

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Reflecting on the prior psalm filled with afflictions, sorrow, and despair (Psalm 102), Psalm 103 is a drink of refreshing water for the soul! Psalm 103 and Psalm 104 turn the believer’s focus to the LORD with words of praise, thanksgiving, and rejoicing. This devotional is the first of two for today and is taken from Psalm 103 (the one to follow will be Psalm 104).

Psalm 103

King David was the author of Psalm 103, and he reminds us to give thanks to the LORD and praise His name. I will consider the psalm in three sections.

A Call For Praise and Thanksgiving to the LORD (Psalm 103:1-5)

David’s soul was stirred to praise the LORD, to praise “his holy name,” and to stir himself never to forget “all his benefits [all that the LORD has done]” (Psalm 103:1-2).

Psalm 103 lists many reasons we should offer thanks to the LORD (Psalm 103:3-6). We are to be thankful for God forgives our sins (Psalm 103:3a) and restores our health (Psalm 103:3b). The LORD is also our protector, and He encircles us with His love and “tender mercies” (Psalm 103:4). He satisfies and strengthens us (Psalm 103:5), and is our intercessor.

A Celebration of the LORD’s Divine Character (Psalm 103:6-14) 

The LORD is our intercessor; He is just and rights the wrongs we suffer (Psalm 103:6). He is merciful, gracious, longsuffering, and compassionate (Psalm 103:7-8). Like a father, God takes pity on us despite our failings (Psalm 103:9). His mercies are inexhaustible, “for as the heaven is high above the earth, So great is his mercy toward them that fear him” (Psalm 103:11).

When He forgives us of our sins, He will never hold them against us. For “as far as the east is from the west, So far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). The LORD loves us like a father and shows compassion to them who fear Him (Psalm 103:13). Though He is Almighty, He never forgets “we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).

The Character of God’s Children (103:15-18)

We are temporal, like grass in a field, and “as a flower of the field” in its beauty (Psalm 103:15). So, the wind passes and is soon forgotten, and we too shall perish and be no more (Psalm 103:16). Yet, despite our frailty and failings, the LORD loves us! His mercy is extended to those who fear Him. He is eternal…“from everlasting to everlasting …and his righteousness unto children’s children” (Psalm 103:17). What is the character of sincere believers? They “keep his covenant, and…remember His commandments to do them” (Psalm 103:18).

Closing thoughts:

David concluded Psalm 103 by reminding all who worship the LORD that He is the sovereign of “the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all” (Psalm 103:19). Four times, the king summoned all Creation to praise and worship the LORD: “Bless the LORD, ye his angels…Bless ye the LORD, all ye hosts [armies of heaven]; Ye ministers [servants] of his, that do his pleasure. 22Bless the Lord, all his works [creation] in all places of his dominion: Bless the Lord, O my soul” (Psalm 103:20-22).

Take a moment, count your blessings, worship, and praise the LORD. He alone is worthy of your praise!

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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