Praise the Lord, O my Soul – The Case of Psalm 103
Written by Grace Mwaura on January 15, 2024
In the King James Version of the Bible, praise occurs 259 times and worship 188 times. The verses addressing the subject of praise and worship of God total 254. From Genesis to Revelations, we are called to praise God. The book of Psalms is brimming with the word praise. Psalm 103 tells of a God who delivers the nation from bondage and the individual from sin. It also reveals God as loving with motherly affection and fatherly compassion.
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103: 1-2
A psalm of David, a man who knew grace and was delivered by God many times. Verses 1&2 start with giving us the reasons to bless and honor God. The psalmist stirs us up and our soul to praise God. We are to use the soul in praising God. We must be grateful for remembering the mercies we have received from God.
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. Psalm 103:3-5
Verses 3-5 speak of praising God who redeems. One of the great benefits mentioned is the forgiveness of all our sins. The pardon of sin removed that which kept good things from us and restored us to the favor that bestows good things on us. He has also cured all our diseases. The corruption of nature is the sickness of the soul that threatens death. Every day reminds us of God’s benefits. That is forgiveness, healing from diseases, and capping it all off with his steadfast love and mercy.
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses and 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 harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. Psalm 103:6-10
Verses 6-10 speak of the inclusive nature of the Lord’s steadfast love that works justice for all who are oppressed. This verse highlights a good who is righteous and gracious. The Lord does not deal with us according to the readout of a cosmic computer keeping track of our deeds except with the kind of love a mother has for her child.
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 were formed he remembers that we are just dust. Psalm 103:11-14
Verses 11-14 offer three pictures that illustrate the nature of God’s love. The love is as high as the sky and wide as the distance from east to west. The second picture of this love is that the father lives for his children. The final love we see here is God loving us regardless that we are weak and insignificant, formed from dust.
As for man, his days were like grass he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 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. Psalm 15-18
Verses 15-18 provide yet another angle of God’s love that is everlasting. Human life is temporary. We are born, live, and then die. God’s mercy is indeed eternal. Those who fear him benefit from this everlasting mercy, as do their children’s children. God’s promise of endless love and forbearance has conditions. The promises are for those who fear him, to those who keep his covenant, and those who remember his commandments to do them.
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 for all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul. Psalm 103:19-22
Verses 19-22 establish the contrast between Yahweh and all creation and between him and his angels. David celebrated God’s second reign from heaven. God enthroned in heaven beyond the troubles and corruption of earth. It is established and will never stirred. David calls upon the heavenly beings to praise God. It is not as if they needed any excitement to praise Him, for they do it continually, but David expressed his high thoughts of the Gods as worthy of the adoration of the holy angels.
This psalm overflows with the benefits of praising the Lord, which includes forgiveness of all our iniquity, healing our diseases, redeeming our life from the pit, crowning us with steadfast love and mercy, satisfying us with goodness, and renewing our youth like the eagles. We do have every reason to praise the Lord.