Psalm 103 Meaning - Verse by Verse Explanation from Bible

psalm-103-praise-god-for-his-kindness


Psalm 103 is a Psalm from David. Apparently he wrote it during his last years of life, after going through some illness or difficult situation. It should encourage and inspire us to see that David decides to remember all the kindnesses and mercies that God had for him over the years, instead of complaining and focusing on his suffering.

Let’s learn from him! Let’s try to take a few minutes each day to remember the goodness of God in our own lives and show our gratitude. God is good and his mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3: 22-23).

Let’s examine the Psalm in detail and discover how our praise to God should be.

How we should praise God

The Psalm begins with two powerful verses. David calls his soul to wake up and exhorts his whole being to praise God. How many times do we praise God only with our lips? We sing with our mouth while our mind is elsewhere. It must not be like that! True praise arises from the depths of our being and awakens our spirit, our body, and our mind.

Praise leads us to recognize the holiness of our God and to yearn to be more like Him. He is holy and calls us to be saints (1 Peter 1: 14-16). How do we achieve it? Getting closer to God and allowing him to transform us more and more according to his image.

“Do not forget any of your benefits.” When we stop to remember and consciously list all the blessings that God has given us, our heart responds with adoration and gratitude for all the bounties that we are blessed with. Let’s not be like those who only remember God when they need something. Let us be grateful children, with attentive and sensitive hearts to be the instruments for the expression of God’s love in our day to day.

Why should we praise God?

The psalmist David goes on to enumerate some of the reasons we have for praising God. Let’s look at each of them and think about how we can improve the way we praise and worship God.

Also Read: Psalm 91 Meaning: Prayer from Bible for Powerful Protection

For the blessings He gives us

He forgives all your sins and heals all your ailments; He rescues your life from the grave and covers you with love and compassion; He fills your life with goodness and rejuvenates you like eagles. The Lord does justice and defends all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses; He revealed his works to the people of Israel.
(Psalm 103: 3-7)

In these verses David mentions some of the blessings God gives us. Beginning with the forgiveness of our sins because that is the greatest gift that God has given us. David knew well what it is to receive God’s forgiveness, how it impacts our life here and the power it has to transform us permanently and keep us transformed for eternity. Our spirit awakens to know itself forgiven and voluntarily submits to allow the work of God in all areas of life.

God not only heals us spiritually but also gives us physical healing. He heals all our diseases either through direct intervention or through medicine. We serve Almighty God and in Him we can trust.

God rescued us from the grave, we do not have to fear death . In Colossians 1:13 he says that he “delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” His kingdom is one of love and compassion that he pours out on us to take care of us and show his heart to the world around us.

Our bodies are renewed and receives new strength by remembering the abundant goodness of God. When problems and difficulties come to our lives it is important to remember all that God has given us, the many ways in which He has shown us his love and care. This memory renews our strength and rejuvenates our bones in such a way that sometimes it seems that we are able to fly over situations. How strong is the peace and strength that God gives us! We have felt it in the past and we will continue to feel it because God was the same yesterday as He is today and will be so forever (Hebrews 13: 8). He has been faithful to His children and will continue to be so for ever and ever.

God is just and his justice is not only for us but for all those who are oppressed. Sometimes it seems that evil is gaining, but God keeps moving in this world and he defends those who suffer injustice and oppression. Let us be agents of His blessing. Let us bring freedom and justice to those who suffer oppression. It may seem like too big a task, but God will show us how to do it as He has showed His ways to Moses and revealed His works to the people of Israel.

For His attributes and the way He deals with us

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in love. He does not sustain His quarrel forever or hold a grudge forever. He does not treat us according to our sins nor pay us according to our iniquities. So great is his love for those who fear Him as high as heaven on earth. So far from us He has cast our transgressions as far from the east is to the west. So compassionate is the Lord with those who fear Him as a father is with his children. He knows our condition; He knows we are made of clay.
(Psalm 103: 8-14)

God is merciful, compassionate, and full of love. Contrary to us humans, He does not get carried away by anger or resentment or acts unfairly. His anger comes slowly, controlled and giving us the opportunity to repent and make changes before we recognize his love and turn to Him with humility. And as soon as we do He receives us and forgives us.

God does not allow our mistakes and sins to dictate how He treats us. His great love drives every act towards his children and covers everything that surrounds us. God calls our attention so that we may hear His sweet voice and live in obedience of the path of life that He has destined for each one of us.

The compassion of God is like that of a father with his children . He always tries to see what is good in us and remembers our human condition, our struggle to choose between egoic will and His divine will. God is patient with his children. He is attentive to our cry to receive us in His arms of love and compassion.

For His eternal love

But the love of the Lord is eternal and is always with those who fear Him; His justice is with the children of His children, with those who fulfill His covenant and remember His precepts so as to put them into practice.
(Psalm 103: 17-18)

The reality is that our earthly bodies are finite. The strength and health we enjoy today can end at any time. The physical perishes like the grass and the flower of the field, but  the love of God never ends: it accompanies us in our lives here on earth and we will enjoy it in all its fullness for eternity.

Our gaze must be on what is eternal. It is important to take care of our health, do our work well, enjoy our family and the activities that we like. But the most important thing must be to be within the will of God and live lives of obedience before Him.

Because God is King and deserves our praise

Praise the Lord, you, his angels, paladins who execute His word and obey His command. Praise the Lord, all His armies, His servants who do His will. Praise the Lord for all your works in all areas of your domain. Praise, my soul, to the Lord!
(Psalm 103: 20-22)

God reigns and David ends the Psalm by exhorting all creation to praise Him. The angels, the heavenly armies, all of humanity and everything He created should praise Him today and forever.

And how are we not going to praise the almighty God who has been pleased to reign with so much love, compassion, mercy, and justice? The logical response of our hearts to all its benefits should be praise. Let not a single day pass in which we do not stop to praise and thank our God for all his kindness, love, grace, guiding light, and compassion!

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