The psalmist again demonstrates praise, reveals the power that it awakens, and includes you in those rewards. He offers a comparison of that which is alive and growing and that which is a dead growth of a past season. You are invited to join the endless summer; can you feel the Lord in this?
Psalm 103 (A Psalm of David.)
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5
We can call our whole being into service to exalt the name of the Lord. As I engage my whole being in praise I remember all the ways that he has already lifted me in the past. He has lifted me from my worst state and delivered me from injuries and illness. He carried my family and I through lean times. I feel strength and energy as he restores my youthful energy.
The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. Psalm 103:6-11
All the downtrodden can call on God for help, and will hear his people. He will let us recover from his correction and he forgives us. His mercy is great enough that he doesn’t give us what we really deserve.
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. Psalm 103:12-16
We dwell on the great expanse of mercy where are sins are beyond the horizon of memory. God sympathizes with those who fear and obey him. He knows that we are weak flesh, full of temptations. Our days are too short to be of value without mercy. We are gone like last year’s grass.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul. Psalm 103:17-22
There is no limit to God’s forgiveness and mercy; you are eligible. He is fair to you and your family down to your grandchildren. His throne is established above everything else. The psalmist is envisioning the glory above and in this he calls the heavenly host to exalt the Lord too. The psalmist is calling the angels, the ministers, and the heavens to bless the Lord as if he himself is in a vision of the heavenly host. He calls all of the creation to bless the creator, and finally he again calls his own soul to bless the Lord. It would seem that his soul has complied, and probably the host of heaven as well. Mission accomplished in the joy of the Lord.
This psalmist will not let his soul forget to bless the Lord. He reminds us as well, and an often repeated lesson is meant to be learned.
Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. Psalm 104:1-5
The psalmist engages his soul in direct communion with the Lord now. He honors the Lord as a participant in this song. Some songs are not written with great effort, but spring from the soul as a spontaneous celebration. He sings as speaking directly to the Lord, and as one who is seeing the vision he is painting in song. This is a song inspired by the subject of his praise, the Lord himself. The word is living and revealing himself in the living word here, even as he inspired the singer.
Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth. He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. Psalm 104:6-10
You Lord covered the earth with oceans and changed their places and their foundations. You sent them in the great flood, then limited them from doing that ever again. You delivered our springs and rivers to the earth.
They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst. By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches. He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart. Psalm 104:11-15
You, our creator, gave the streams for the creatures and the plants of the earth. You provided crops for man and his herds, and abundant foods to give life and joy to man.
The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted; Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house. The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies. He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. Psalm 104:16-20
God created robust trees for the birds, and hills for the wildlife of the earth. Here in Wyoming we have the mountain sheep, elk, and antelope. Around the world God provided a food chain for all the grazing and predatory animals. Now we have to protect his creation from poachers and the lust for profit. God also provided men to serve as game agents, and technicians to patrol the skies with drones. He still provides today.
The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. Psalm 104:21-25
The order of God provides for lions and men alike. The wisdom of God is established in the wonder of creation. The earth and the seas declare the order that is, and that has been in place for the ages.
There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. Psalm 104:26-30
On the seas are ships and great creatures that all depend on God for life. The life of the earth comes and fades into death only to be replaced by new life. The cycle of life is eternal. Lord, your spirit established and renews all the life here.
The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works. He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke. I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD. Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD. Psalm 104:31-35
God is glorified and he is the power over the earth. The psalmist sings praises of God, and will do so for his lifetime. These are the testimonies of God that have been confirmed for all the ages of the past and of the future to come. This is testimony of God from old times, and newer assurances will come in the next psalms. The psalmist knows a lifetime of evidence, and declares the evidence of all history: God is good.