In the wee hours of the morning, as I think of others with whom I share this late night sojourn, words of comfort come to mind. They echo through the ages, because God has chosen to preserve them for us in the poetic language of Israel’s sweet psalmist, King David. Psalm 103 gives us a glimpse into the personal devotional life of God’s servant David. We are invited, even urged, to see God’s goodness and moved to respond in love and thankfulness.
Notice how this unfolds:
First, in verses 1-5* we observe that David’s reflections on God’s goodness result in a renewed sense of devotion to God:
O my soul, bless God.
From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
don’t forget a single blessing!
He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.
Second, verses 6-18 speak of David’s realization that the breadth of God’s goodness provides reason for joy and thanksgiving:
God makes everything come out right;
he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
opened up his plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children,
God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out,
keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.
Men and women don’t live very long;
like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly,
leaving nothing to show they were here.
God’s love, though, is ever and always,
eternally present to all who fear him,
Making everything right for them and their children
as they follow his Covenant ways
and remember to do whatever he said.
Third, verses 19-22 reveal that David’s recognition of God’s sovereignty causes him to recommend that all God’s works everywhere praise Him!
God has set his throne in heaven;
he rules over us all. He’s the King!
So bless God, you angels,
ready and able to fly at his bidding,
quick to hear and do what he says.
Bless God, all you armies of angels,
alert to respond to whatever he wills.
Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are—
everything and everyone made by God.
And you, O my soul, bless God!
These verses speak to my heart tonight reminding me that…
(1) Experiencing personal renewal begins with remembering God is good— we must be diligent to forget not His benefits.
(2) Walking faithfully is possible only because God is grace-full, not treating us as our sins deserve.
(3) Recommending God to others comes naturally from a heart surrendered to God.
Therefore, each one who wishes to experience personal renewal; walk by faith and not by sight; and, share Christ with others should strive to live in harmony with the message of this beautiful psalm of David. Sometimes, in the quietness of the night, with only the accompaniment of God’s night creatures, we should whisper in melodious tones:
O my soul, bless God!
Yes, praise the Lord, O my soul!
Let all that is in me praise His holy name!
For all that He has done and all that He has promised to do,
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
© Bill Williams
August 19, 2006