Symposium of Psalm 103

My morning prayer this morning included Psalm 103.  This Psalm is all-encompassing of the Gospel message; for me it is centering and life-giving.  I've written on it several times and since it blessed me this morning, I am including my post that combines my reflections on this particular Psalm:

As you read, you will notice that this Psalm starts out with bless the Lord, O my soul.  In the beginning, it appears that the Psalmist is going through a hard time, a moment of confusion and despair and therefore he is telling his soul to praise the Lord and not forget all His benefits. He then goes on to list many of the benefits of the Lord.  You will see his mood change and accelerate so that by the end the Psalmist is excitedly telling everyone to praise God, from the heavenly hosts, to the angels, to his very own soul. His mood changes from a place of discouragement to the place of declaring, believing and understanding what is true: THAT HIS LOVE IS GREAT, so GREAT we can't help but praise the Lord, O my soul.

Psalm 103 (AMP)
1BLESS (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!

All that is "deepest" within me: In the past, there have been  places, thoughts and ideas in my heart that I've wanted to hide from the Lord. This Psalm has encouraged me to "bless" Him from every place. During my quiet prayers I'm learning to praise Him with all areas.

2Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits-
3Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases,
4Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption,
Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;

I once wrote a post called Spiritual Wardrobe, which lists some of the clothes God offers to dress us with. I didn't include this one. I absolutely love the imagery in it - beautifies, dignifies and crowns - to have His loving-kindness and tender mercy on top of your head flowing down!!!

Day 137 by Velo Steve

5Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle's [strong, overcoming, soaring]!

Who redeems your life from the pit... so that your youth, is renewed, like an eagle: I was driving past a dump the other day. It was a windy day and above the dump were hundreds of seagulls "soaring" around the dump. I began thinking in my mind about the differences between a seagull and eagle and I began to wonder how we as Christians actually tend to live.

Seagulls are scavengers. They like to live above the trash and look at it all the time. They don't want to miss out on any of the junk. Like eagles they can "soar" on the wind but they choose to stay close to the earth and all the trash.

Eagles, on the other hand, build their nests high on the cliffs. When they soar on the wind they soar high above the earth. They have been given keen eyesight and when they need to eat they see the tiny item that they need to attack and they can dive down, grab and attack it with the strength of their legs.

I think God is very intentional when He chooses analogies for our lives. He chose an eagle on purpose and I think it is important for us to compare our lives to see if we are operating in the fullness of what He purchased for us.

Do you act like a seagull or an eagle? Both birds soar on the wind (the wind in the Bible is often compared to the Holy Spirit). But where do you let the Holy Spirit take you? Do you only allow Him to raise you high enough to see your trash and the trash of those around it? Or are you like an eagle? Do you allow the Holy Spirit to take you to the heights, where the things of this world become strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace (line from "Fix Your Eyes on Jesus")? Do you soar in the glory of the Holy Spirit and in the strength that He has placed in you? There are times when we do become aware of the things of this earth, our prey and we return to the earth with great precision and insight because He has pointed out something for us to attack and take. We attack with strength; it dies and then we return to the heights.

6The Lord executes righteousness and justice [not for me only, but] for all who are oppressed.

I'd encourage you to pause here and reflect on that one powerful statement.  This is the heart of the Father - this is what He is doing.

7He made known His ways [of righteousness and justice] to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.
8The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness.
9He will not always chide or be contending, neither will He keep His anger forever or hold a grudge.
If you ask the average person walking along the street what is the God of Christianity like, do you think their answer would include: merciful, gracious, slow to anger, PLENTEOUS in mercy and loving-kindness?  If not why?

10He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him.
12As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Did you know scientists today have still not found the ends of the universe?  So guess how far He's removed your sins... Do you live your life in light of that knowledge?

13As a father loves and pities his children, so the Lord loves and pities those who fear Him [with reverence, worship, and awe].
14For He knows our frame, He [earnestly] remembers and imprints [on His heart] that we are dust.
I again love the imagery in these verses: as a Father loves His children so the Lord loves us... We are imprinted on His heart.  What better or safer place is there to be than that?

15As for man, his days are as grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16For the wind passes over it and it is gone, and its place shall know it no more.
17But the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord are from everlasting to everlasting upon those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him, and His righteousness is to children's children--

As many of us know all too well, this life we live is so brief, but what a beautiful and precious reminder of the weight of who God is for all eternity. For me personally, it is a precious reminder that His love will never fade away and that He has promised to carry the message and benefit of His love to my children and my grandchildren.  The contrast between our frailty and His strength is astounding, so where should we rest - in our momentary troubles of life or in the everlasting mercy and loving-kindness of our Lord?

18To such as keep His covenant [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying it] and to those who [earnestly] remember His commandments to do them [imprinting them on their hearts].

We've been invited to imprint Him on our hearts, just like He's imprinted us.

19The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.
20Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His commandments, hearkening to the voice of His word.
21Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, all you His hosts, you His ministers who do His pleasure.

I love this - you who do His pleasure. As children of God, we have the opportunity to carry on the message contained in the Psalm of His love, mercy and grace to those around us!

22Bless the Lord, all His works in all places of His dominion; bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul!
Oh! I just love this Psalm. My thoughts only scratch the surface of this Psalm - I'd encourage you to consider meditating on it for a season. Your soul will be blessed.  By the time I'm done reading it, I always want to start this Psalm over again because it wraps up the immensity of our salvation into one prayer!

In Christ,

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