Psalm 103

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- 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.

The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, 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.

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 are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are 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. But 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.

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, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.

As first revealed by theologian D. L. Cooper, the Golden Rule of Bible Interpretation is this. “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studies in the light of related passages, and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise. God in revealing His Word neither intends nor permits the reader to be confused. He wants His children to understand.”

If ever a passage of Scripture deserved to be interpreted in this manner, it’s Psalm 103. The message is clear, and appears to have neither national nor chronological limitations. God forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases. He redeems our life from the pit and crowns us with love and compassion. He satisfies our desires with good things so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The context of these verses is so “New Testament” that there’s no way to sustain a claim that David wrote this to Israel alone or for a time long past, and we need to believe that it means exactly what it says. In fact it would be hard to find a better, more concise description of what the Lord has done for us anywhere in the New Testament, and here it is tucked away in the Psalms.

And there’s absolutely no compelling reason to interpret those words any other way than literally either. It’s a timeless promise from the Lord Who loves us, and for the most part the rest of Psalm 103 lists the reasons why we should receive it just as David wrote it.

This is another example of the truth of Hebrews 13:8. “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” From before the foundation of the world when He agreed to die for us (1 Peter 1:20), to the time “when time shall be no more” He is never changing. His promises are clear and His word is good.

That’s the nature of the God we worship, and for us “that’s a good thing”. We’re staking our eternal destiny on His promise that even after we’ve died and it’s too late to change anything, He’ll still be there to fulfill every commitment He’s ever made to us. We are so blessed to have a God Who both promises and performs. As He told Isaiah, “What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.”(Isaiah 46:11)

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