Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bless the Lord, oh my Soul

Psalm 103 is one of my all time favorites.  The cadence is soothing.  The message is comprehensive and comforts me each time I read it.

First we are treated to a litany, an overview of the many things God has done for us.
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 forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Then we read about His righteousness toward His people from ancient days until the present.  He is just and merciful.
The Lord executes righteousness
And justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
Just think of that, "He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities."  I don't know about anyone else, but I know my own heart and my own many sins of both commission and omission.  Wow!

More picture language follows.  Take a moment to let it sink in.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward 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 pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.
No matter how many times we mess up, our Heavenly Father has mercy on us.  "He knows our frame and remembers that we are dust."

Next the psalmist, David, contrasts our few days here on earth, to God's eternal self.  The marks we make on this earth, the legacy we might leave behind, all are nothing.  "The wind passes over it, and it is gone, and it's place remembers it no more."  But God on the other hand, His mercy and righteousness are "from everlasting to everlasting."
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
Oh-oh.  What's that last line?  " such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them."  I guess that's not me. 

But wait, it is!  Remember earlier, the part about God removing our transgressions from us.  This reminds me of the many other places in Scripture where Jesus perfect life and sacrificial death are attributed to us.  When God looks at us, He doesn't see our sin.  He sees Jesus' perfection.  He sees the debt of sin paid off in entirety because of Jesus' death and resurrection.
I John 1:7 The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
And for this we join with all creation in a final strain of praise.
The Lord has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.
Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
Bless the Lord, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

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