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With New Testament Eyes: 63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul

By Henry Mahan


      Psalm 103

      A few things that are worthy of notice at the beginning of our study are:

      1. Most agree that this is a Psalm of David's latter years, for there is a clear sense of the frailty of this life, there is a keener awareness of sin, and there is a high priority placed on mercy and forgiveness.

      2. Not one petition nor request occurs throughout the entire Psalm. This is another sign of spiritual maturity--more praise and less petition, more gratitude and less 'give me.' As we grow in grace our prayers change.

      3. The name Jehovah is mentioned eleven times in 22 verses. The Psalmist kneels in adoration and praises the Lord himself. It is possible to be taken up with blessings, gifts, and benefits and fail to praise the Lord himself!

      v. 1. 'Bless the Lord, O my soul.' This is the highest form of praise. Not just with the lips but my heart, my innermost being, my soul loves and praises the Lord. Blessed is the man who has learned to converse with himself concerning spiritual truth (Psalm 4:4; Psalm 77:6). 'All that is within me, bless his holy name.' Let my judgment bless him by submitting to his word. Let my imagination bless him by holy meditation. Let my affections bless him by loving what he loves. Let my desires bless him by seeking his will. Let my hope bless him by restful assurance and peace. 'Bless his holy name.' His name signifies his nature and attributes. I bless and rejoice in him as he is revealed in his word written and in his word incarnate. 'Let God be God!' The holiness of God is his chief attribute and glory. The holiness of his name is that which beautifies all that he is and does. He is a just God and a Saviour (Isa. 45:21). He is righteous and merciful (Psalm 85:10; Rom. 3:26).

      v. 2. The Psalmist's praise and gratitude has four attributes.

      1. It is personal 'my soul.'

      2. It is sincere 'all that is within me.'

      3. It is constant 'forget not.'

      4. It is specific 'all his benefits.' My all praise his all!

      vv. 3-5. David begins a list of his benefits. 'Who forgiveth all thine iniquities.' Forgiveness is of God, who delights to show mercy. It is from God, who only can forgive. It is in Christ, who is our ransom, redemption, and righteousness. And it is complete with God, who forgives all our iniquities (Eph. 1:7; 1 John 1:7).

      'Who healeth all thy diseases.' The diseases of this body are the results of sin, and God will heal them when it is according to his will and when it serves his purpose; but the diseases referred to here are spiritual diseases which, like our sins, are all healed in Christ. He bore ALL our spiritual sicknesses and diseases in his body on the tree, and by his stripes we are healed forever (Isa. 53:4-5; Matt. 8:17).

      'Who redeemeth thy life from destruction.' We must die--all men do; we may die violently or in great pain--many have; but we shall never perish! Christ, our righteousness, redeems us from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13). Christ, our sin-offering, has redeemed us from the judgment of sin (Rom. 8:1, 33-34).

      Christ, our risen Lord, has redeemed us from the grave (John 11:25-26).

      'Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.' Earthly kings are crowned with material crowns of gold, silver, and diamonds, symbols of their material kingdoms which shall all pass away. We are kings and priests, crowned, dignified, and beautified with the love, mercy, and grace of God, which is his kingdom of righteousness and peace and shall never pass away. Our crowns are not of gold but glory, and our robes are royal robes of his righteousness.

      'Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things.' No natural man is ever satisfied or at peace, for the things of this world can never satisfy the soul. But the 'good things' of Christ (John 16:15; John 3:35; Rom. 8:31, 37; 1 Cor. 3:21) are ours, and all these good things satisfy our appetites and needs so that our 'youth is renewed.' The youth and strength of grace are constantly renewed; and while the outward man may decay, the inward man is renewed day by day until we are carried into his presence (Psalm 17:15). God's people, even in old age, have a keen spiritual eye, an open ear to his word, and they run and are not weary (Isa. 40:31).

      v. 6. Going from personal blessing to the general righteous justice and judgment of God, David declares that all injustice and oppression shall receive just retribution at the hand of God (Rom. 12:19; Deut. 32:35).

      v. 7. God made known unto Moses his way of mercy and grace in Christ (John 5:46). He did not leave Moses to discover truth for himself. God alone can reveal himself (Luke 10:22; 1 Cor. 2:9-14). The people of Israel saw less than Moses, for they beheld the ACTS of God without understanding or seeing the glory of his grace in Christ.

      vv. 8-14. In these verses David rejoices in the Lord's feelings for and dealings with his chosen people in Christ. We are sinners and are always in need of his compassion and grace. His mercy forgives sin, his grace bestows favor, his longsuffering and patience give space for repentance and faith, and his abundant compassion will never fail. Why 'hath he not dealt with us after our sin'? Is it not because he has dealt with Christ for our sins and iniquities? (1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 2:24). Our minds cannot comprehend his great mercy to us in Christ. It is higher than the heavens. Our sins are covered, blotted out, and removed as far from us as the east is from the west--infinity! They are remembered no more. The guilt of sin can no more return than east can become west. 'Such pity and love as a father has to his children dear, like pity shows the Lord to all who worship him in fear.' Our Lord also knows how and of what we are made, for he made us! He knows our weaknesses, infirmities, and flesh. He knows we are made of dust, are dust still, and will return to dust (Heb. 4:15).

      vv. 15-18. Men are like the grass and the flower, which live but for a season and are soon gone; but the mercy of the Lord in his covenant of grace in Christ Jesus is everlasting, and his righteousness shall endure forever upon those who believe (Rom. 8:16-23). Forever in glory with him is our inheritance!

      vv. 19-22. David closes with a grand chorus which springs from his knowledge of the boundless power and glorious sovereignty of God. His throne is fixed in the heavens; his government is over all and knows no alarm, disorder, nor surprises. He will accomplish his purpose and be glorified. Therefore, let everything that hath breath praise and bless the Lord-- especially my soul!

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See Also:
   Foreward & Acknowledgements
   1 - The Fall
   2 - Abel's Offering
   3 - The Ark Of Noah
   4 - Sarah and Hagar; Law and Grace
   5 - The Lord Will Provide
   6 - A Bride for the Heir
   7 - Bethel - The House of God
   8 - Peniel - The Face of God
   9 - Joseph Opens the Storehouses
   10 - Joseph and His Brothers
   11 - Shiloh
   12 - The Passover
   13 - The Manna
   14 - Water from the rock
   15 - The Blood Before the Lord
   16 - The Ram of Consecration
   17 - The Day of Atonement
   18 - Caleb - The Faithful Dog
   19 - The High Priest Intercedes
   20 - The Brazen Serpent
   21 - A Prophet Like Moses
   22 - The Cities of Refuge
   23 - Joshua
   24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window
   25 - The birth of Samson
   26 - The Kinsman Redeemer
   27 - The Song of Hannah
   28 - Give us a King
   29 - Saul's Great Sin
   30 - David and Mephibosheth
   31 - Why God Permitted David to Fall
   32 - Comfort from God's Covenant
   33 - I Will Not Offer to God that which Cost me Nothing
   34 - The Queen of Sheba Comes to Solomon
   35 - Three Examples of Faith
   36 - Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
   37 - Empty Vessels Filled
   38 - Naaman, the Leper
   39 - Open his Eyes that He may See
   40 - Four Lepers Teach us a Lesson
   41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass
   42 - Bringing Back the Ark
   43 - Uzziah's Great Transgression
   44 - Four Things Learned in Trouble
   45 - How Can Man be Just With God?
   46 - Three Vital Questions
   47 - I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
   48 - Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee
   49 - The Psalm of Messiah the King
   50 - God's two great books
   51 - The Psalm of the Cross
   52 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   53 - True God - True Israel - True Redeemer
   54 - Eight Great Precepts
   55 - My Hope is in Thee
   56 - Many, O Lord, Are Thy Wonderful Works
   57 - A Song of Love
   58 - The Sinner's Prayer
   59 - My Rock and my Salvation
   60 - Our Lord's Sufferings for Our Sins
   61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together
   62 - The Victory of the Messiah
   63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul
   64 - Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
   65 - The King-Priest
   66 - The Chief Cornerstone
   67 - The Observer and the Observed
   68 - Praise the Lord O my Soul
   69 - Wisdom in Christ
   70 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
   71 - Remember Now Thy Creator
   72 - My Beloved is Mine and I am His
   73 - What is Thy Beloved more than Another Beloved?
   74 - The Lord Our Righteousness
   75 - The Believers Hope
   76 - From Nothing to Everything
   77 - Lost, Driven Away, Broken, Sick
   78 - Can These Bones Live?
   79 - Four Things God Taught Nebuchadnezzar
   80 - Thy God Will Deliver Thee
   81 - Hosea--Type of Christ
   82 - A Famine to be Feared
   83 - Salvation is of the Lord
   84 - A Fountain Opened for Mourners
   85 - The Messenger of the Covenant

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