Psalm 103: 1-12 (NIV)
1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits –
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger for ever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
This Psalm, attributed to David, exhorts us all to praise the Lord. The Psalmist has given us good reason to do so. Let us consider some of those attributes that would cause us to desire to praise God:
- he has forgiven our sins;
- he has healed our diseases;
- he has redeemed our lives from the pit;
- he has crowned his people with love and compassion;
- he has satisfied our desires with good things;
- he has renewed our youth;
- he works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed;
- he is compassionate;
- he is gracious;
- he is slow to anger;
- he abounds in love;
- he desists from accusing;
- he does not continually harbour anger;
- he does not treat us as our sins deserve;
- he does not repay us according to our iniquities;
- he has unmeasurable love for those who fear him;
- he has removed our transgressions from those who love him.
We recall that this is the Lord of heaven and earth, the creator, redeemer, sustainer of all that is. How can it be that our transgressions, our sins, can be so readily swept away from before the one who will not countenance evil? How can the one who works righteousness and justice overlook disobedience to him? We have the answer in the Psalm: “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love” (verse 8). His love is for those who fear him (verse 11).
I find it remarkable that David was able to anticipate the redemption won for “those who fear him” by Jesus Christ through his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to be with the Father. For David, who had been brought up under instruction in the law given by the Lord to Moses, to know the way of Christ “who redeems your life from the pit” (verse 4) and who “removed our transgressions from us” (verse 12) points to the closeness of David to God in his inner, spiritual life. May we seek to emulate that closeness of relationship through our willingness to surrender, to love and to obey.