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This is such a precious psalm, with David singing heartfelt praise to the Lord.  A man with such a sense of sin certainly can appreciate the preciousness of the pardon of those sins and King David seems to greatly appreciate the Lord’s forgiveness in this psalm.  This psalm divides nicely into three sections:

In verses 1-5, David sings of personal mercies which he had himself received from the Lord.

In verses 6-19, David sings of the attributes of the Lord as seen in his dealings with His people.

In verses 20-22, David calls upon all the creatures in the universe to adore the Lord and join with him in blessing the Lord. 

Three times in this psalm, in verses 1, 2, and 22, David repeats, “Bless the LORD, O my soul.”  The word ‘bless’, as applied to God, means to praise Him; suggesting a strong affection for Him as well as a sense of gratitude for all His benefits towards us.  We read in Deuteronomy 6:5, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”  In this psalm, David is stirring himself up to praise the Lord.  He calls upon his soul, his heart and all his might to sing praises to the Lord who had blessed him with such great benefits.  These first five verses are very personal, so we can see that the Lord had indeed forgiven his iniquities, healed his diseases, redeemed his life from destruction, crowned him with loving kindness and tender mercies, and satisfied his longing and renewed his youth.  How greatly the Lord had blessed David.  How grateful is David for all the Lord had done for him.

In verses 6-19, David considers some of the attributes of the Lord.  We learn in this portion of the Lord’s righteousness and justice.  We learn in Psalms 103:8that, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.”  We learn in verse 10 that, “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.”  We learn in verse 17 that, “…the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.”  What a great and wonderful God David knew and served.  This is the same great and wonderful God that we are privileged to serve.  May our hearts overflow in praise to our mighty, merciful, and gracious Lord.

In verses 20-22, David calls on all God’s creation to bless, or praise the Lord along with him.  He calls out to the angels, to the myriads of angelic beings that were created to serve the Lord.  He calls out to creation, both animate and inanimate, to join him in praise to the Creator.  Compare this with Psalm 148where David calls for the angels, all creation, the animals, and for all men everywhere to praise the Lord.  He writes in Psalms 148:13, “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.” 

Then, Psalm 103 ends with the same phrase it begins with, “Bless the LORD, O my soul.”  There is nothing more valuable for the believer than to spend time in meditation and praise to our blessed Lord.  May we all listen to the words of David in this precious psalm and praise the Lord!  (129.6)