Thoughts on Psalm 103, Day 20 Lent 2013
I managed to read the last third of the Psalms this morning in my mega Lenten reading and Psalm 103 was my favorite today. The version below is from The Message. I'm captivated by vs. 3-5. It's poetic in its declarations, yet so hopeful. God is presented so tenderly in vs. 6-18. In the midst of all the violence in David's time and before, not just between people, but from God towards people, the poet emphasizes the opposite. Despite all of my cynical biblical criticism, and all of my intellectual rigidity, my heart still responds to such gentleness. I want to highlight a few of the verses, but I love them all. When I read them, I can easily respond to David's exhortation at the end, Let us worship.
A David Psalm
1-2 O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing!
3-5 He forgives your sins—every one. He heals your diseases—every one. He redeems you from hell—saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal. He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.
6-18 God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet. He showed Moses how he went about his work, opened up his plans to all Israel. God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins. As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him. He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we’re made of mud. Men and women don’t live very long; like wildflowers they spring up and blossom, But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly, leaving nothing to show they were here. God’s love, though, is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, Making everything right for them and their children as they follow his Covenant ways and remember to do whatever he said.
19-22 God has set his throne in heaven; he rules over us all. He’s the King! So bless God, you angels, ready and able to fly at his bidding, quick to hear and do what he says. Bless God, all you armies of angels, alert to respond to whatever he wills. Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are— everything and everyone made by God. And you, O my soul, bless God!