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A Meditation of Psalm 103

Psalm 103 - A Psalm of David (KJV)

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.

10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.

14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.

16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.

17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

20 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.

21 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.

22 Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
A Meditation of Psalm 103

One of the most beautiful psalms, psalm 103 is the psalm of choice at special thanksgiving occasions. God blesses us, so we need to bless God: this is the summary of the psalm.

The word "bless" is used with several different meanings.

1. To make holy by religious rite; sanctify.
2. To make the sign of the cross over so as to sanctify.
3. To invoke divine favor upon.
4. To honor as holy; glorify: Bless the Lord.
5. To confer well-being or prosperity on.
6. To endow, as with talent.

When we say, God blesses us, we mean the fifth one – God gives us prosperity or well-being. When we say we bless God, we mean, the fourth one – we honor or glorify God.

"Bless" in its fifth meaning may be considered the opposite of "curse". To bless someone means to wish for his/her well-being. To curse someone means to wish for his/her misfortune.

It is possible to bless God or curse God. Job's wife advised Job to curse God and die (Job 2:9) in the midst of excruciating afflictions. Her reasoning was this: God has cursed us, so let us also curse God in return. But Job refused to accept her reasoning.

He said:
Naked I came from my mother's womb,
And naked I shall return there
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD (Job1:21)

Instead of cursing God, he blessed God. He believed that whatever he had really belonged to God. God took only what belonged to God, not what belonged to Job. On the other hand, Job's wife believed that God took way what belonged to them. Here curse means accuse for wrongdoing, and bless means vindicate or justify. Job's wife believed that God was wrong, so she blamed God, and cursed God. Job believed that God was right, so he justified God, and blessed God.

It is not uncommon for us in our day to day life to be like Job's wife, and curse God. In psalm 103, the psalmist lists a number of reasons to justify God, and tries his best to clear any misunderstanding we may have about God. It takes very strong faith to justify God, and to bless God in the midst of afflictions. Only God knows what He does, and why He does so. "Where was God when the Tsunami hit?" people ask. We ask such questions from our expectations of God as Job's wife had. Who are we to tell God what to do and what not to do?

The psalmist affirms that God is like a father to us. God is kind to us, and He forgives all our iniquities. At times He gets angry, but he does not stay like that long. There is a reason for God to treat us this way. God knows us in and out. God knows that we are just like dust or like flowers. We are not God's match for God to hate us or treat us as enemies.

At the beginning of the psalm (vs. 1-5) the psalmist tells himself to bless the Lord. Then (vs.6-18), he tells all the people in the world to bless the Lord. Finally (vs. 19-22), he tells all the angels and everything else that exist everywhere else to bless the Lord.

See Also:

Hymn of a Grateful Heart: Psalm 137

Thanksgiving Psalm: Psalm 135

God Our Protector (Based on Psalm 91)

A Meditation of Psalms 105 and 106

A Meditation of Psalm 104

More Christian Prayers

More Prayers Useful to Many faiths

All Prayers

Prayer and Spirituality Infocenter

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