Psalm 103

103:0Bible students believe that David wrote this psalm when he was an old man. It tells us 7 times to praise the LORD, (tell him that he is very great). The LORD is the covenant name for God. A covenant is when two groups of people agree. Verses 17 and 18 of the psalm tell us about the covenant, or what God and his people have agreed to do.

The Love of God

This is a psalm of David.

103:0The psalm has three parts:

– Verses 1-5: David must praise the LORD.

– Verses 6-18: the love of the LORD to his covenant people.

– Verses 19-22: the angels must praise the LORD.

1 I say to myself: Praise the LORD!

Everything that is in me, praise his holy name!

2 I say to myself: Praise the LORD!

And never forget any of the good things that he has given you!

3 I say to myself: He forgives all your sins.

He makes you well again when you are ill.

103:3In verse3 David wrote ‘He (the LORD) forgives all your sins.’ As he is talking to himself, he means ‘the LORD forgives all my sins.’ Our sins are the wrong things that we do when we do not obey God's rules. When we ask him, God will always forgive our sins. That means he will not punish (hurt) us because we have broken his rules.

4 He redeems you from the Pit.

His kind love and mercy are special things that he gives to you.

103:4As verse 4 says, ‘He redeems you from the Pit.’ The Pit was a place in Sheol. Sheol was where the Jews believed that dead people went. (Jews are people who were born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.) The Pit was the worst bit of Sheol. It was a very bad place. But David believed that when God forgives us, ‘he redeems us from the Pit.’ This means that he stops us going there! Instead of going to a bad place when we die, we go to where God is. That is a very good place. We call it heaven. God does this because of his mercy. This means that he is kind to us when he should punish (hurt) us.

When David knew all this, he felt strong again. He felt as a young eagle feels. An eagle is a large bird. It flies high in the sky, and feels strong and free. When God forgives us, we will feel as David felt!

5 He gives you the good things that you want.

So, you become strong again as a young eagle.

6 The LORD does righteous and fair things

for all oppressed people.

103:6In verses 6-18, David talks about the covenant people. These people have agreed to love and obey him because he has agreed to be their God. He is a righteous God, verse 6. This means that he always does what is right. He took his oppressed people from Egypt to the land of Israel. The Egyptians had oppressed the Jews. This means they were cruel to them, they were not kind. They made them work very hard and gave them very little. But the LORD told Moses his plan, (verse 7). He took the Israelites (the Jews) away from Egypt.

The LORD did this because:

– He is kind, verses 8-12,

– And is as a father to his people, verses 13-16.

God made us, (verse 14), and he knows that he made us from dust. Dust is the small bits of the ground that we live on. To God, our lives are very short, just as the life of a flower seems short to us, (verse 15).

7 He showed Moses his plans

and he showed the Israelites what he was going to do.

8 The LORD likes people and is very kind.

He is slow to get angry and has a lot of kind love.

9 He will not always say that we are wrong.

He will not always be angry.

10 We do wrong things.

He does not punish us for them as much as he should.

11 The sky is high above the earth.

So his kind love is great to those people that love him.

12 As far as the east is from the west,

so far has he taken our sins from us.

13 As a father is kind to his children,

so the LORD is kind to people that are afraid of him.

14 Because he knows how he made us,

he remembers that we are only dust.

15 The life of a man is as short as the life of grass!

He lives as short a time as the wild flowers in a field!

16 The wind blows over it and it dies!

Nothing remembers it any more.

17 But the kind love of the LORD

will always be with those that are afraid of him.

And his righteousness will be with their children's children.

18 They will be with those people that do what they have agreed to do.

They will be with those people that remember to obey his rules.

103:18Verses 17 and 18 tell us about the covenant. God's righteousness (the good things that he does) will always be with his people. They will always obey him.

19 The LORD has built his throne in heaven.

He is king over everything.

20 Praise the LORD, you who are his angels.

You are strong and powerful.

You do what he tells you to do and you obey his word.

21 Praise the LORD, all you his armies in heaven.

You are his servants that do what he wants you to do.

22 Everything that he has made

and everything that he rules over, praise the LORD!

I say to myself, praise the LORD!

103:22The psalm ends by telling the angels to praise God in heaven. The angels are his servants in heaven. Heaven is the home of God. His throne is the special seat that he sits on. All kings have a throne, and God is king over everything, (verse 19). ‘Built his throne in heaven’ means that God is king in heaven.

In verse 22 David says what he said in verse 1. I say to myself, praise the LORD!