Bless the Lord

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.

He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.

Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
(Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10)

Scripture Study

103:1 Bless the Lord The psalmist repeats this command six times (vv. 1, 2, 20, 21, 22). The Hebrew word used here, barakh (which may be literally rendered as “to bless”), describes bestowing someone with special power or declaring the Lord to be the source of special power. In that regard, it means praising the Lord for who He is. bless his holy name This refers primarily to the essential character and nature of Lord.

103:3 He pardons The psalmist praises God because He forgives sins. your iniquities Refers to a sickness or some condition of illness.

103:4 He redeems The Hebrew word used here, go’el, refers to a person who rescues another from a form of bondage through outside help. The term is applied to situations ranging from physical harm, to slavery, to debt. he crowns you The psalmist emphasizes God’s love, rather than His justice or retribution. God’s chesed is central to His character. compassion The Hebrew word used here, rachamim, describes a deeply felt care or mercy.

103:6–10 The psalmist now focuses on the Lord’s character. Because of His loving nature, the Lord acts on behalf of Israel. He is merciful, and therefore He cares for Israel.

Scripture Reflection

The words of the psalmist give voice to the thankfulness of sinners that the LORD is a God of mercy and grace. It recites in a concentrated way what Israel learned about the ways of God; the LORD had not dealt with them according to their sins.

“Why should the wonders he hath wrought / Be lost in silence and forgot?” (Isaac Watts). The exhortation of the soul with which this hymn begins warns against the danger of forgetting. The psalm is a marvelous way to remember, and there is nothing more important for sinners to remember in life and in death than the sovereignty of divine grace.

– James Mays

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.