Psalm 103 starts and ends with praising God, and everything in between is a list of reasons God is worthy. Forget not all his benefits, David says. Forget not. They are too numerous to count, yet David is taking a run at it. Number one on his list is the forgiveness of God…
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
The forgiveness of God is incredible in the face of our sin against him. Yet he is slow to anger and abounding in love (vs. 8). Rather than treating us as we deserve (vs. 9), he removes our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west.
The example David uses of God’s kindness and forbearance is Moses and the people of Israel. When we know the story of Israel – their rescue and their wandering and their repetitive questioning of God – we see David’s description of God come to life. God’s patience and compassion with Israel is greater than we would ever grant our own children.
And we receive that compassion from God also.
God desires to crown us with his love and compassion (vs. 4). He wants to work righteousness and justice for the oppressed (vs. 6). And in the middle of all this, God satisfies our desires with good things so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s (vs. 5). Huh? Isn’t forgiveness enough? Isn’t the mercy of God enough satisfaction?
It is, yet God doesn’t stop at enough.
God wants to renew our youth.
He wants to see us enjoy life.
He wants us to soar like eagles.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Praise the Lord indeed…