Psalm 103:1-8 (NRSV)
Verse 1Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Verse 2Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits-
Verse 3who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
Verse 4who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
Verse 5who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Verse 6The Lord works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed.
Verse 7He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
Verse 8The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
“What do I give to someone who has everything?” Have you ever struggled with that dilemma? This is even more of a dilemma in our response to God, the Giver par excellence!
In verses 5 through 8, the psalmist lists great gifts that God gives to us: God forgives, heals, redeems your life, crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, satisfies you with good, works vindication and justice, has made God’s ways known to us, and shown us that God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
How do we respond? What can we give to God? The Psalmist calls us to remember what God does for us (“do not forget all his benefits”), and to “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” This blessing is not to be just words of praise, but to include “all that is within me”–all that we say and do.
Generous God, help me to remember all of your benefits to me, even on days that I am discouraged. By your Spirit inspire me to bless you with all that is within me! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.