Psalm 103:(1-7), 8-13 (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.
Verse 9He will not always accuse, nor will he keep his anger forever.
Verse 10He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
Verse 11For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
Verse 12as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us.
Verse 13As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
King David had personally experienced the depth of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness. After raping Bathsheba and arranging for her husband, Uriah, to be conveniently killed in battle, David had been confronted with his guilt by Nathan the prophet (2 Samuel 12). He suffered the consequences of his sins, but he also gained a deep appreciation for the love and forgiveness of God! Eugene Peterson puts it this way: “God is sheer mercy and grace” (Psalms). Our human tendency is to be judgmental of others and to minimize our own faults. This psalm reminds us that we need not be afraid to honestly admit our shortcomings to God and can enjoy the loving forgiveness that flows from God’s “sheer mercy and grace.” In a time in which religion is often used to judge and condemn, this Psalm is a joyful song for us to celebrate God’s awesome, boundless love for us!
Holy Spirit, open our hearts and minds to receive your divine love in a new, fresh way, so that we gain a stronger appreciation of your great and unwavering commitment to us. In Jesus Name. Amen.