Reflections from the Psalms

Psalm 103

Bless the LORD, all his hosts…Bless the LORD, all his works…Bless the LORD, O my soul!”

~ Psalm 103:21-22

This psalm is a very quotable psalm.  Many “one-liners” have been extracted from this psalm; used both rightly and I am sure, unfortunately, out of context.  You will quickly identify these “lines” as you read the psalm today.

Psalm 103 begins (v.1-5) and ends (v.20-22) with a call to benediction.  A benediction is a “blessing” or the “giving of blessing”.  Most often we think of a benediction at the close of a church gathering time when a Pastor speaks a blessing over the people by quoting directly a statement of blessing as found in God’s Word.  Here in Psalm 103, the psalmist sets the example of giving a benediction not to God’s people but to God himself; doing so as he gives the command/instruction for us (“soul”) (v.1-5), angels (“hosts”) (v. 20-21) and all God’s creation (“works”) (v.22) to also bless the LORD.

In verses 6-19 we find an elaboration of the ‘whys’ and the ‘whats’ that we should bless the LORD for.  The ‘whys’ are of his character, the ‘whats’ are of his works.  The ‘whys’ are our motivation, the ‘whats’ are our proof/validation. 

We are again reminded in this psalm of the brevity of our existence (v.14-16) and the eternality of God (v.17).  We also see a fantastic picture of God as a steadfast, gentle, loving, compassionate, forgiving, covenant-keeping Father.  This Father of ours is also the King of the universe; his throne is in the heavens and rules over all (v.19).  Our King/Father is merciful and gracious (v. 8,10), righteous and just (v.6).

Read this psalm along with Romans 8:31-39 and rest in the overwhelming certainty and security of your union with God in Christ.