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Psalm 103 - 10,000 Reasons To Bless The Lord

Andy Yung

Psalms 103 ESV

Vs. 1-5

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits,

who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Psalm 103 was written by David.

The Hebrew word barak means to kneel and to show respect, and it is translated into the English word “blessed”. It is an act of respect and adoration.

Some versions of the Bible, like the NIV and NLV for example, translate the above verses as “Praise the Lord” instead of “Bless the Lord”. While there is certainly an element of ‘praise’ when we bless God, the act of kneeling in respect may be missed in the word ‘praise’.

Consider the posture of praising God in a kneeling posture looking up to our Heavenly Father. God is incredibly great. The praise that God deserves is more than mere words of thanks or appreciation; it has to be with heartfelt gratitude. We may struggle to praise God because we take the benefits we’ve gained from God for granted. We may even forget the death of Christ and only get reminded during Communion!

This is not acceptable, but that’s how we treat God when we are reluctant to connect with our Creator. How often have we not given God due respect in our worship? Have we had mediocre prayers or attended church services to put a tick on our to-do list? If it is a struggle for David, let us not be surprised that it’ll be a struggle for us too.

David asked “all that is within me (him)”, every part of his body, to bless the Lord’s holy name. While we’re in church or doing our quiet time, it is easy for our eyes to get distracted, our bodies to tire and our minds to wander. David realised his weakness and we should realise ours too. We can imitate David by calling all that is within us to praise God, with all our hearts, souls and minds.

God’s “holy name” describes the very characters of God. It is not simply a way to address Him, but describes all of His goodness. God is our provider. He is love. He watches over us. He is faithful. He is righteous.

David reminded himself to “forget not all His benefits”. We easily forget God’s benefits. Do we speak much about the benefits that God has blessed us with in our prayers and our daily conversations with others?

What are God’s benefits?

God “forgives all your iniquities”. Have we forgotten that Christ died for our sins? Are we showing Christ the gratitude that is due him? And do we forgive others just as God has forgiven us?

God “heals all your diseases”. We are certainly not immune to death. But God has healed us from my sicknesses since young, and more importantly, He has healed us from our spiritual diseases.

God “redeems your life from the pit”. We were doomed to die, to be judged and go to hell for our sins. But we have been redeemed through Christ’s blood from the hopeless Abyss.

God “crowns you with steadfast love and mercy”. He crowns us! Through our sins, we gave Jesus a crown of thorns, but God crowns us with unwavering love and mercy. He will never leave us. He continues to love us and show us mercy despite our disbelief and disobedience.

God “satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.” He energises us physically and spiritually by satisfying both needs. We are renewed by His love and His grace has made us whole again. The hope of salvation strengthens and encourages us, so we can soar like eagles.

Vs. 6-7

The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.

He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the people of Israel.

The Israelites were oppressed, but God heard their cries and vindicated them with justice. He works for us who are oppressed too. We do not need to worry about the injustice or wicked schemes that people have against us. We know that God is in control. He will work righteousness and bring us justice.

God made His ways known by introducing His laws to Moses so that His people could learn to live in righteousness. He also made Himself known through the acts He did for His people. God has made His ways known to us through His son, Jesus Christ. When we see Jesus, we see God. We have seen the incredible love of God through Jesus.

Vs. 8-13

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

He will not always chide, nor will He keep His anger forever.

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him;

as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.

As a father shows compassion to His children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him.

We are fortunate that God is merciful and we do not get what we deserve. Because of our pride, we often imagine ourselves to be better than what we really are, and we think we deserve better from God. But if we remember the sins we’ve committed, we know we deserve condemnation. We will then realise how patient and gracious God is, and be thankful. He continues to show us compassion and removes our sins.

David (and many others before Christ) didn’t get to know Jesus. They lived by faith for the promise of the Messiah but never got a chance to see the Christ (Hebrews 11:13, 39). But we are so fortunate to be born after the death and resurrection of Jesus. We get to learn of God’s love through Jesus. Does this privilege help you appreciate God’s love more?

Vs. 14-18

For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;

for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children,

to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments.

“The word rendered ‘frame’ is literally, ‘formation’ or ‘fashioning,’ and comes from the same root as the verb employed in Genesis 2:7 to describe man’s creation. ‘The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.’ It is also used for the potter’s action in moulding earthen vessels. (Isaiah 29:16, etc.) So, in the next clause, ‘dust’ carries on the allusion to Genesis, and the general idea conveyed is that of frailty.” (Maclaren)

“In all His conduct towards us He considers the frailty of our nature, the untowardness of our circumstances, the strength and subtlety of temptation, and the sure party (till the heart is renewed) that the tempter has within us.” (Clarke)

When God formed us, we are formed in His image but not His divinity. We are mortal men who are weak in our flesh. God knows our weaknesses; He is not a demanding supervisor who allows us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. He is our creator and does not expect us to do it all by ourselves. We are made from dust, so God knows we are not men (and women) of steel. We are like grass and flowers, flourishing for a while and wilting soon after. For those who fear Him, the steadfast love of the LORD is everlasting. For those who remain in Jesus, God will make it right for us. His righteousness lasts forever.

Vs. 19-22

The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.

Bless the LORD, O you His angels, you mighty ones who do His word, obeying the voice of His word!

Bless the LORD, all His hosts, His ministers, who do His will!

Bless the LORD, all His works, in all places of His dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Not only did David command his soul to bless the Lord, he called the angels and everyone else to bless the Lord because there are so many reasons to bless Him!

David ended this psalm the same way he began it. He called his soul to bless God, to honour Him and to give the praise due to Him (with the respect of a kneeling posture). This should inspire us to wake up and give thanks to God. Psalm 103 lists many reasons to bless the Lord. If we ponder upon how good God has been to us, we will find many more reasons to bless Him too.

Psalm 103 was Mat Redman’s inspiration when he wrote the song “10,000 Reasons”. When we sing the verse, “sing like never before of His holy name”, think of all the benefits of God – the forgiveness of our sins, redemption from the pit, the crown of mercy and love. Let’s call upon every part of our body to thank God and not give Him a mediocre worship. When we feel upset with life or injustice, think about God. There are more than 10,000 reasons to thank God, for more than 10,000 years.

Let’s ponder upon the lyrics as we lift our voices in praise of God.

10,000 Reasons

Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I'll worship Your Holy name

The sun comes up

It's a new day dawning

It's time to sing Your song again

Whatever may pass

And whatever lies before me

Let me be singing

When the evening comes

Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I'll worship Your Holy name

You're rich in love

And You're slow to anger

Your name is great

And Your heart is kind

For all Your goodness

I will keep on singing

Ten thousand reasons

For my heart to find

Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I'll worship Your Holy name

Bless You Lord

And on that day

When my strength is failing

The end draws near

And my time has come

Still my soul will

Sing Your praise unending

Ten thousand years

And then forevermore


Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I'll worship Your Holy name

Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I'll worship Your Holy name

Yes I'll worship Your Holy name

I'll worship Your Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I'll worship Your Holy name

Jesus I will worship Your Holy name

Worship Your Holy name

Andy Yung

Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit. Andy joined the Central Christian Church in 1990.

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