Reading the Word
Psalm 103:1–5 (ESV)
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Understanding and Applying the Word
The opening is a call to “bless” the Lord because of all he does. It is the Lord who forgives sin, heals us, redeems us, shows his love for us, and gives so many good things.
It may seem odd that we could “bless” the Lord. God alone can bless, right? The Hebrew word barak stands behind the English translation. It can mean “to praise, bless, or adore”. In the context of this psalm, it seems best to understand it as a call to praise and adore the Lord for all he does for us. Verse 2 is especially important to this psalm as it calls on us to “forget not all his benefits”. We need to remind ourselves of all of the good things God has done and continues to do. As the old song says, we should “count your blessings…and see what God has done.” And let us praise him for those things!
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