PSALM 103 TALK: PRAISE GOD FOR THE BENEFITS OF KNOWING HIM

PSALM 103 TALK: PRAISE GOD FOR THE BENEFITS OF KNOWING HIM

 (A Psalm that calls us to praise God for all the wonderful benefits of knowing him both personally and as his people, those who belong to his church who are all the true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ. We are to join with the Angels in heaven and all creation in heart felt thankful praise for our God and Savior Jesus Christ.)

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INTRODUCTION

 One of our two ministers of our church runs regularly a evangelistic program for non – believers called Christianity explained and he was telling us recently that in one of these courses a participant told him that he could see the truth and value of the Christian message. Thinking that this young man was now willing to turn to the Lord Jesus in faith and commitment he was surprised that the young man went on to say but I am not willing at this stage of my life to give up my way of life, my friends and the things I enjoyed in this life.

Many non – believers are like this young man see becoming a Christian or as some put becoming religious means giving up lots of things in life and to take on living a boring or unattractive life style. My answer to this is nothing could be further from the truth. Yes I might have had to give up a few things when I became a Christian like getting drunk or swearing or other things like that but my experience and the experience of all my Christian friends over the years is that I was given far more and greater things by God than I had to give up.

What are the benefits then of being a true believer of Christ?

Many of the answers to this important question is given in Psalm 103 and the key verse of this wonderful Psalm is verse 2,

“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits”.

 The Psalm then gives us many wonderful benefits of knowing God in our life, first from a personal point of view and then from a corporate or being in God’s kingdom or family point of view. I hope to open to you what these benefits of knowing the Lord are in this Psalm talk.

However before we launch into that I would like to make some basic background remarks to this Psalm. First of all the Psalms Hebrew heading says that this Psalm was written by King David,

“Of David”

 Reads the heading and yet we know that this Psalm is part of a collection of Psalms we call, the fourth book of Psalms put together some time after the return from exile from Babylon by the Jews probably around the time of the building of the second Temple in the early period of what is known as the Intertestamental period said to be around 400 years. The last prophet of the Old Testament is Malachi who wrote his prophecy around 420BC.

Most of the Psalms in the fourth book seem to reflect the return from exile or just before that. However Psalm 103 has a Hebrew heading telling us King David who lived around 600 years before this time wrote it.

The answer to this is that each of the collectors of the books of Psalms seemed to have researched for material for their new collections that were recently written but were written in the past but not yet part of any of the books of Psalms. Psalm 103 could have been a Psalm of David that their research found and therefore this Psalm was finally put into the book of Psalms in the fourth collection.

When did David write this Psalm?

We are not told the answer to this question but some commentators like Spurgeon put forward the argument that it was probably written by David late in his life as Spurgeon writes,

“Doubtless by David, it is in his own style when at its best, and we should attribute it to his later years when he had a higher sense of the preciousness of pardon, because a keener sense of sin, than in his younger days”.

 The Psalm starts with a call to praise God and concludes with a call for praise and what we have in – between is a wonderful catalogue of reasons or benefits for praising the Lord.

With this in mind my outline for this Psalm is:

  1. (1 – 5)   PERSONAL PRAISE

 

  1. (1 – 2)   A call for personal praise
  2. (3 – 5)   The benefits of knowing the Lord personally

 

  1. (6 – 18) CORPARATE PRAISE

 

  1. (6 – 13)   The benefits of knowing the Lord for his people
  2. (14 – 18) The nature of man contrasted with the nature of God

 

  1. (9 – 22) HEAVENLY AND UNIVERSAL PRAISE

 

  1. (19 – 20) Heavenly praise
  2. (21 – 22) Universal praise

  

  1. (1 – 5)   PERSONAL PRAISE

 

  1. (1 – 2)   A call for personal praise

 David starts with the call,

“Praise the Lord”

 I counted that nine other David psalms start with a call to praise sometimes using other words to do this like Psalm 66 saying “Shout with joy to God” and Psalm 30 saying, “I will exalt you, O Lord”. So David was keen to praise the Lord and also keen that others like us should join him in praise and worship the great God he trusted and believed in.

Paul in the New Testament was also keen on calling the followers of the Lord Jesus to praise their God and savior like Philippians 4: 4, using the words,

“Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say again, Rejoice”.

 Note how Paul says, “always” and this is made even clearer in his call to praise God in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 – 18,

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

 We know Paul practiced what he preached as we see him and Silas in prison in Philippi in acts 16 and verse 25, which says,

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening”.

 What impact this praising of God in a most difficult time had on the other prisoners we do not know but I could imagine they would have been at least scratching their heads wondering what on earth these two men where on to be so joyful in such a dark and terrible place like a first century prison cell.

David’s call for praise in verses 1 and 2 is a personal call because he uses the words,

“O my soul”

 twice and this expression Leupold says represents,

“His entire inner being”

 as the soul in the Old Testament represents our whole personality or our real self.

Why does David call on praise from his inmost being?

The answer lies in the final words of verse 2,

“And forget not his benefits”.

 As I said in the introduction many turn away from God and his message to them because they fear that if it is true and they are convinced to become believers in him they will some how miss out on enjoying life and become somehow trapped in a negative life of narrow thinking and boring living.

The reality is simply, for me, the opposite as it obviously was for David as he spoke of benefits for turning to the Lord and going his way in life. I can testify to the truth that the Christian life is not a life of giving up but rather is a life of taking up and has so many benefits.

Before we move into looking at these benefits of knowing the Lord as David will spell out in the rest of this Psalm I must warn against the false teaching of The Prosperity Gospel. The prosperity gospel or as it is also called, The health and wealth gospel of success teaches that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth.

“Got a question?” web page spells out even further this dangerous teaching with these words,

“The prosperity gospel, also known as the “Word of Faith,” the believer is told to use God, whereas the truth of biblical Christianity is just the opposite—God uses the believer”.

Paul warned Timothy about this type of false teaching that was prevalent even in New Testament times with these words in 1 Timothy 6: 3 – 5,

”If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain”.

Paul goes on to speak of the danger and even the evil of the love of money in verses 6 – 10,

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s”.

Note Paul is not saying money is evil but the love of money and to preach or teach that turning to Christ and going his way will bring certain material gain is falling into the trap of not only miss – understanding the real benefits of knowing God but falling into the trap of loving money and not God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is true that many people who turn away from a sinful life to the Lord will often experience financial gain as a result mainly because they no longer throw their money away in corrupting activities like gambling or living for material things alone but this is a natural by product of the Christian life and not the essence of it.

I remember in my Bible College days going on a mission week in a very poor area of Sydney and speaking to the minister in the church I worked with and he told me that one of the problems he faced was keeping newly converted families in his church and area. He said that many who came to know the Lord in their lives and go his way soon found that their lives were cleaned up so much they were able to save money and also they no longer wanted to live in the slums they had been renting but rather they worked towards building a new home for themselves in a new outer area of the city so they soon moved away.

I would like to suggest that the benefits of knowing the Lord are far more deeper and richer than material gain and involve primarily spiritual benefits as we will see David speak of in the following verses. This kind of benefit is expressed beautifully in Paul’s words in Philippians 4: 12 – 13,

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength”.

  1. (3 – 5)   The benefits of knowing the Lord personally

So at the end of verse 2, David says that he wants to praise the Lord from deep within himself because he did not want to,

“Forget not all his benefits”

Now in verses 3 – 5 he spells out some of the wonderful benefits he experienced from the Lord and in verses 6 – 13 he speaks of the benefits all the people of God know from knowing the Lord in their lives.

I see 6 benefits in these verses:

  1. Forgives (vs. 3a)
  2. Heals (vs. 3b)
  3. Redeems (vs. 4a)
  4. Crowns (vs. 4b)
  5. Satisfies (vs.5a)
  6. Renews (vs. 5b)

Lets then have a closer look at each of these six benefits of knowing the Lord.

  1. Forgives (vs. 3a)

David starts with the fist benefit of knowing the Lord as forgiveness, he writes,

“Who forgives all your sins”

For the non – Christian this might not seem to be much of a benefit for they usually do not recognize they are sinners or that sin is a problem that they need any help with but as Tremper Longman 111 aptly points out,

“Sin creates a barrier between humanity and a holy God, but God will forgive the sin of a contrite heart”.

Longman quotes then from Psalm 51: 17, written by David who is confessing his great sins of adultery and murder to God and in doing so is seeking God’s forgiveness,

“The sacrifice of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise”.

Paul makes it clear that we all have a problem with sin when he writes in Romans 3: 23,

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

David knew what a life changing experience being forgiven of his sins could be when he found the complete forgiveness of God and even as he was finding that he writes in Psalm 51: 13,

“Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you”.

Jesus came for one great purpose and that was to die on the cross to win for us the forgiveness of sins as 1 Peter 3: 18 says,

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit”.

Of course we must repent of our sins to be able to accept the forgiveness God offers through Christ and his death for us as Jesus stresses in Luke 5: 31 – 32,

“Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

This week I read a request for prayer and advice on Face book by a young youth pastor who graduated from the same bible College I attended years ago who now is in the US working as a youth pastor in a church there and who is having problems by some local teens from the church refusing to come while he continues to teach the need for repentance as they believe there is no necessity for repentance for salvation because grace is free.

It is true that repentance alone does not save us as it is the death of Jesus on the cross that does that but to be able to receive God’s free gift of forgiveness we must first turn away from sin and turn to God and ask Jesus to forgive us and he will as John says in 1 John 1:8 – 9,

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”.

Repentance also involves admitting we are sinners and need God’s forgiveness and this is a teaching found right through the New Testament and particularly in the Gospels and that was my advice to the young youth worker to take these young people through a Gospel in bible study like the Gospel of Mark.

How the forgiveness of sins is a great benefit is seen first and foremost in establishing a relationship with God which then has many wonderful benefits like meaning and purpose in life and inner peace which Paul speaks of in Philippians 4: 7,

“The peace of God, which transcends all understanding”

This makes God’s forgiveness a life changing benefit that cannot be qualified.

  1. Heals (vs. 3b)

We come then to probably the most controversial benefit David states he has in God which he expresses as,

“And heals all your diseases”

Taken on face value this seems to say believers in God will be healed of all diseases as a benefit of their faith in God. However we know that this simply does not happen in life as Christians have and will die of all sorts of diseases. The extreme charismatic Christians will argue that God does heal or cure all diseases if we have enough faith to believe so.

However this type of teaching puts the emphasis on our faith as the power and force that heals when the bible says that only God’s power heals as even this verse implies through the word “who” at the start of verse 3.

A good Christian friend of mine worked for many years with a extreme charismatic Christian who took the words of Isaiah in Isaiah 53: 5 literally when it says,

“”By his wounds we are healed”

The problem was this man, sadly suffered from an incurables illness that could be managed by modern medicine but he refused to take the medicine instead believing in this phrase from Isaiah 53: 5. As he got progressively sicker the man told my friend he was not healed because his faith was simply not good or big enough and he not only suffered physically but spiritually because of this incorrect teaching.

The truth is that in the context of Isaiah 53 the words,

”By his wounds we are healed”

Is referring to our spiritual state, our need for the healing of the soul sick with the consequences of sin as the first part of verse 5 says,

“But he was pieced for our transgressions he was crushed for our iniquities”.

So returning to the second benefit David speaks of namely,

“And heals all your diseases”

I go for the interpretation of this phrase that commentators like John Gill opt for as he says in these words,

“Spiritual diseases, or soul maladies, are here meant; the same with “iniquities” in the preceding clause”.

 It is sin, the great disease of the heart of every man and women that David is speaking of healing from here. Not that God cannot and does not heal a Christian of a serious disease for his glory to be declared to our world but all physical diseases always healed by God for the believer is not what David is speaking of here in Psalm 103 verse 3.

The benefits of this spiritual disease being healed, the disease of sin in the soul does have many outcomes and amazingly many physical diseases are healed when a person comes to Christ as they turn away from sins like drunkenness or sexual immorality.

Turning away from these sinful activities can commence physical healing as that person comes to Christ and stops or at least begins to stop such soul and body destroying activities.

Paul says this about the effect of truly coming to Christ in 2 Corinthians 5: 17,

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come”. 

  1. Redeems (vs. 4a)

The third benefit of personally knowing God in our lives is in verse 4a,

“Who redeems your life from the pit”

Some commentators have suggested that this could mean the writer, who we believe is David is speaking of literally being saved from death or “pit” and pit is usually a term for the grave in the Old Testament. However this also could be more in the spiritual sense that through God’s forgiveness of sins his cure of our spiritual diseased soul’s will save him from the grave or pit a fate that comes to all men and women. He is redeemed or God has paid the debt that sins brings because of it, as we will see later in the great statement of God’s in verses 11 and 12.

This would be in line with what Paul says in Romans 6: 23,

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

Many might argue that David writing in the Old Testament could not have had such a great hope in being redeemed by God from death but David declares in Psalm 23: 6,

“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”.

Even other writers of the Psalms had a sure hope like David of life beyond the grave, like the Son of Korah who wrote in Psalm 49: 15,

“But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself”.

This is a very similar thought to what David wrote in this verse in Psalm 103.

We of course have a much surer hope of eternal life through the redemptive work of God’s son Jesus Christ and this hope after death comes wonderfully through a verse like John 5: 24,

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life”.

Jesus made it very clear that he came to redeem us from our sins and we see this in a verse like John 10: 45,

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

  1. Crowns (vs. 4b)

David then uses a beautiful and powerful image to convey the benefits of God’s love and compassion for a true believer, that of a crown, he writes,

“And crowns you with love and compassion”

 Albert Barnes best unlocks this poetic image of being crowned with these words,

“The idea here is not merely that God is the source of these blessings, but that there is something of beauty, of dignity, of honor, as in the conferring of a crown or garland on anyone”.

 David as king was crowned to become king and all kings and queens have all through history had the same thing done to them but here God crowns us with his love and compassion. We are so special to God that he treats us all as his crowned kings and queens.

The New Testament goes much further than this as it speaks of all true believers not just being crowned by God through Christ but reigning with him in heaven, 2 Timothy 2: 12,

 “If we endure, we will also reign with him”.

Also Revelation 20: 6,

“Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him”.

 How can this be a benefit for a person who knows the Lord?

Well it is of course a great future hope but it also has many implications for us now in this life. Mainly it means we know a God in our lives who really loves and cares for us and like a king or queen we are treated with special attention and blessings if we turn in repentance and faith to him.

Here is just one more New Testament passage that speaks of our future hope in Christ having impact on our lives today, it is found in Pauls special prayer to God for the Ephesians in Ephesians 1: 15 -23,

“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way”.

What glorious benefits we enjoy through the love and compassion of God through his son Jesus Christ he truly has crowned us with his love and many blessings. These blessings are far more valuable and everlasting than earthly riches or fame and those who cheapen the benefits of knowing the love of God with the false promise of earthly riches are sadly not only wrong but are leading many to miss out on the far more wonderful riches we have in Christ.

  1. Satisfies (vs.5a)

The personal benefits we have in knowing God continue to roll on in verse 5 and in verse 5a we read these words,

“Who satisfies your desires with good things”

This benefit of satisfaction again must be viewed in spiritual terms as all other benefits so far have been. Spurgeon puts it this way,

“No man is ever filled to ratification but a believer, and only God himself can satisfy even him. Many a worldling is satiated but not one is satisfied’.

People seek after earthly riches and in my country people are bombarded with the message that material riches will make them really happy or satisfied in life. People spend hundreds of dollars a year on lotto or other get quick rich activities but the sad reality is many so called rich happy people are still miserable even in their fancy houses, cars and boats.

Many years ago I visited on behalf of a church I was working for a very rich resident of that area. This family was one of the original landowners of that part of Sydney and their family name is linked with a famous person in the early colony of Sydney. The women who now owned that property with her husband sat me down with a nice cup of tea in what I could only describe as a mansion. My eyes were popping out my head as I drank my tea and as I looked around. Then the lady who owned the house said to me, “You might think owning this house and having the famous name we have would bring you happiness but let me tell you honestly they have only given me and my husband nothing but unhappiness”.

God satisfies us deeply and that satisfaction is not built on material things like lots of money, houses, boats etc. but is the deep and wonderful satisfaction of the soul as we read of in Psalm 107: 9,

“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things”

And as Jesus says in John 6: 35,

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never go thirsty”.

Jesus is clearly speaking of spiritual hunger and thirst as he was speaking against people who wanted him to continue to give them physical food like he had just done in the feeding of the five thousand people.

This spiritual hunger is what the rich lady in that suburb of Sydney I visited years ago is speaking of.

Even if it seems that earthly riches has given someone earthly happiness we know that this so called happiness is very temporary as Jesus pointed out in the parable of the rich fool, Luke 12: 18 – 20,

“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”

Jesus goes on to say in the next verse,

“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God”.

The old saying is “you cannot take it with you” applies for those who think, earthly riches is the road to real happiness and satisfaction.

No the real benefit of knowing God is that deep and inner peace Paul spoke of in Philippians 4: 7,

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”.

This peace translates into Paul’s statement of his satisfaction later in that same letter a few verses on, 11 – 13,

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength”.

This promise of real and deep spiritual satisfaction is yet another point of praise we should offer to God every day of our lives.

  1. Renews (vs. 5b)

Finally David rounds off these benefits of knowing the Lord personally with these words in vs. 5b,,

“So that your youth is renewed like the eagle”.

I am no longer considered a “Youth” as I am now considered a senior citizen and if David wrote this Psalm later in his life as some commentators have suggested then he too is writing these words as a senior citizen of Israel.

So what is David saying when he speaks of his youth being renewed by God?

To understand this we must yet again remind ourselves that these words come from the Psalms, which are poetry so we cannot interpret them literally. All the ideas in this phrase from the Psalm are poetic images and must be interpreted likewise.

So the first poetic image is,

“Your youth is renewed”

This is not hard to interpret as we all look to our younger days as the days we had vitality, energy and life. At a recent bible study, which is full of people my age and older one lady speaking about being old said, “I am a 18 year old trapped in a 80 year old body”. Its true I don’t see myself as being old and I am the same person in many ways as I was at 18 but I am now in my late 60’s.

However even though God cannot take us back to enjoy the young bodies we had at 18 he can and does, spiritually, promise to renew us like being young again in our souls. Like another Psalmist named Asaph asked in his chorus for his song, Psalm 80 in verses 3, 7 and 19,

“Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved”.

Spiritual restoration is the great theme of Psalm 80 and I think what David is asking for in verse 5b in Psalm 103 is spiritual restoration with the words,

“So that your youth is renewed”

He wants his faith and commitment in God to be strong and vital again like our bodies are at 18. However like the song says, “I wish I knew what I know now, when I was younger”, I would not swap my knowledge and wisdom with any 18 year old any day. I believe God has made his church full of people who are both young and old as together we can achieve so much. The younger have the drive and enthusiasm and the older members have the wisdom and knowledge.

Then David makes it clear what he wants with the second poetic image that says,

“Like the eagle”

All of the commentators I read spoke of the eagle being in Old Testament times a symbol of strength and vitality and this again I believe is spiritual strength and vitality and is expressed so well in the famous reference to a eagle in Isaiah 40: 30 and 31,

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”.

Maybe Isaiah knew David’s Psalm and gained inspiration from it but he speaks of youth as well as gaining renewed strength from God like a souring eagle so magnificent in flight.

Maybe there is a hint of physical renewal in both references and as I referred to earlier when you feel like an 18 year old trapped in an 80 years old body maybe physical renewal of any kind is just what you really desire.

The discussion at the bible study of seniors I attended when what it feels like to be old or aging was discussed a very encouraging sharing of the promise of God in the New Testament of a new body. And new body given to us when we rise in the great resurrection when Christ returns which Paul describes this way in 1 Corinthians 15: 50 – 55,

“I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

 For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”[

This is a great benefit and hope not only for aging people with frail sickly bodies but anyone who’s body is failing at any age as we all will be given new and wonderful bodies in heaven and that is something we all should praise God for.

  1. (6 – 18) CORPARATE PRAISE
  1. (6 – 13)   The benefits of knowing the Lord for his people

So David has listed in three short verses six wonderful personal benefits of knowing the Lord which he says we should praise the Lord for from the depths of our being, and now he moves to speak of six benefits we have as God’s people, the church that we should also praise God for.

These six benefits God gives his people, Israel –the Church are:

  1. Works righteousness and justice (vs. 6)
  2. Makes known his ways (vs. 7)
  3. Treats us with compassion and grace (vs. 8)
  4. Does not treat us as we deserve (verses 9 and 10)
  5. Loves us with a immeasurable love (verses 11 – 12)
  6. Loves us like a father loves his children (vs. 13)

Lets now have a closer look at each of these six wonderful benefits God gives his people.

  1. Works righteousness and justice (vs. 6)

Before we launch into the benefits of God’s people knowing the Lord I must first say that I believe that when I speak about God’s people I not talking about ancient Israel alone or even the Jews today but rather because of what Jesus did on the cross for people of every and any nation I am talking about God’s people in Christ, his church.

A key passage that sets up this way of seeing who God’s people are is Galatians 3: 26 – 29,

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”.

Paul had to write to the Galatians as they were yet another church that was under attack from probably well meaning Jewish Christians who wanted the non- Jewish believers to adopt the Jewish laws and traditions as well as believing in Christ for salvation. Paul rightly saw the error of these Jewish Christians as what I call the Jesus plus way of salvation when it is Jesus alone that saves us as Jesus clearly teaches in John 14: 6,

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

Paul and other disciples of Jesus like John and Peter knew that the only way we are saved into God’s family or Kingdom is through Jesus death and resurrection. If Paul and the early disciples had not fought this battle in the first century the Christian church or even its saving Gospel message would have been lost and Christianity would have just been swallowed up into Judaism as a forgotten religious oddity of the first century.

So we along with Jews and any other person from any other nation who put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are as Paul calls in Galatians 6: 16, The Israel of God,

“Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God”.

Some Christian commentators refuse to believe that Paul in this verse is not speaking of the church as “The Israel of God” but Jewish converts but to argue this is to argue against the whole central message of the letter to the Galatians that we are all now in God’s kingdom or family because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone no matter what nation of earth we claim to belong to even the Jewish nation.

So the first benefit of belonging to God’s family or Kingdom is found in verse 6,

“The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed”.

God working righteousness and justice for his people, which David calls, “the oppressed” is seen right through the bible and even in what Jesus did for us on the cross. Jesus died for our sins on the cross for those who put their faith and trust in him and this act of righteousness and justice, as Jesus paid for our sins, opened up a way for us into heaven. It also caused the defeat of Satan the oppressor as we see in John 12: 31 – 32,

“ Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

We see God working righteousness and judgement for his people the oppressed in the account of God freeing his people, Israel from slavery in Egypt where the oppressor, Pharaoh is defeated like Satan is defeated by Jesus on the Cross to free all men and women who are slaves to sin if they turn and accept his offer of forgiveness for their sins through Christ and his death for them.

This great escape from Egypt we will see is in David’s mind as he wrote Psalm 103 in the next benefits God’s people enjoy and should praise God for.

  1. Makes known his ways (vs. 7)

In verse 7, David makes it clear he has Moses and the exodus from Egypt and the giving of the law soon after that at Mt Sinai in mind with the words,

“He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel”

Maybe David even has a particular event in mind here that happened at Mt Sinai recorded in Exodus 33: 13,

 “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favour with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

God answers Moses request with the 10 Commandments and all the laws God gives Moses for the ancient people of Israel. These laws become a major part of God’s word to us, “his ways” and so the great benefit for God’s people in this verse is the very word of God.

Peter makes it clear that what men like Moses brought to us in declaring God’s ways or word was not the will of man but the will of God inspired by the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 20 – 21,

“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”.

The greatest of revelations from God when he makes known his ways is of course the word of God become flesh, as John puts it in John 1: 14,

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”.

God’s word that teaches us God’s ways then is a wonderful benefit we have from knowing the Lord and we should praise him continually for that from the depths of our being daily.

  1. Treats us with compassion and grace (vs. 8)

David with the people of Israel at the foot of Mt Sinai in mind now draws on famous words spoken by God in Exodus 34: 6 – 7a,

“And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin”.

This is a special revelation of God given to Moses as God passed before him as he hid his face from the spectacular glory of God.

So in verse 8 of Psalm 103 David writes,

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love”.

 This is the unique characteristic of the God of the bible so much unlike the alternative human inspired religious view of God that sees God as something other than a God of love.

Ancient Israel had no right to claim they deserved God’s love because even as Moses first went to the Mount Sinai to represent them before God they had turned away from the God of the bible and set up a golden calf to worship instead of the great yet invisible God of the entire universe.

Yet God continued to love them and the key word in this verse that presents the fourth great benefit of knowing the Lord is the word, “graciousness”.

Allan Harman writes,

“His grace gives them what they do not deserve – unmerited favour”.

 The grace of God is seen so clearly in the act of God in the New Testament in sending his only son into the world to die for our sins on the cross and Paul spoke heaps about this in all of his letters like Ephesians 1; 6 – 9,

“To the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,

In Ephesians 2 Paul makes it clear that we have been saved and are part of God’s people, the church not because of anything we have done but because of the grace of God alone, Ephesians 2: 4 – 10,

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.

So the fourth benefit we have through knowing God in our lives is his love and grace which also should cause us to praise God from our inner most being every day of our lives.

  1. Does not treat us as we deserve (verses 9 and 10)

David still has, I believe the words of Exodus 34: 6 – 7a in mind in verses 9 and 10 and particularly the words of verse 7a that says,

“Forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin”.

Maybe he has his own experience of God in mind as well when he writes in verses 9 and 10,

“He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities”.

 Remember David had committed adultery and murder and both these sins deserved death yet David turned to God in repentance and faith and was forgiven so God did not harbor his anger towards David and did not deserve or repay him according to his great iniquities.

All through Israel’s history the bible presents this amazing fact that even though they continually failed to truly trust and believe in God and in fact often committed great sin or iniquities God’s anger did not last and he took his people back out of his love and compassion for them.

Such is the love of God that he was willing to send his only son into the world to pay for all our iniquities as the great prophet foretold in Isaiah 53: 4 – 5,

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed”.

This too is yet another great benefit we have in knowing the Lord in our lives that deserves great praise.

  1. Loves us with a immeasurable love (verses 11 – 12)

David returns to the great benefit of the love of God and attempts to describe its dimensions with the words of verses 11 and 12,

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us”.

The measure David has for God’s love is immeasurable as it is as high as the heavens are from the earth and we know today that the heavens or space is endless. As far as east is from west which again is another poetic picture of endlessness or infinity. God’s love is as the old children’s chorus puts it,

Wide, wide as the ocean

High as the heavens above,

Deep, deep as the deepest sea

Is my Saviours love.

The chorus goes on to say:

I am so unworthy

Still I am a child of his care

For his word teaches me

That his love reaches me

Everywhere.

Paul speaks of this vast and wonderful love of God in Ephesians 3: 17 – 19,

“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”.

David knew this deep and wide love of God and his experience of particularly being forgiven by God for the sins of adultery and murder. This gave David experiential knowledge of the benefits of knowing the great and wonderful love of God which he never stopped thanking God for throughout his life.

  1. Loves us like a father loves his children (vs. 13)

Finally David gives a sixth great benefit of his people, the people of God knowing God in their lives and is expressed this way in verse 13,

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him”.

David uses a real and familiar poetic image of how God loves his people who fear or who show reverence to him namely the relationship of a father to a son. David loved his son Absalom so much that even after his son had turned against him and even tried to destroy him and the rest of his family David still loved him.

We see this in the description of David’s reaction to the death of his son Absalom in 2 Samuel 18: 33,

“The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”

David knew first hand how he still loved his son Absalom was disobedient and hateful to him but he also knew that God’s love for him and his people was far greater than a human’s fathers love for his children and Albert Barnes describes it this way,

“An infinitely higher degree, is the compassion – the kindness – which God has for those that love him”.

 Jesus told a wonderful parable about a fathers infinite love for his lost son in Luke 15 and the fathers reaction and words to his lost sons return mirror the love God has for us when we turn around to truly believe in him, Luke 15: 22 – 24,

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate”.

Such is God’s love for us that we read in the famous verse, John 3: 16,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

Jesus makes it clear that not only is God like a father to us, he is now our heavenly father and we should addressing as such as he says in the Lords prayer in Mathew 6: 9,

“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name”.

Finally Paul taught that this benefit of knowing God is made possible by the work of the Holy Spirit in the true believers heart in Romans 8: 15 – 17,

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[a] And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory”.

So we have seen now twelve great benefits of knowing the Lord but note David has emphasized that these benefits belong to those who “fear him” vs. 11, 13, 17, obey his precepts vs. 18 and obey his word vs. 20. So these benefits are only for those who seek to serve and obey the Lord who they now fear or revere.

  1. (14 – 18) The nature of man contrasted with the nature of God

This list of 12 benefits of knowing the Lord, six personal and six corporate is then brought to a end with five verses about the nature of God and man. Why this comes after the benefits of knowing the Lord are presented is found I believe in the opening words of verse 14,

“For he knows”

 We might say for God knows just what we are like especially compared to him and this is a reason why he as decided to give us these benefits out of his love for us.

We might decide to hold the hand of our young children as they walk along side a busy road because we know what they are like as little children or we might stop ourselves watching a type of movie or television show because we know what we are like because that type of movie or show has a bad or negative influence on us. So God shows us love and grace and is slow to anger because he knows what we are really like.

So what does David say God knows about us to give us his benefits of love and grace?

These five verses 14 – 18 tell us two things God’s knows about us in contrast to one contrasting thing about him and then finally confirms his love for those who obey his precepts or law or word.

So in this second part of the second section of this Psalm we will look at:

  1. How we are made of dust (vs. 14)
  2. How we are mortal beings (vs. 15 – 16)
  3. How God is immortal (vs. 17a)
  4. How God loves us because of this (vs. 17b – 18)

Lets have a close look at each of these four things:

  1. How we are made of dust (vs. 14)

God loves us first of all because of what we are, namely weak mortal beings made from dust. I looked up on Wikipedia the trace elements of the human body and this is what it said,

Almost 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Only about 0.85% is composed of another five elements: potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. All 11 are necessary for life. The remaining elements are trace elements, of which more than a dozen are thought on the basis of good evidence to be necessary for life. All of the mass of the trace elements put together (less than 10 grams for a human body) do not add up to the body mass of magnesium, the least common of the 11 non-trace elements.

 All these elements are found in the earth so when verse 14 of this Psalm says,

For he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust”.

This verse is speaking about a fact even science today speaks of but of course much of science does not agree that it was God who Genesis 2: 7,

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being”

Science might not recognize this but God knows how he made us and David says God remembers how he made us and he knows what we are like, weak, frail and fragile beings.

  1. How we are mortal beings (vs. 15 – 16)

With the first idea of our makeup in mind David goes on to speak of how because we are dust we are mortal beings with a very limited life span, verses 15 – 16,

“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more”.

God sees that we are made from dust and then he places in David’s mind because of this we live very short fragile lives. We have seen before this image of man being like grass in Psalm 37: 2, 90:5, 102: 11 and it is used also in Isaiah 40: 6 and again in the New Testament in 1 Peter 1: 24- 25. This image of grass is used in the Old Testament and the New for the fleeting nature of grass, which in the hot dry Middle East climate is gone very quickly especially when a hot dry wind blows over it.

Life does seem short and I can appreciate this especially now when I am in my late sixties. I have now seen many peoples passing some after 70 to 80 years others much shorter than that. My view is that if there is no God and hope therefore after death than life is really just a cruel short not so funny joke.

However God sees the shortness of our lives and in the next verse we will see he loves us and brings us hope in face of life’s fleeting shortness.

  1. How God is immortal (vs. 17a)

Before we see the hope God has for us we have at the start of verse 17 a statement about the nature of God compared to us,

“But from everlasting to everlasting”

God is not like us he is from everlasting to everlasting or he is eternal he has existed and he will always exist. This was the revelation Moses had of God at the burning bush in Exodus 3: 14 when God revealed his special name to Moses which states his special unique nature,

 “God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

Jesus because he shares in the nature of the complex God head also has this characteristic of eternity and this is why in Johns Gospel seven times he refers to himself with the title, “I am” and this is what is meant by what John says about Jesus in Revelation 1: 8,

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the almighty”.

I think one of the problems current modern thinking has about God creating the universe is they limit their thinking to only the material world and dismiss God as just a oversize man who is a myth. God is beyond this physical whelm and is different than man as he is eternal, he is immortal whie we are mortal and he had no beginning while we had a beginning and in this life a end.

  1. How God loves us because of this (vs. 17b – 18)

Then we see the hope in face of our mortality and shortness of life in the words of verse 17b and 18,

“The Lord’s love is with those who fear him. And his righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts”.

David gives his own quote of God’s promise of his covenantal love from Exodus 20: 6,

“ But showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandment”.

David knew his bible and I imagine as King he would have had total access to all of the scrolls that contained what was considered God’s word up to the time of his life as king almost 1,000 years before the coming of God’s word becoming flesh in the person of Jesus Christ.

From the first five books of the bible also known as the Torah, or law to Jews like David, David knew the great hope God offered in his covenant of love. He knew that this promise of God’s love was only for those who feared and obeyed the Lord. This promise of God’s love for generation to generation gave his short fragile life hope and meaning.

We have a greater promise of God’s love and the book of Hebrews has much to say about the greater hope of new covenant and we see something of this in Hebrews 7: 22 – 25,

“Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.

23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them”.

Note in this reference the greater value and permanence of this new covenant because of who Jesus is and what he has done for us. The writer of the book of Hebrews brings to a end his thoughts on the New Covenant Jesus has brought to us with these concluding remarks about it in Hebrews 13: 20 – 21,

“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen”.

  1. (9 – 22) HEAVENLY AND UNIVERSAL PRAISE

David completes his list of personal and corporate benefits with this reminder of God’s promise of covenant love and he is saying because of all these benefits God has given us we should praise and worship God with all of these things in our minds and hearts.

Now he looks beyond himself and his people or Nation to heaven itself and then all of creation for even more praise for this great God of love and grace. So we will now look at David’s call for heavenly praise and then his call for universal praise.

  1. (19 – 20) Heavenly praise

In verse 19 David lifts his eyes or gaze to heaven and speaks of God sitting on his throne and reigning in heaven in verse 19,

“The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.”

 These words remind me of my study of Psalms 93 – 100 which I called “Our God the king who reigns” Psalms and in the first one of these we read in the first two verses of Psalm 93,

The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure. Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity”.

Even though David wrote this Psalm long before it was placed finally in the fourth book of Psalms around the time of the return from exile in Babylon his words would have given the people of the post return from exile period great hope as they no longer had a king in Israel but they had a far greater king than even David himself as he was the king who reigns supreme over everything and everyone in heaven.

David saw that he was under a great king and his praise was for that king who sits in heaven and who rules or reigns over everyone and everything.

We have the same king who we know so much more about as we know that the Lord Jesus Christ was the fulfilment of the promised David king who will reign over every thing and everyone forever now from heaven as we read about in book of Revelation, like Revelation 11: 15,

 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”

 Note in this verse in the book of Revelation it is and angel who sounds the trumpet and it is probably Angels who speak the message of the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven and it is angels who David calls upon to join in his praise for the benefits of knowing the Lord in verse 20,

“Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word”.

 It seems that the angels are special higher created beings who serve God in heaven sometimes give the job of sending a special message to one of God’s chosen people like Daniel and Abraham and many other men and women in the bible.

The angels however seem to have the primary task in heaven of singing God’s praises and leading the worship of him in heaven.

We read a lot about the angels in heaven in the book of Revelation as we saw in that quote from Revelation 11: 15 but what about what we read in Revelation 5: 11 – 12,

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!”

 It seems strange that David is calling on the Angels to do what they do anyway without reminder or prompting but maybe David is speaking like he is in verse 20 in that he wants to join even the angels in praise of his God who has given him so many benefits through knowing him.

Note also that even the Angels in heaven have to obey God’s word and it seems that this was the downfall of Satan and a group of angels he led. Satan and these Angels turned away from obeying God’s word as we see from Isaiah 14: 12 – 15, Satan, here called “Son of the Dawn”, sought to make himself God breaking the law and word of God that God alone is God,

“How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” 15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit”.

Satan continues even to this day to lead a rebellion against God but his days are numbered and Jesus has defeated him on the cross but unto Christ returns his complete destruction and judgement like everyone’s will not happen unto Christ returns a second time to judge all of creation.

The warning is clear if one of the Angels can fall because he did not obey the expressed word of God than we must make sure we do not follow his example but like the majority of the Angels live to praise the Lord and do his bidding and obey his word.

  1. (21 – 22) Universal praise

 So David inspired by the Holy Spirit has offered up deep and sincere praise for the benefits of knowing the Lord personally and corporately as part of God’s special people which I believe is now the Church of Jesus Christ, all those from any and every nation who call on the name of the Lord Jesus to be save. He then calls on the Angels to join this great song of and now I believe David calls on all creation to join this song of universal praise.

There are a number of ways of interpreting just who or what David is calling upon to join him in praise in verse 21, which reads,

“Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will”.

There are three ways of interpreting just who “all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will” actually are.

The first is this is describing the Angels in heaven already asked to join in this great song of praise. The Angels as a number of times in the Old Testament the Angels are described as “the hosts” of God, like 1 Kings 22: 19,

“Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left”.

This would mean David is repeating his call for the Angels to join him in praising God for the benefits of knowing and serving him.

The second interpretation of the term, “all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will” is that heavenly hosts are God’s created celestial bodies he created spoken of as “hosts” or “array” in Deuteronomy 4: 19. The idea of these innate heavenly bodies praising God is found in verses like 1 Chronicles 16: 31 when David declares,

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations “The Lord reigns”.

A verse also found in Psalm 96 a Psalm adapted from David’s Psalm recorded in 1 Chronicles 16.

This would mean David is widening his call for praise to the creation itself that he declares in Psalm 19 verse 1 it does continually,

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”.

The only problem with this interpretation is how does the phrase, “you servants who do his will”, fit in to this interpretation?

It has been suggested that God placed the sun, moon and stars in place for a purpose and therefore they are his servants in nature to do his will”.

The third and final interpretation is that David has in mind both Angels and celestial bodies in mind which we see combined in Psalm 148: 2 – 6,

Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for at his command they were created, and he established them for ever and ever— he issued a decree that will never pass away”.

Even if David is calling only on Angels again in verse 21 he certainly widens his call for praise of the God who gives us so much benefits in the first part of verse 22,

“Praise the Lord all his works everywhere in his dominion”.

All his works is everything he has created, earth, stars, angels and of course man. All of us are designed and made as instruments of praise and worship as the first question of the famous Westminster shorter catechism asks and answers,

  1. What is the chief end of man?

 Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. One of the many scriptures this catechism offers to support this is Pauls declaration in 1 Corinthians 10: 31,

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”.

All of God’s creation, rightly in tune with his good will and purpose should and does praise the Lord and this is the idea behind David’s call for a universal praise of God in verse 22 of this Psalm.

David then finishes as he started with the last words of his Psalm 103 the same as the first words of this Psalm,

“Praise the Lord, O my soul”.

David wants to praise God so he makes sure we get his great desire to do so. David had so many benefits from knowing his Lord and even though he called on the Angels and everyone and everything in this world and the next to praise his God he wants us to know that he wants above all to praise the Lord who he owed so much to.

May we all join David in praising the Lord knowing that this is our calling in Christ as Paul states in Ephesians 1: 11 – 12,

“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory”.

I close as usual with an original poem and prayer:

PRAISE THE LORD O MY SOUL

(Based on Psalm 103)

 

Praise the Lord all my soul

May all that’s within me praise the Lord

Praise the Lord all my soul

And forget not the benefits of knowing the Lord.

He for gives my sins and heals my soul

He redeems my life and makes us whole

He crowns my life with love so true

He satisfies my desires and makes me new.

He helps me rise like an eagle in the sky

In God I’m renewed and in him I’ll fly.

 

Praise the Lord all my soul

May all that’s within me praise the Lord

Praise the Lord all my soul

God makes things right for those who obey his word.

The Lord makes his word known to us

He shows his way to those who trust.

The Lord has compassion and grace to all

Who revere his name and answer his call

His wonderful love is so high and wide

He cares like a father who helps and guides.

 

Praise the Lord all my soul

May all that’s within me praise the Lord

Praise the Lord all my soul

For God knows we’re weak and our lives are flawed.

He remembers that we are made of dust

One day we’re here and the next we’re lost.

But the Lord is eternal and is always near

To those who he loves who have healthy fear.

And he will always bless us with love

For his son came to die from heaven above.

 

Praise the Lord all my soul

May all that’s within me praise the Lord

Praise the Lord all my soul

May God’s Angels praise him in one accord.

For God sits in heaven and there he reigns

Surrounded by angels who praise his name.

So may all the heavens the stars and the earth

Give praise to the God who gave them birth.

For the Lord is in charge of every thing

May my soul rejoice as may my lips now sing.

 

Praise the Lord all my soul

May all that’s within me praise the Lord

Praise the Lord all my soul

And forget not the benefits of knowing the Lord.

 

By: Jim Wenman

PRAYER:

 Dear father in heaven I praise your great and glorious name for you have given me so much. You made me and the world I live in, you saved me from my sins through your sons death on the cross and you continue to renew and guide me in this life. I thank you that you have called me to be part of your great family and I join with your Angels in heaven giving praise to your wonderful love and justice. In Jesus name I pray Amen.

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