Oh My Soul! Selections from Psalm 103 for Lent
February 22, 2023
We Are Dust.
Photo by Ahna Ziegler on Unsplash
“Bless the Lord, O my soul … and all that is within me …” Psalms 103:1
Audacity and capacity are issues that are triggered by this prayer as it is suggested to us. It is audacious to think that we could somehow bless God. Yet, He has given us the capacity to be a blessing to His heart.
We bless God when we worship Him. He delights in our praises. He enjoys our singing and our words of adoration. He looks beyond the superficial and relishes our heart devotion as we come to Him.
He is blessed by our love response as we receive His love and return it to Him in obedience, faith, and love for our fellow human beings.
We can bless God with our words, deeds, and emotions, but God is most blessed when our lives are completely engaged in love for Him – loving Him with heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. He is blessed when we remind ourselves to bless Him and when we follow through with everything that is within us.
What is within you today? Not all of it is positive, but when you offer it to God, He is blessed because He can take it and transform it for His own purposes. Nor is everything within you negative. You cannot be the judge of that. All you can do is commit everything within you to His glory and allow Him to sort I out. It is His holy Name that must be honored, and His holiness is all that can make our lives holy and acceptable as offerings of worship.
In the process, He is blessed. And that is what counts.
Days as Grass
“As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.” – Psalm 103:15
For our season, whatever it may be, we flourish. Then comes the wind and we are gone. Soon, the very memory of our lives fades from the consciousness of our successors and we are thought of no more.
Such a thought might be deemed depressing were it the whole story.
The rest of the story teaches us that from everlasting to everlasting, God’s love is a constant toward us. His covenant people are never forgotten.
It goes on to tell us that God’s throne is never abandoned and that He rules over all.
He it is, according to Psalm 103, who forgives all our sin.
It is He who heals our diseases. Not one of them disappears apart from His wise intervention or creative genius.
He redeems our lives, crowns us love and compassion, satisfies, renews, and administers justice.
How comfortable it would be for us to remain as a grassy flowering meadow, but that is not the way of life. We come and go. Soon we will fade.
Our privilege and responsibility is to bloom in every place we are planted for as long as it is springtime in our lives. It is to be as inwardly beautiful for God as we can be for as many days as we can and to move through the seasons of life with grace and trust.
We may not always be green, but we shall always be loved.
From Psalm 103 NRSV
As a father cares for his children, *
so does the Lord care for those who fear him.
For he himself knows whereof we are made; *
he remembers that we are but dust.
Our days are like the grass; *
we flourish like a flower of the field.
Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. - Psalm 103:13
The love of God is a tender love.
It is a father’s love.
It is a patient love, understanding, compassionate, forgiving, and gracious.
The love of God for His children moves Him to desire what is best for us, what brings us closer to Him, and what develops in us the character that is in Him.
God’s love for us as His children is consistent, persistent, and generous.
He never fails us. He is always present and always true.
Like any father, He wants His children to grow and mature. He wants us to make good and wise choices and honor our family name. He offers us His support, guidance, and correction to that end.
God’s love is real. For that reason, it is sometimes a tough love, a love that can say “no” and mean it, but a love that delights in every opportunity to say, “YES!”
God, our Father, rejoices with us, weeps with us, and loves us even when we are unlovable.
That is because we are never unlovable to Him.
Mostly, God, our tender, loving Father carries us on His shoulders and lifts us so that we might become more, through Him, than we could ever imagine on our own.