Songs and Praise



Psalm 103:1-22;

Lesson 227 Senior Lessons

MEMORY VERSE:  "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him" (Psalm 103:13).


I Introductory Command to Bless God

1 The Psalmist spoke of the duty of giving glory to the Lord, Psalm 103:1, 2; Deuteronomy 8:10, 18; Luke 19:40

  2 Reasons are set forth stating why God is worthy of the praise of men, Psalm 103:3-6; 130:4; Matthew 1:21; Luke 9:56; I Peter 2:9

II Unmerited Favors

1 God revealed Himself to Moses at Mount Sinai, and to all the Chil­dren of Israel, through the Law, Psalm 103:7; Deuteronomy 4:8-14; Daniel 2:22; John 1:17; Hebrews 1:1-3

2 Mercy is a foremost attribute of God, as all have found who have come to Him in penitence, Psalm 103:8-12; 108:4; Lamentations 3:22, 23; Joel 2:12-14; Titus 3:5

 3 The life of man is very brief, but God knoweth our frame, Psalm 103:13-16; 89:48; Isaiah 40:6, 7; Hebrews 9:27; James 4:14

4 The secret of eternal life lies in the keeping of God's Word, Psalm 103:17, 18; Isaiah 1:19; John 8:31, 32; 14:23

III The Universal King

1 David invited even the angels to join in this blessing to God whose kingdom ruleth over all, Psalm 103:19, 20; I Chronicles 29:11; Isaiah 6:2. 3

2 The heavenly host was called upon, and lastly the Psalmist exhorts himself again, to bless the Lord, Psalm 103:21, 22


There are times in the life of every man who serves the true and the living God, when the magnitude, majesty, and wondrous beauty of God seems to be suddenly presented anew to his soul in its overwhelming grandeur. The Psalmist seemed to be in such a state of inspiration when he penned the words of Psalm 103. The theme of the message is that the Lord God is high and eternal and the life of man is low and fleeting, yet God above takes knowledge of man and his ways. This thought caused the inspired writer to call upon every faculty at his command, as well as call upon the angels and the hosts of Heaven, to bring forth praise and blessing to God that was worthy of the incomparable Creator and King that He is.

Acceptable Praise

An evil man cannot render to God worthy praise out of an evil heart, for 'of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh' (Luke 6:45); but God's grace can change the wicked heart. The Psalmist once had an evil heart, but he prayed until he experienced the forgiveness for sins (Psalm 32:5); therefore he could, out of the abundance of his new heart, bring forth a praise that the Lord would welcome. How often this mighty king of Israel would stop in the press of business and give praise to his God! The act of praise from man to his Creator brings about a bond between the two that immeasurably strengthens the position of man. The secret of Christian strength today lies in the act of presenting heartfelt praise and blessings to the living God for His mercy and loving-kindness to the chil­dren of men. If men are not careful to give God praise, all His benefits are likely to be soon forgotten. The beautiful song admonishes the Christian to 'count your blessings, name them one by one.'

Forgiveness for Iniquities

The Psalmist brought forth his reasons, one by one, why men should give praise to God and worship Him. The forgiveness for iniquities is mentioned first because it is sin that keeps God's blessings from the life of man. Sin brings the penalty of death to the guilty, but God pardons the iniquities of all who will come to Him.

Divine Healing

The second reason for praising God is that He heals all manner of diseases. If a physician of this world had this power, would not his name be heralded forth? and would not all who possibly could, have his skill demonstrated upon themselves? Yet the Lord is always the same, and has the same miraculous power today to heal all manner of diseases. The Son of God healed all who came to Him, and we read, 'Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever' (Hebrews 13:8). Why are not all the sick people of the world flocking to Him? Their iniquities stand between them and God. When men are willing to repent of their sins, many times they find- the power of God present to heal their diseases also. God's promise to the Children of Israel was: 'If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyp­tians: for ,I am the LORD that healeth thee' (Exodus 15:26).

Some men will try to say that the Psalmist, in Psalm 103, refers to the spiritual healing of the people, but Isaiah takes the same theme in his writings of the Messiah: 'But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed' (Isaiah 53:5). The Spirit of God, through Matthew, states the fact that Jesus healed all who were physical­ly sick, in direct fulfillment of the, prophecies (Matthew 8:16, 17). Herein can be seen that Jesus furnished an atonement not for sin only but for the healing of the body as well.

Disease originated with sin, and the same Blood that was shed for the remission of sin has power to eradicate disease. Why should men not trust God for their healing, and give Him praise when He does the work?

'Good Things'

'Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things.' This phrase included much more than the daily food with which the children of men nourish themselves. The keynote of this passage was struck by Job, 'I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food' (Job 23: 12). Natural food is necessary, and God has promised that His children should never lack the necessities of life. 'He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure' (Isaiah 33:16). But there is a Heavenly Food that is more important to the soul. Natural bread sustains life, but the soul must secure its food from God. The Word of God is for that express purpose: it is food for the soul. Those who sit at Jesus' table will find bread enough and to spare: 'I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hun­ger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst' (John 6:35).

The Psalmist stated that the result of eating God's good things would be renewed youth. He chose the eagle for his comparison, possibly because he is such a long-lived bird. Eagles have been known to live to be 100 years old; and even at this age, it is said, the old feathers of the eagle will fall out and an almost entire new plumage will appear, thus making him appear young again. The soul of the man who puts his trust in God never becomes old. The body may fail and pass away, but the soul returns to God who gave it. On the resurrection morning the soul will be reunited with the resurrected, glorified body, to be ever with the Lord (I Thessa­lonians 4:16, 17). The Christian's hope is an unfailing hope.

Merciful Acts

After David had enumerated a few of the personal blessings that he had received from God, he took note of the blessings that other people had received. It seemed marvelous to him that God executed righteousness and judgment for all who are oppressed. This is very different from the children of men, for the strong seem to glory in suppressing the weak. This was true in David's day, and many times he championed the cause of the oppressed against the oppressor. The thought that God was allied with the oppressed brought great rejoicing to David's heart. The Christians of all ages have had similar reason to bless God. 'God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty' (I Corin­thians 1:27). The mighty men of earthly standard are often too proud to listen to the call of the Gospel, and in their independence they feel no need of help from God. The oppressed realize they need a defender, and find one in the God of Heaven. Is not that a compelling reason why men should worship and praise God?

The Love of God

The Psalmist went on to explain that God's righteousness, judgment, and revelation spring from four other attributes: 'The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.' Men often find it hard to understand, these attributes of God. Some will say, 'If the Lord rules the universe and has the power that He is represented as having, why is all this sin and wickedness in the world?' God has always done some­thing about sin, and He will do more. God tolerates sin in the world only that the sinner might have time to repent. Could any man survive if God brought immediate judgment upon every sin and disobedience? All people are born in sin and must have a change of heart to live above sin. God's grace, long-suffering, and mercy bridge the gap between the time of man's accountability and his repentance.

It is with tenderest love that God looks down upon the souls of men. The nearest comparison that we have is the love of a father for his chil­dren. Just as the father teaches wisdom to his son, just as the father bears with the son who has transgressed his command and forgives gladly when the son repents, just as the father ministers to his son in sickness, so the Heavenly Father administers to all the needs of those who fear Him. God knows the frame of men and remembers that they are dust. He remembers that mortal life is of a very transitory nature. The Psalmist likens our life in God's sight to the flowers of the field. One day the flower is in full bloom, the next day it may be withered and gone; so is the life of man in the sight of God, but the soul lives throughout eternity.

What hope would men have if it were not for the love of God, whose mercies are from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him? There is nothing about man that merits God's love; yet to those who will turn to Him He does not deal the punishment that is justly due for their sins. Mercy rejoices against judgment in the same measure that Heaven is above the earth. When God removes the transgressions of a man they are gone forever — 'as far as the east is from the west.' God's mercy Is better than life; because, life passes away, but God's mercy endures forever. With these highest thoughts burning in his heart, is it any wonder that David called upon men to worship his God? All men would surely take up the same refrain of praise and blessing to God if they would let these words enter into their hearts.

Labor of Love

Probably the joy of David's heart knew no bounds as he included the messengers of God in his admonition to praise God; not because they needed any encouragement in their labor of love, but that they might show the world that God is worthy of such praise. The praise of all the men of the world, and the praise of all the inhabitants of Heaven would not excuse David from his duty of praise. He closed the Psalm as he opened it, 'Bless the LORD, 0 my soul'; aid his praise to God rang out to the end of his life. It is a marvelous thing to have a heart that can render acceptable praise to God; and there is nothing that will bring a blessing upon the life of a man as quickly as heartfelt praise and gratitude to God for His in­finite goodness and mercy.


      1 What are the foremost reasons the Psalmist gives for blessing the Lord?

2 What is meant by the phrase, 'Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things'?

3 What is the result of feasting on God's 'good things'?

4 How does the Lord reward the oppressed if they put their trust in Him'

5 In what way did the Lord make Himself known to Moses and the Children of Israel?

6 Describe one of the ways in which the Lord shows mercy to the Children of men.

7 What becomes of a man's sins when he repents of them?

8 How does the Psalmist describe the shortness of man's life upon earth?

9 Who receives the mercy of God?


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