All That Is Within Me
Father, Your clock keeps perfect time. Help me not to run ahead or lag behind You, but to walk with You.
Read Psalm 103:1-22
 Of David.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Praise, my soul, the King of heaven / To his feet they tribute bring. / Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven / Evermore his praises singﾅ” (Henry Lyte 1793-1847).
This extraordinary psalm, so familiar to many of us, is not so much for analyzing as it is for meditating on, reflecting on and inhabiting. It’s a psalm worth learning!
Written by David, or possibly for or in the style of David, it reflects in three directions. First, the psalmist remembers the good things God has done for him and celebrates them (1-5). This is not self-indulgence; it leads into considering the amazing qualities of God made known to his people (6-19). At the heart of this is a refrain from the story of the Exodus: the Lord, the God of Israel, is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in loving faithfulness. This is the central truth through which we need to understand all God’s great acts. This leads into a final invitation to the whole of creation to join in the praise of this gracious God (20-22).
Throughout the psalm there is a strong sense of contrast. Over against our own weakness and frailty comes God’s compassion and healing. Over against the waywardness of his people comes God’s constancy and forgiveness. Over against our transience comes God’s established and enduring kingdom. Over against all the strength and power of the world comes the far greater reality of God’s majesty. And yet, alongside this, there is an unmistakable sense of an invitation to be caught up in the greatness of God. In the very comparison of God as a compassionate father (13), I find myself challenged to be compassionate, God-like, in my dealings with my own children. As we allow our weakness to be caught up in God’s strength, we find ourselves longing to make these qualities known to others through the way we live.
How can you build into your life the habit of reflecting on these qualities of God, so that your life might be shaped by them? Which ones might you need most?
Lord, as I reflect on who You are and what You have done, I am, as the hymn says “ﾅ lost in wonder, love, and praise.”
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