Don't Forget, Tell Others
Let me always praise You, my Lord. As long as I have breath, I will praise Your name.
Read Psalm 103:1-22
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Praise is not self-generating; it does not spring as a root out of dry ground. God does for us far more than we deserve, and that gives a reason to praise him” (A. Leonard Griffith).
Today we turn to the first of Psalms 103-106, which come at the end of Book IV, a collection responding to the crisis of exile (Psa. 89), with the loss of Zion recalled in Psalm 102. The first corollary of “praise” has poignancy: “forget not all his benefits.” What did it mean to sing this psalm after exile? Forgetting had brought disaster. The call to “remember,” with correlative dangers of “forgetting,” is frequent in Scripture (do a search). While some “remembering” may be a nostalgic going back to the past, biblical remembering brings the past into the present, so that it may affect life now.
The psalm is powerfully comprehensive. The opening (1-5) is addressed to “my soul,” with fourfold “all.” I cannot avoid personal responsibility. God continues to bestow benefits, detailed with hymnic participles (the English verbs end in “s”). The center (6-18) embraces the community (“our”), detailing God’s “righteousness,” or better “righteous acts,” in history, and although mortal life seems insignificant God has made a covenant. I am part of God’s people throughout history, remembered in the covenantal Lord’s Supper. But “praise” does not stop with “those who keep his covenant” (18). As we sing we call (19-22) to all beings and all God’s works (again a fourfold “all,” including “all places”), but ending with “my soul.”
“Nothing less than the praises of angelic forces and of all the creatures of his vast realm can adequately reflect Yahweh’s greatness. But will not the little voice of the individual bringer of thanks be lost in the universal chorale? By no means. ‘Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, who like thee his praise should sing?'” (Henry Lyte, 1793-1847).
Praise is to be shared. What are some of God’s blessings to you, personally and as part of God’s people, that you can make known to others?
Loving Father, I praise You for the things You have done for me. You did them, not because You had to but because You wanted to. What amazing grace.
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