Yahweh Our Father Psalm 103:1-18 December 9, 2012 First Baptist Church Jackson, Mississippi, USAThe most widely accepted pronunciation of Yahweh is: YOH vah = LORD ye HO vah (Jehovah). December 16 Yahweh Our Righteousness Jeremiah 23:5-6 Romans 3:1-26 Romans 10:1-13 December 23 Dr. Bill Ashford The Real Christmas December 30 No Sunday School One Worship Service at 10:30 am
Focal Passages Psalm 103: Yahweh Gives Undeserved Love vv. 1-6 Yahweh Displays Unequaled Love vv. 8-12 Yahweh Extends Unceasing Love vv. 13,17-18What This Lesson Is About: David praised God for the benefits we receive from Him as a result of His faithful love to His children. David compared God with a compassionate father, and we see God as the loving Father He is toward His children. This lesson can help us rejoice and rely on the Father’s love. How deep the Father’s love for us How vast beyond all measure That He should give His only Son To make a wretch His treasure!
We need to discover and experience the love of God our Father.Psalm 103:1-18 HCSB1 My soul, praise Yahweh, and all that is within me, praise His holy name.2 My soul, praise the Lord, and do not forget all His benefits.3 He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases.4 He redeems your life from the Pit; He crowns you with faithful love and compassion.5 He satisfies you with goodness; your youth is renewed like the eagle.6 The Lord executes acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.7 He revealed His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel.8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love.9 He will not always accuse us or be angry forever.10 He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses.11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him.12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.14 For He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust.15 As for man, his days are like grass— he blooms like a flower of the field;
16 when the wind passes over it, it vanishes, and its place is no longer known.17 But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren18 of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His precepts. Psalm 103:1-18 HCSB Psalms has been described has humanity’s hymnbook because the songs came out of the life experiences of people as human as we are. The beautiful poems of praise, thanksgiving, and petition echo our approaches to God and often serve as expressions of our worship. The psalmists faced many of the crises, problems, and doubts we face. They had many of the same fears we have, and they hurt as deeply as we sometimes do. They asked many of the questions we ask about life and God’s involvement in it. Through their varied experiences runs the strong, sustained note of faith in their covenant God. Their stubborn trust in Him offers inspiration and encouragement to us as we continue our pilgrimage of faith.
Focal Passages Psalm 103: Yahweh Gives Undeserved Love vv. 1-6 Yahweh Displays Unequaled Love vv. 8-12 Yahweh Extends Unceasing Love vv. 13,17-18Yahweh Gives Undeserved LovePsalm 103:1-6 HCSB1 My soul, praise Yahweh, and all that is within me, praise His holy name.2 My soul, praise the Lord, and do not forget all His benefits.3 He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases.4 He redeems your life from the Pit; He crowns you with faithful love and compassion.5 He satisfies you with goodness; your youth is renewed like the eagle.6 The Lord executes acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. Psalm 103:1-6 HCSB In verse 1, King David called on himself (his “soul”) to praise Yahweh:Psalm 103:1 KJV1“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” Psalm 103:1 KJV In poetic parallelism, he repeated the summons to himself in different words.
The phrase “all that is within me” referred to his total self, and the words “His holy name” referred to God in His separateness from humans, His exaltation. In verse 2, David continued to encourage himself to praise the Lord.Psalm 103:2 KJV2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. Psalm 103:2 KJV The repetition of the words my soul in verses 1 and 2 mark the psalm as deeply personal and has prompted the view that David designed it for people’s personal worship. The Hebrew term rendered benefits means “deeds” or “dealings” and refers to God’s gracious, merciful acts (deeds of undeserved love) on His people’s behalf. David knew the danger of taking God’s provisions for granted or of willfully disregarding them and wanted to retain a keen awareness of the undeserved blessings he and his people enjoyed. In verses 3-5, David recounted some of God’s gracious acts for him and his people.Psalm 103:3 KJV3“Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases;” Psalm 103:3 KJV David began listing God’s merciful acts with His forgiveness. With the statement, He forgives all your sin, David continued to address himself. Did he have in mind his committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband Uriah killed (see 2 Sam. 11:1-27)? Psalm 51 is his agonized prayer for forgiveness:
Psalm 32 is his joyous celebration of being forgiven:Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 7 & 11 HCSB1 “How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!2 How joyful is the man the Lord does not charge with sin and in whose spirit is no deceit!5 You took away the guilt of my sin.7 You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with joyful shouts of deliverance.11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; shout for joy, all you upright in heart.” Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 7 & 11 HCSB
David wrote from his experience of being forgiven for horrible things he did against God and he celebrated God’s incredible mercy. The Hebrew word translated forgives means: to let go, to pardon, to send away, (a continuous action). Leviticus 16:8 - *the escape goat* *“the sender away of sins”* William Tyndale dropped the “e” and translated it scapegoat in his 1530 Bible, which the KJV kept. Jesus Christ is seen to have fulfilled both of the Biblical "types" - the Lords goat that deals with the pollution of sin and the scapegoat that removes the "burden of sin". Christians believe that sinners who own their guilt and confess their sins, exercising faith and trust in the person and sacrifice of Jesus, are forgiven of their sins.
Psalm 103:33 “He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases.” Psalm 103:3 The term translated sin means “moral crookedness,” “going astray,” or “guilt.” David declared that God is ready to forgive people’s wrongdoing with the implication that they repent as a condition of pardon. Because of God’s love, you do not need to be afraid to approach Him in repentance. To the contrary, you need to embrace His forgiveness.Our Great High PriestHebrews 4:14-16 HCSB14 “Therefore, since we have a great high priest Who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. 15 For we do not have ahigh priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One Who has beentested in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us approach the throneof grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us atthe proper time.” Hebrews 4:14-16 HCSB You can experience God’s forgiveness because He loves you, not because you have made up for the wrong you have done. Next, David reminded himself that God healed all his diseases. Most likely David had physical, mental, and emotional healing in mind. Yet in a real sense, no matter the cause of physical, mental, or emotional difficulties, God is the Source of healing.
Researchers, physicians, medications, and treatments can assist the process, but ultimately God brings physical wholeness. He gives peace of mind and serene confidence in His loving care. The surgeon can cut but only the Lord can heal!Psalm 103:44 “He redeems your life from the Pit; He crowns you with faithful love andcompassion.” Psalm 103:4 God acted as David’s kinsman-redeemer, his Next-of-Kin Who rescued him from bondage. The term redeems could convey the senses of protection and restoration. Redemption has the idea of liberating someone through payment of a price. The Israelites were redeemed from slavery in Egypt through God’s mighty acts. To celebrate this truth, they redeemed their firstborn sons by offering sacrifices, reflecting their sons’ being spared during the tenth plague. God had delivered (rescued) David from the Pit in verse 4. The phrase the Pit was a designation for Sheol, the place of the departed dead.
The Hebrew term rendered Pit can also mean “destruction”—anything that could have taken David’s life. Either way, David stressed that God had pulled him back from the brink of death so that he continued to live. The emphasis is on God’s granting recovery. Not only had God pulled David from the clutches of death, but He also related to David with faithful love and compassion. (He crowns you with faithful love and compassion.) v4 The Hebrew verb translated crowns literally means “to surround,” “to compass.” The noun means “crown” or “wreath.” The verb has the sense of God’s freely giving His blessings. The Hebrew term rendered faithful love means “loving-kindness,” “mercy”.
(He crowns you with faithful love and compassion.) The term rendered compassion (literally, “compassions”) has the sense of attentive tenderness.Psalm 103:55 “He satisfies you with goodness; your youth is renewed like the eagle.” Psalm 103:5 The word satisfies has the sense of receiving more than enough, of being filled. (“He satisfies you…” v5) The Hebrew term rendered you has been taken as a reference to David’s soul (life). He satisfies your life with goodness.
Psalm 103:55 “He satisfies your life with goodness; your youth is renewed like the eagle.” Psalm 103:5 David’s emphasis was on the abundance God supplied, which renewed his youth like the eagle. Because of the eagle’s swift movements, it symbolized strength. Its size and comparatively long life added to the image. Because it renewed its plumage, it also may have symbolized youth. We view the eagle as a symbol of strength and authority, which is why our country embraced it as our national bird. Qualities of the eagle that captured the imagination of the writers of Scripture: ◦ Soaring – the ability to stay aloft (Isa. 40:31 and Psalm 103:5) was a mystery to the wise men (Proverbs 30:19) as well as a picture of divine protection (Exodus 19:4). ◦ Another major characteristic of the eagle is its ability to strike a killing blow (Deut 28:49). ◦ Coupled with its striking ability is the quality of speed. Our fountain of youth is not something we drink, nor is it the product of the newest cream we apply to our faces. What keeps us young and renews our strength – regardless of our biological age – is God’s commitment to us and our relationship with Him. Exodus 19:4 tells of Yahweh’s guidance of Israel through the wilderness as
accomplished “on eagles’ wings.” This symbol of deliverance and protection almost certainly relates to the eagle’s care for its young. The golden eagle teaches its young to fly by forcing them from the nest and then hovering over and under them. During this training the eagle appears to be carrying the eaglets. The eagle was a symbol to the Jews of God’s omnipotence and protection (Ex. 19:4 and Deut. 32:11). Psalm 103:6-7Psalm 103:6-76 “The Lord executes acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.7 He revealed His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel.” Psalm 103:6-7 David broadened reasons to praise God that included other Israelites as well as himself (vv. 6-8). The Lord (Yahweh, covenant God) executed acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
The phrase acts of righteousness referred to God’s fulfilling His covenant obligations (and perhaps to the benefits listed in vv. 3-5). Justice had the force of upholding the rights of people who were deprived of them. The oppressed were people who were wronged, who were victims of extortion. The Old Testament emphasizes that God is on the side of the oppressed. He champions their cause. Although the comparison of God with a father does not occur until verse 13, verses 2-6 support and define a compassionate father’s character. Be aware that as God’s child you enjoy the benefits David outlined. Offer the Lord praise and thanks for all His benefits! David stated that the Lord had “revealed His ways to Moses” (v. 7).Focal Passages Psalm 103: Yahweh Gives Undeserved Love vv. 1-6 Yahweh Displays Unequaled Love vv. 8-12 Yahweh Extends Unceasing Love vv. 13, 17-18Psalm 103:8-128 “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love.9 He will not always accuse us or be angry forever.10 He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses.11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him.12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:8-12 David continued to outline the benefits God gave His people. These benefits flowed from God’s character. David’s statement in verse 8 echoes Exodus 34:6b, where God partially
revealed His character to Moses. In Psalm 103:8, David listed four qualities of God’s character demonstrated in His dealings with His people. First, the Lord is compassionate. Yahweh, the faithful covenant God, is merciful. Second, God is gracious. The word gracious was used only of God in the Old Testament. The verb means “to show favor” with the implication that God’s favor is not based on people’s deserving it but is a facet of His character. The noun form means “grace.” Third, Yahweh is slow to anger. He is forbearing and suffers long with people’s sins. He does not nurture (“keep”) His anger. Fourth, God is rich in [abounding in] faithful love—covenant love; loving kindness; goodness. David used a courtroom term to stress that God did not carry His legitimate quarrel or contention with His people to the full extent. He would not always accuse them; He would not constantly find fault with them and berate them. Rather, He would deal with their sin and would not continue punishment beyond that point. Furthermore, God would not hold a grudge against His people. Unlike humans, He would not nurture (keep or guard) His anger with a view to unleashing it for personal satisfaction. David was acutely conscious of God’s great mercy. The Lord had not dealt with the Israelites as they had deserved. Their sins were many. The Hebrew term rendered sins comes from a word that means “to miss the mark,” “to not follow the right path.”
The Israelites often had failed to meet God’s standards, to perform their covenant duties. The term translated offenses comes from a word that means “to twist or bend” or from a term that means “to commit error, to go astray.” David had in mind deliberate acts of moral perversity, crookedness, or error. These wrongs against God called for severe consequences, yet He had not reacted vindictively. He did not deal out to them the devastating consequences for which their wrongs called. This truth stressed that God’s purpose is to return sinners to His “right paths” (Ps. 23:3) by exercising mercy. He delights in pardon, not punishment. The introductory word for in verse 11 connects what follows with verses 8-10, especially verse 8. 11 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth…” Because God is rich in faithful love, He did not mete out what the Israelites’ sins deserved. In verse 11, David returned to his emphasis on the scope and depth of God’s faithful love, which is unique and unequaled. Unlike many people’s expressions of love as an emotion, God’s love is unconditional and constant, never wavering in intensity.
David used the greatest expanse he knew to describe the vastness of God’s loyal, covenant love. To him, the distance between the heavens and the earth was beyond measuring.
Thus, God’s steadfast love was great (strong, powerful) beyond the mind’s ability to calculate. His unfailing love was directed toward people who feared Him.
The Hebrew term rendered fear has the ideas of awe, reverence, and honor (respect). People who followed God—who reverenced Him and sought to keep His covenant demands—experienced His constant kindness. They also experienced His forgiveness. Transgressions were acts of rebellion against God’s authority. The root Hebrew word has the force of willful revolt, of defiance. To David, the greatest lateral distance was east to west, sunrise to sunset. God’s removing His people’s willful disobedience that far pictured unmitigated forgiveness. Implied is that God’s forgiveness followed the people’s confession and repentance. David was not describing God’s easy tolerance of sin but His willingness to extend grace to repentant sinners. How can we demonstrate reverence for God? We can do so by keeping His commandments. We cannot presume on God’s love and adopt an “anything goes” attitude. His loving us does not mean we can sin without reaping the consequences. When we sin, we need to return to God quickly for forgiveness and grace. When we confess and repent, His forgiveness is complete. We should be grateful that God’s love is greater than our sins against Him.
These verses, particularly verse 12, are favorites among many Christians as demonstrations of God’s vast, unequaled love. Ponder the reality of having your sins removed “as far as the east is from the west.” Thank God for such love.
Focal Passages Psalm 103: Yahweh Gives Undeserved Love vv. 1-6 Yahweh Displays Unequaled Love vv. 8-12 Yahweh Extends Unceasing Love vv. 13,17-18Psalm 103:13, 17-1813 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.17 But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren18 of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His precepts. Psalm 103:13, 17-18 David compared an ideal father’s relationship with his children and God’s relationship with His people. Psalm 68:5 states God is “a father of the fatherless”; and in Psalm 89:26-27, God through the psalmist declared David would address Him as “my Father” and that God would make David His “firstborn.”
God through the prophet Hosea said: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son” (Hos. 11:1). In Psalm 103:13, however, the concept of God as Father is fleshed out and personalized. Keep in mind that David used the word father in the best possible sense. A model father has compassion on his children. He is affectionate, caring, and tender in his treatment of them. God has compassion on those who fear Him—people who reverence Him and faithfully discharge their covenant responsibilities.Word Study: compassion (v. 13; “pitieth,” KJV) In the Scriptures, the Hebrew word translated has compassion most often describes God as the One exercising compassion. The term means “to be soft,” “to be gentle,” “to love.” It can be translated “has mercy.” It conveys the sense of a mother’s tender care for her child.
David may have used the term to stress the intensity of God’s deepest feelings toward His people—His heartfelt concern for them. God expressed His deep emotion in protective care and acts of provision. He also expressed it in gracious forbearance and forgiveness (see v. 8). Jesus would fill out the concept of God as the compassionate Father in His parable in Luke 15:11-32. The story’s centerpiece is in verse 20: “His [the returning son’s] father … was filled with compassion.” Later, the father would show the same compassion for the sulking older brother. God is like that. His compassion merits our deepest gratitude and highest praise. ◦ 1. Fred M. Wood, Psalms: Songs From Life (Nashville: Convention Press, 1984), 3. The incredible truth is that God feels for us and with us and relates to us in love. He presents a superb example for human fathers to follow in relating to their children.
In verses 14-16, David stressed that God not only is compassionate but also is understanding. He keeps in mind that humans are frail and their lives are brief. They flourish for a short time and pass on, leaving no lasting sign behind. Yet in spite of their frailty and short lives, people who relate to God in reverent obedience are subjects of His attentive goodness. God’s faithful love (covenant love, loving kindness, mercy) for His people is everlasting—constant, unfailing. From eternity to eternity conveys the sense of God’s mercy constantly overarching or spanning above people faithful to Him. Stated another way, God’s faithful love for His faithful people is eternal. Note carefully David’s emphasis that people who strive to keep covenant with God receive His loving kindness. God loves all people and works to bring them into relationship with Him, but those who reject His love shut themselves off from His benefits. People who respond in faithful love to Him experience His righteousness—His graciousness that maintains the covenant ties. Included may be the idea that God rewards His people’s faithfulness. That He would act mercifully toward their grandchildren indicates faithful people’s influence on future generations so that God’s benefits would be extended to them. David defined what fearing God meant (see v. 17). To keep His covenant was to fulfill covenant obligations—to meet the agreed- on terms. In poetic parallelism, David stressed that God blessed people who observe His precepts—His charges to them or His appointed decrees. The Hebrew term has the sense of something committed to a person’s care. To remember God’s precepts meant much more than calling them to mind; it meant acting on them in obedience.
In verses 19-22, David called on everything in God’s kingdom to praise the sovereign Ruler. David exhorted the “angels of great strength,” who obeyed God’s commands, to praise Him.
In the same way, “His armies”—either heaven’s hosts or the heavenly bodies (stars and planets) were to praise God. Even “all His works” in the universe were to offer praise. David’s call to praise God peaked with his exhortation to himself to “praise Yahweh!” (v. 22). In the previous lesson’s focus on Yahweh, the great I AM, we saw a picture of God, Who stands above and apart from us. Psalm 103 emphasizes that, as almighty and other-than-us as God is, He also reaches out to us as a loving Father. This truth should not breed over-familiarity but reverent gratitude, utmost respect, and ready obedience.Biblical Truths God graciously provides marvelous benefits for His people, the chief of which is His undeserved love. God’s love is greater than our sins against Him; and when we repent, He grants complete forgiveness. God’s love and forgiveness call for our grateful obedience, not an “anything goes” attitude. People who reverence God and keep His covenant experience the full benefits of His fatherly love for eternity. Reflecting on God’s undeserved, unequaled, unceasing love should create great rejoicing in your heart. Ask Him to help you constantly remember and rely on His love.