I’ll confess that I’m often at a loss when it comes to the psalms. I love the poetry of the psalms but struggle with their meaning. So for me, the ESV Study Bible serves as a trusted tour guide, particularly through the psalms. As we approach Psalm 103 this week, I’ll share with you a portion of how the Study Bible frames this psalm: “This is a hymn of praise, celebrating the abundant goodness and love of the Lord for his people…It begins with each individual singer exhorting his or her own soul to bless the Lord, and then goes on to list the benefits that the soul should be careful not to forget. The crowning benefit is God’s enduring love to the descendants of the faithful, which leads the worshipers to exhort all the angelic hosts and all the material creation to join in blessing the Lord. These benefits come to the individual but are not individualistic: he or she is a member of the community (vv. 6-14) and he or she contributes to the progress of that community (vv. 17-18).”
Wednesday, September 9th
Larger Portion of Scripture - Psalm 103
Particular emphasis - Psalm 103:17-18
Reflecting on the Text:
This week, Michael and I took our regular early morning prayer walk through the neighborhood. It has been an encouraging time for us to walk and pray for the movement of the Holy Spirit in our community, and our own hearts. We’d love to have you join us, but that is not specifically why I bring it up here.
This week I found myself walking and praying...and looking down at the pavement. Then at one point, I glanced up to see the sun just starting to peek over the horizon. It was a little glimpse of beauty that startled me. Then I began to wonder why I hadn’t noticed it all along. Why had I been walking with my head down, focusing on a simple stretch of pavement? As that thought crossed my mind I suddenly realized I was doing it again! I had to force myself to look up at the beauty of God’s creation. How about you? Have you ever had such an experience? Maybe that is why the psalmist seems to be exhorting us to bless the Lord. Far too often we simply walk along, looking at the pavement.
Maybe some version of that experience prompted the psalmist. Or more likely, the Holy Spirit, who knows the hearts of men and women, prompted the psalmist. That prompt was and is a call to worship. It is a reminder. Don’t forget to look up. Praise the Lord. Bless the Lord. And in the blessing, don’t forget why you are blessing the Lord.
As individuals, and as a community bound together in the covenant of God’s grace, we have much to praise Him for. Psalm 103 details much, but vv. 17-18 draw our attention to His faithfulness to future generations. We can praise the Lord because He promises to perpetuate His righteousness to children’s children! “He will be their God and they will be His people.”
These verses serve as an occasion for praise and as a foundation for our ministry. In them, we find (and sing of) the promise of blessing, while also being reminded of the blessing of impact. This promise to our offspring’s offspring is made to those who fear the Lord. So in addition to blessing the Lord, they call us to serve Him by serving the children. Fueled by our love for the Lord, this psalm reminds us as a covenant community to pour into our covenant children and to pray for the generations.
Questions for personal reflection:
Do you have times in your life when you find yourself simply looking down at the pavement, missing out on the beauty of God? In the moments where you realize this tendency, do you respond with guilt? If so, do you see the grace of God in that His Word intentionally reminds us to bless Him, and to know the blessing He gives us?
How are you intentionally pouring into the covenant children? Are you embracing your role of assisting the parents in the Christian nurture of their children?
Are you, or will you pray for the souls of the generations to come?