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Psalms 103

103
Our Father’s Love
King David’s song of praise
1With my whole heart, with my whole life,
and with my innermost being,
I bow in wonder and love before you, the holy God!
2Yahweh, you are my soul’s celebration.
How could I ever forget the miracles of kindness
you’ve done for me?
3You kissed my heart with forgiveness, in spite of all I’ve done. # 103:3 From this verse through the rest of the psalm, the writer used the second person (you). This translation has left the psalm in the first person to enhance the poetic nuance for the English reader.
You’ve healed me inside and out from every disease.
4You’ve rescued me from hell # 103:4 Or “redeemed me from the pit,” a term often used for Sheol or hell. and saved my life.
You’ve crowned me with love and mercy.
5You satisfy my every desire with good things. # 103:5 The Hebrew text is somewhat difficult to understand. It is literally “who satisfies with good ornaments.”
You’ve supercharged my life so that I soar again # 103:5 Or “your youth [implying both strength and beauty] he restores.”
like a flying eagle in the sky!
6You’re a God who makes things right,
giving justice to the defenseless.
7You unveiled to Moses your plans
and showed Israel’s sons what you could do.
8Lord, you’re so kind and tenderhearted # 103:8 Or “Lord, you’re so compassionate and merciful.” The Hebrew word for “compassion” has a homonym that means “womb.” The Lord carries his people like a mother carries a child in her womb.
and so patient with people who fail you!
Your love is like a flooding river
overflowing its banks with kindness. # 103:8 See Ex. 34:6.
9You don’t look at us only to find our faults, # 103:9 Or “You [he] will not always fight with us [like fighting with enemies].”
just so that you can hold a grudge against us.
10You may discipline us for our many sins,
but never as much as we really deserve.
Nor do you get even with us for what we’ve done.
11Higher than the highest heavens—
that’s how high your tender mercy extends!
Greater than the grandeur of heaven above
is the greatness of your loyal love, towering over all
who fear you and bow down before you!
12Farther than from a sunrise to a sunset—
that’s how far you’ve removed our guilt from us.
13The same way a loving father feels toward his children—
that’s but a sample of your tender feelings toward us, # 103:13 Or “like a father has deep compassion for his children.” The Hebrew word for “tender feelings” is racham, which has a homonym that can be translated “womb.” Our Father carries you in his womb. What a beautiful word play that our Father has a mother’s nurturing love for his children.
your beloved children, who live in awe of you.
14You know all about us, inside and out. # 103:14 The Hebrew word yatsar can be translated “form” or “frame.” God knows our frame. But yatsar also has a homonym that means “to be in distress” or “to be frustrated.” So this sentence could be translated “You know all about our frustrations and distress.” These thoughts combined would mean that God hasn’t forgotten that he formed us from dust and we’ll experience frustrations as human beings. God is sympathetic to our difficulties.
You are mindful that we’re made from dust.
15Our days are so few, and our momentary beauty # 103:15 The Hebrew word translated “beauty” actually means “shining.”
so swiftly fades away!
16Then all of a sudden we’re gone,
like grass clippings blown away in a gust of wind,
taken away to our appointment with death,
leaving nothing to show that we were here.
17But Lord, your endless love stretches
from one eternity to the other,
unbroken and unrelenting toward those who fear you
and those who bow facedown in awe before you.
Your faithfulness to keep every gracious promise you’ve made
passes from parents, to children, to grandchildren, and beyond.
18You are faithful to all those who follow your ways
and keep your word.
19Yahweh has established his throne in heaven;
his kingdom rules the entire universe.
20So bless the Lord, all his messengers of power,
for you are his mighty heroes who listen intently
to the voice of his word to do it.
21Bless and praise the Lord, you mighty warriors,
ministers who serve him well and fulfill his desires.
22I will bless and praise the Lord with my whole heart!
Let all his works throughout the earth,
wherever his dominion stretches—
let everything bless the Lord!
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