Ps 103:1-5 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
David here exhorts himself to "bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!" When we are down, it's good to speak to ourselves and say, "Let's just bless the Lord. Let's recall all His benefits." As the old hymn says, "Count Your Blessings One by One." We need to count our blessings and the benefits we have received from the Lord from first day we have come to know Him. David gives us a list of benefits we are to keep before us so we can always bless His name:
(1) "Who forgives all your iniquity": For all Christians, we can never thank God enough for the Cross because it is through Jesus' self-sacrifice at the Cross that "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins" (Ephesians 1:7). For this great act of sacrificial love, we can bless the Lord.
(2) "Who heals all your diseases": God's benefits are not restricted to the "spiritual" life but also the physical life. It's His will that we are kept blameless in spirit, soul and body (1 Thess 5:23). So, for all who have experienced God's healing grace, we can give thanks. He sustains our spiritual, mental/emotional and physical health.
(3) "Who redeems your life from the pit": The "pit" is a symbol of Sheol, the place of the dead. That God saves us from the pit means that He delivers us from death. So, not only does God forgive our sins and heal our sicknesses, He also delivers us from Sheol (the place of the dead) and transfers us to Paradise (the place of the living). Thank God for deliverance from physical death and also from spiritual death in Hades.
(4) "Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy": Here, the "crown" suggests success in this life because of God's steadfast love and mercy towards those who "fear Him". God not only redeems us, He also crowns our earthly life with success because like all fathers, He wants the best for His children. Let's give thanks to God for success in our every endeavour. Oral Roberts once said that "God does not sponsor a flop."
(5) "Who satisfies you with good": At the end of the day, God is the only true Satisfaction because from His hands we receive everything good and nothing evil. Knowing that every blessing of God is good, we can feel satisfied and contented. We don't need what the world and what the devil offer; we have God who is the giver of all good things.
As we experience God's goodness towards us, our youth will be renewed like the eagles. This expression is interesting because when an eagle reaches middle aged (40 years old), we are told that it will retire to some remote cliff high above the earth. There the eagle will pluck out his old feathers and break his old beak. Then he waits upon the Lord and soon he is renewed with new feathers and a new beak grows into place. He takes off and launches his new "youth wing." Eagles do not retire - they only re-tyre! Praise the Lord! So Christians who are reaching middle-aged should not think about retiring but only about re-tyring--get a new set of tyres and continues the next F1 lap! The race is not over until it's over.
Thank You Father that You can renew even our youth like the eagles as we wait upon You. Amen.