Psalm 103 is well-loved for its opening words “bless the Lord, O my soul,” and is a great Psalm of praise to God for His blessings towards us. Among the emphases of the Psalm is the blessing of God’s UNDERSTANDING towards the weaknesses of our humanity. We see this particularly in three verses in the middle of the Psalm:
— :9 “He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever.”
This reminds us that God is being patient with us (as :8 had just said, He is “slow to anger”) but that it also won’t last forever. Don’t take His patience for granted, or talk yourself into thinking He will NEVER act. But the point is, God doesn’t just “jump” at the first opportunity to “get” us, the way some imagine.
— :10 “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.”
Here, the emphasis is on God’s grace towards us. If you are being disciplined or punished, know this: IT SHOULD BE WORSE! He hasn’t given you what you really deserve. As we saw above, He hasn’t acted as soon as He should; neither has He acted as harshly as He should, or as irreparably as He should. No one can ever say, “God didn’t treat me fairly.” Whatever He does in judgment towards us, it is gracious; it should have been more.
— :14 “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”
And the REASON why God is so patient and gracious as we saw above, is that He knows how weak we are in our human flesh. He takes that into account. In the New Testament we see that He has especially done so in Christ: He Himself became like us; He can empathize with us. He was in our position, and can thus judge us perfectly. (Hebrews 4:15)
All three of these verses, taken together, form a picture for us of God’s UNDERSTANDING attitude towards us: He is patient; He is gracious; and He is sympathetic. So we can sing joyfully with Psalm 103, “Bless the Lord, O my soul!,” for we have such a kind and understanding God!