Summary: The: 1) Personal (Psalm. 103:1-5), 2) National (Psalm. 103:6-18) and 3) Universal (Psalm. 103:19-22) praise for the compassion of God the Father.
Of all the qualities that fathers are generally known for, love and compassion is often not high on the list. There are social norms, popular depictions and personal history on how we have been fathered that makes those qualities rare. As much as we might strive to achieve them, we can find it difficult, for we often don’t know where to begin. What if we begin in the character of God the Father? Many might find that odd, for these may not be qualities that we readily associate with God. But looking a bit closer at His person we see His love and compassion, and this can give us not only an understanding, but a perfect model for emulation. When you see a good father, you are seeing a picture of God. Or to put it another way, God designed human fatherhood to be a portrait of himself. God had a Son before he created Adam. He was God the Father before he was God the Creator. He knew what he wanted to portray before he created the portrayal. Which means that on this Father’s Day, the clear implication for all of us fathers is that we were designed to display the fatherhood of God—especially (but not only) to our children. And that implies that we today learn to be fathers by watching God father his children. And it implies that children today learn what God’s fatherhood is like largely by watching us. (Piper, J. (2014). Sermons from John Piper (2000–2014). Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God.)
Psalm 103 emphasizes the love and compassion of Israel’s covenant-keeping God. It begins and ends on the note of praise, with a double call in verses 1–2, and a fourfold call in verses 20–22. The core of the psalm is a recital of personal benefits received (vv. 3–5) and of the LORD’S compassion to his people Israel (vv. 6–19). With clarity almost comparable to the New Testament, this psalm proclaims the greatness of God’s love for his people and his gracious removal of their sins—though the method of such removal remains unrevealed.
Think of what difference it could make if the qualities of love and compassion could be incorporated in our notions of fatherhood? How might people approach God in their requests? How might they continue to trust Him in the midst of difficulties? How might our family’s come to the father of the house for understanding and support? Understanding and embodying love and compassion as fathers can not only transform our families but transform people’s relationship with God Himself.
Psalm 103 shows the compassion of God the Father calling forth the emulation of earthly father’s everywhere. We see this in the: 1) Personal (Psalm. 103:1-5), 2) National (Psalm. 103:6-18) and 3) Universal (Psalm. 103:19-22) praise for the compassion of God the Father.
God the Father should be praised for His:
1) Personal Compassion (Psalm 103:1-5)
Psalm 103:1-5 1 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. (ESV)
The psalmist puts his whole being into a powerful chorus of praise to his God. The word ‘bless/praise’ (Barak, Pi.), is a word used in the Old Testament to express thanks and gratitude. The “name” of the Lord calls to remembrance all his perfections and acts of deliverance (“all his benefits,” v. 2; …. The Lord had revealed his name Yahweh to Israel (Exod 6:6–8; cf. 3:18) so that they might witness his benefits in the redemption from Egypt, in the giving of the land, and in the fulfillment of his promises. The psalmist recites many of the Lord’s blessings to the covenant community (vv. 3–22). To bless/ Praise is the response of awe for God, while reflecting on what the Lord has done for the people of God throughout the history of redemption, for creation at large, for the community, and for oneself. (VanGemeren, W. A. (1991). Psalms. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Vol. 5, p. 651). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.)
• How can we as father’s have a short hand assessment if he is achieving godly objectives in his children? Ask the question if they are ashamed or pleased to bear the family name. If we have stood for honor, duty, service with both love and compassion then our reputation will me more than just business, money or fun. The former endures while the later is often lost.
In verse 3, the psalmist recites first the various blessings he personally has received from the LORD. He does so using five participles (‘forgives’, ‘heals’, ‘redeems’, ‘crowns’, ‘satisfies’) that point to the ongoing nature of God’s actions. These graces flow out of the covenant promises (Exod 34:6–7), according to which the Lord sustains the relationship by being forgiving, loving, and full of compassion but also just. (VanGemeren, W. A. (1991). Psalms. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Vol. 5, p. 652). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.)