The Love of God

Psalm 103

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 103

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Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

Words in brackets, ( ), are not in the Hebrew Bible.

The notes explain words with a *star by them.

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Jesus said, ‘Your Father in heaven knows everything that you need’ (Matthew 6:32).

(Heaven is the home of God.)

Psalm 103

  (This is a psalm) of David.

v1   I say to myself, ‘*Praise the *LORD!
  Everything that is in me, *praise his *holy name!’

v2   I say to myself, ‘*Praise the *LORD!
  And never forget any of the good things that he has given you!’

v3   (I say to myself) He *forgives all your *sins.
  He makes you well again when you are ill.

v4   He *redeems you from the *Pit.
  His kind love and *mercy are special things that he gives to you.

v5   He gives you the good things that you want.
  So, you become strong again as a young *eagle.

v6   The *LORD does *righteous and fair things
  for all *oppressed people.

v7   He showed Moses his plans
  and (he showed) the *Israelites what he was going to do.

v8   The *LORD likes (people) and is very kind.
  He is slow to get angry and has a lot of kind love.

v9   He will not always say that we are wrong.
  He will not always be angry.

v10   We do wrong things.
  He does not *punish us for them as much as he should.

v11   The sky is high above the earth.
  So his kind love is great to those people that love him.

v12   As far as the east is from the west,
  so far has he taken our *sins from us.

v13   As a father is kind to his children,
  so the *LORD is kind to people that are afraid of him.

v14   Because he knows (how he) made us,
  he remembers that we are only *dust.

v15   The life of a man is as short as (the life of) grass!
  He lives as short a time as the (wild) flowers in a field!

v16   The wind blows over it and it dies!
  Nothing remembers it any more.

v17   But the kind love of the *LORD will always be
  with those that are afraid of him.
  And his *righteousness will be with their children’s children.

v18   (They will be) with those (people) that do what they have agreed (to do).
  (They will be with those people) that remember to obey his rules.

v19   The *LORD has built his *throne in *heaven.
  He is king over everything.

v20   *Praise the *LORD, you (who are) his *angels.
  You are strong and powerful.
  You do what he tells you (to do) and you obey his word.

v21   *Praise the *LORD, all (you) his armies (in *heaven).
  (You are) his servants that do what he wants you (to do).

v22   Everything that he has made
  and (everything) that he rules over, *praise the *LORD!
  I say to myself, *praise the *LORD!

The Story of Psalm 103

Bible students believe that David wrote this psalm when he was an old man. It tells us 7 times to praise the *LORD, (tell him that he is very great). The *LORD is the *covenant name for God. A covenant is when two groups of people agree. Verses 17 and 18 of the psalm tell us about the covenant, or what God and his people have agreed to do.

What Psalm 103 means

Study the psalm in three parts:

·  Verses 1 - 5: David must *praise the *LORD.

·  Verses 6 - 18: the love of the *LORD to his *covenant people.

·  Verses 19 – 22: the *angels must *praise the *LORD.

In the first part, David tells himself to *praise the *LORD. The *Hebrew words mean ‘my *soul, *praise the *LORD’. (Hebrew is the language that David spoke.) Our soul is the part of us that lives after our bodies die. It is ‘everything that is in us’, (verse 1). We are to *praise the *LORD's holy name. The *LORD's name means the *LORD himself. He is holy because he has never done anything that is wrong. Read the notes on ‘he is holy’ in Psalm 99 in this set of psalms.

In verse 3 David wrote ‘He (the *LORD) *forgives all your *sins’. As he is talking to himself, he means ‘the *LORD *forgives all my *sins’. Our sins are the wrong things that we do when we do not obey God’s rules. When we ask him, God will always forgive our *sins. That means he will not punish (hurt) us because we have broken his rules.

As verse 4 says, ‘He *redeems you from the Pit’. The Pit was a place in Sheol. Sheol was where the *Jews believed that dead people went. (Jews are people who were born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.) The Pit was the worst bit of Sheol. It was a very bad place. But David believed that when God *forgives us, ‘he redeems us from the Pit’. This means that he stops us going there! Instead of going to a bad place when we die, we go to where God is. That is a very good place. We call it *heaven. God does this because of his mercy. This means that he is kind to us when he should punish (hurt) us.

When David knew all this, he felt strong again. He felt as a young eagle feels. An eagle is a large bird. It flies high in the sky, and feels strong and free. When God *forgives us, we will feel as David felt!

In verses 6 - 18, David talks about the *covenant people. These people have agreed to love and obey him because he has agreed to be their God. He is a righteous God, verse 6. This means that he always does what is right. He took his oppressed people from Egypt to the land of Israel. The Egyptians had oppressed the *Jews. This means they were cruel to them, they were not kind. They made them work very hard and gave them very little. But the *LORD told Moses his plan, (verse 7). He took the Israelites (the *Jews) away from Egypt.

The *LORD did this because:

·  he is kind, verses 8 - 12,

·  and he is as a father to his people, verses 13 - 16.

God made us, (verse 14), and he knows that he made us from dust. Dust is the small bits of the ground that we live on. To God, our lives are very short, just as the life of a flower seems short to us, (verse 15).

Verses 17 and 18 tell us about the *covenant. God’s righteousness (the good things that he does) will always be with his people. They will always obey him.

The psalm ends by telling the *angels to *praise God in *heaven. The angels are his servants in *heaven. Heaven is the home of God. His throne is the special seat that he sits on. All kings have a throne, and God is king over everything, (verse 19). ‘Built his throne in *heaven’ means that God is king in *heaven. In verse 22 David says what he said in verse 1. I say to myself, *praise the *LORD!

Something to do

1.  Read verses 1-5 with ‘me, my and I’ instead of ‘you and your’.

2.  Learn to say verse 2 by heart. (By heart means without looking at the words.)

3.  Here are some lines from a famous Christian song. They use ideas from Psalm 103. Can you find which verses they use? The meanings of some of the words are in brackets ( ).

*Praise, my *soul, the King of *Heaven,
To his feet your tribute (*praises) bring,
Ransomed (*redeemed), healed (made well), restored (God’s friend again), *forgiven,
Who like you his *praise should sing?

Father-like he tends (helps) and spares (is kind to) us,
Well our feeble (weak) frame (body) he knows,
In his hands he gently bears (carries) us,
Rescues us (makes us safe) from all our foes (enemies).

*Angels, help us to adore (love) him,
You behold (can see) him face to face,
Sun and moon bow down before him,
Dwellers (people who live) all in time and space.

 

© 2001-2002, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words).

July 2002

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