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Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Bible Meditation: 
Psalm 103: 1-22

“The LORD is MERCIFUL and gracious, slow to anger, and ABOUNDING IN MERCY” Psalm 103:8

The testimony of Scriptures is that GOD’S HEART ABOUNDS in MERCY: “The LORD is MERCIFUL and gracious, slow to anger, and ABOUNDING IN MERCY” (Psa. 103:8). Psalm 103 is a masterful Hymn of Thansgiving in which the psalmist praised God for His Goodness and Mercies, and for deliverance from trying situations. The psalm comprises: (1) an Introduction, in which the psalmist declared the intention of giving thanks and praising God; (2) a Narrative, in which he relayed what had happened that prompted the words of praise; and (3) a Conclusion, in which he praised God for all that He had done on his behalf.

In the Introduction (vv.1-2), the psalmist repeated the phrase “Bless the LORD, O my soul,” calling others to witness what God had done. The words “Bless the LORD” occur six times in the psalm, at its opening and closing (vv. 1-2, 20-22). They form an “envelope” structure for the Narrative (vv. 3-19), which detail the reasons to invite others to bless the LORD. Verses 3-7 state that God “forgives,” “heals,” “redeems,” “crowns,” “satisfies,” “works justice,” and “makes known His ways,” followed by our key verse (v.8). This call to “Bless the LORD” aligns with God’s Self-proclamation to Moses: “The Lord, the Lord God, MERCIFUL and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, KEEPING MERCY for thousands (Exo 34:6-7a).

The same expression is found many times in the Psalms and Prophets, as an integral part of understanding of the nature of God. Verses 9-10 and 12 celebrate God’s Mercy and graciousness toward sins and transgressions; the same words used in Exodus 34:7 – “forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin”! Rather than “keep His anger forever,” or deal “with us according to our sins,” God keeps MERCY toward those who fear Him (vv.9-12). To fear God implies awe, reverent respect, and honour. “Fear” in the Old Testament is a synonym for “love” (Dt. 10:12); “cling to” (Dt. 10:20); “serve” (Dt. 6:13; Jos. 24:14); and obedience to the divine will.

Closely linked to God’s Mercy is His compassion (v.13). The word translated “compassion” comes from the same root word as that translated “merciful.” Its noun form means “womb.” God’s compassion for His children is likened to the love a mother feels for her yet-to-be-born child – an embracing, caring, and nurturing love. Why? Because God knows how we were made, that we are dust (v.14). He understands our fragile frame. The Narrative in verses 15-19 leads to the closing words, in which angels (v. 20), the hosts (v. 21), and all of God’s works (v. 22) are to “Bless the LORD.” The Psalm ends as it began: “Bless the LORD, O my soul!” (v.22).

Mercy means showing compassion or forgiveness toward someone when it is within one’s power and authority to penalise or punish. God’s outpouring of abounding Mercy in our lives is what opens the doorway to supernatural blessing and breakthrough even while we are underserving. God shows us His Mercy every single day, because despite our sinful nature, He still graced us with all that we have: waking up each day, family, friends, a roof over our head, and lots more. When was the last time we showed mercy to someone who constantly rebelled and sinned against us? Not easy! But for God, that’s the very essence of His divine nature. Being all merciful and all love is not what God does – but who He is. That’ why we praise and honor Him even in the most difficult of times!

No matter what we’re going through, we can look up and say: “Thank You, Jesus! Thank You for loving us and showing us Mercy even when we don’t deserve it. We know we can trust in Your Mercy. Lord Jesus, we trust in You”! When we abound in gratitude for what He has done, acknowledging even the smallest of merciful gestures, God promises to do even more. We can never out-give Him! As we praise Him from the valley, we can open our arms for the blessing and prepare for divine breakthroughs from on high!

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Lord, as we praise and thank You, grant us Grace to testify that YOUR HEART ABOUNDS IN MERCY, in Jesus name.
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