Most of the time, we read Psalm 103 and we think of our worship of God. And that is a correct view of this psalm, but it falls short of completely understanding this passage. In this psalm, we not only see worship, but we can see why we are to worship.
David wrote this psalm as a song of worship to God, and in the first few verses, he gives us at least four reasons to worship God based on his mercy. But that’s not all this psalm offers. In the next segment of this psalm, David expounds upon God’s grace. This is the why behind the how of worship. God’s grace is why David offers his praise; and he realizes that he is really unworthy of it at all.
Look at verse 6-13:
The Lord performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
In these verses, David shows us three characteristics of God’s grace.
God’s Grace Is For Everyone
God deals with all of mankind equally. His actions may vary, but his love and grace do not. He dealt with the entire nation of Israel just as fairly as he dealt with David as an individual. God shows himself to be gracious and fatherly towards sinful and perishing man. Throughout time, God has progressively revealed His will, and his grace. Moses saw some of this grace (Exodus 33); Jesus revealed more and more (John 14:1-6; Hebrews 1:1-4) and God’s final Word in Christ, revealed in Scripture itself, reveals still more of God’s grace to mankind (John 5:39-46).
God’s Grace Displays His Nature
Verse 8 tells us that “the Lord is compassionate and gracious.” David displays God’s goodness for us to see. Someone once defined justice as getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. But grace is getting something that we don’t deserve. Grace is unmerited favor. Grace is something we don’t deserve but greatly need! Paul sums up grace in Romans 5:6-11:
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
God’s Grace Gives Us Confidence
Because of God’s grace, our sin is forgiven, and removed from us. It no longer separates us from God. David illustrates this by trying to imagine the distance between east and west. It is utterly impossible to calculate the distance between east and west, for we have nowhere from which to begin. With north and south, you can only go so far in either direction before you switch and head the opposite direction. Not so with the east and west. Start heading west, and you can go infinitely far without change. So when God removes my sin from me, I’ll never see it again.
Because of God’s grace, we can see just how worthy he is of our worship and praise. He is the only one worthy, and all of creation acknowledges this. And one day, all of mankind will as well, whether they would like to or not. We would do well to begin now.
Question: What aspects of God’s grace are most important to your spiritual walk right now? What stands out the most about this grace? You can leave a comment by clicking here.