Wednesday, December 14, 2011


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 iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

1-2 Praise of God begins with the self. As the psalmist exhorts himself to praise the Lord with his "soul" and "inmost being" (i.e., his whole person), he has nothing else in mind than full commitment to the act of giving thanks. The "name" of the Lord calls to remembrance all his perfections and acts of deliverance. "Praise" is the response of awe for God, while reflecting on what the Lord has done for his people. The opposite of "praise" is forgetfulness. To "forget" the "benefits" of the Lord is to disregard his covenantal lordship.

3 The forgiveness of "sins" is God's gracious act pf removing the consequences of sin as well as the sin itself. The "diseases" may be sicknesses, but are more likely a metaphor for adversities or setbacks.

4 Instead of letting his beloved be taken by adversity, the Lord redeems by exalting him to royalty with his "love and compassion." "Love" is the assurance of the constancy of his fidelity toward his own. The complement of "love" is divine "compassion", that quality by which God as the heavenly Father empathizes with human frailty.

5 The Lord forgives, redeems, sustains, and fully restores all the covenantal benefits, even though sin has breached the covenant. The Lord "satisfies" his children with all the blessings of the covenant so as to "renew" them like an "eagle." The "eagle" symbolizes vigor and freedom.
[NIV BIBLE COMMENTARY Volume 1: Old Testament].


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