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Bible Commentaries

Philpot's Commentary on select texts of the Bible

Psalms 103

Verse 1

Ps 103:1

"Bless the Lord, O my soul—and all that is within me, bless his holy name." Ps 103:1

As the Son has glorified the Father and the Father has glorified the Son, so there is a people in whom both the Father and the Son will be glorified. He therefore said, "And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one" (Joh 17:22); and again, "All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I am glorified in them." When, then, God’s goodness and mercy in the face of Jesus Christ are manifested to this people whom he has formed for himself that they might show forth his praise, then they give him back his glory. But how is this done? By praising and blessing his holy name for the manifestation of his goodness and mercy to their soul. We thus see in what a blessed circle this glory runs. The Father glorifies the Son; the Son glorifies the Father; both unite in glorifying his chosen and redeemed people; and they glorify Father and Son by giving them the glory due to their name. We therefore read that "the Gentiles glorify God for his mercy." But how? "Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people. Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; and laud him, all you people" (Ro 15:9-11).

This is beautifully developed in Ps 103:1-22. It begins with blessing and praising God. "Bless the Lord, O my soul—and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits." Why was it that David called upon his soul to bless the Lord—yes, appealed to every faculty within him to unite in blessing his holy name? Why did he charge it upon his soul not to forget all God’s benefits, but bear them in perpetual remembrance? For this reason—that he might render unto God a tribute of thankful praise. Now by this God is glorified, for whoever offers praise glorifies him. We cannot add to his glory; for his glory is above the heavens. It is infinite, eternal, ineffable. No creature therefore can add to it or take from it; but he does permit poor worms of earth to glorify him by giving him a tribute of thankful praise. But this we can only do by believing in his dear Son, receiving of his fullness grace for grace, and blessing and praising his holy name for the manifestation of his goodness, mercy, and love, as brought into our soul by his own divine power.

Verse 4

Ps 103:4

"Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies." — Ps 103:4

The coronation of a king puts the last and highest seal upon his reigning authority. This made the spouse say, "Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown with which his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart" (Song 3:11). And what a day will that be when the anti-typical Solomon is crowned Lord of all.

Thus there is a crown put upon the soul which is healed of all its diseases, and whose life is redeemed from destruction. It is as if God could not be satisfied until he had put the crown of his loving-kindness upon the soul, until he had himself crowned the heart with his own love. And what is the effect? The soul puts a crown of glory upon his head. So the soul has the crown of grace, and God has the crown of glory. This is being crowned with loving-kindness and tender mercies. And O what a crown it is! How it crowns all our iniquities, hides them from God’s sight as a crown covers a monarch’s brow. How it crowns all our trials that we have had to pass through, severe and cutting as they were at the time to the flesh. How it crowns all our bereavements by putting upon the bereaved heart the crown of God’s loving-kindness. How it crowns all our prayers by enabling us to see their gracious answer. How it crowns all God’s dealings with us in providence and in grace, and stamps loving-kindness upon them all; for the crown includes everything in it. As the Queen’s crown includes her royalty, her dignity, her power—for all are symboled thereby—so God’s loving-kindness, put upon the heart as a crown, includes and secures every blessing for time and eternity.

Verse 8

Ps 103:8

"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy; he will not always accuse; neither will he harbor his anger forever." Ps 103:8-9

God is angry and justly angry with the sins of his people. He hates sin with a perfect hatred. He cannot but entertain unceasing wrath against it. It is so contrary to the purity and perfection of his holy nature, that wherever he meets with sin his indignation flashes out against it. And until we have some discovery and manifestation of Christ to assure us of a saving interest in his precious blood and finished work, we cannot separate the anger of God against our sins from the anger of God against our persons.

But when the Lord is pleased to reveal a sense of his goodness and mercy in the Person and work of his dear Son, then we can see by the eye of faith that though he is angry with our sins, he is not angry with our persons, but accepts us in the Beloved, having chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Thus he retains not his anger forever. And why? Because it is atoned for, put away, not retained so as to burn to the lowest hell. The blessed Lord has offered a sacrifice for sin; put away the punishment and penalty due to transgression, propitiated and appeased, and thus put away his indignation and fiery displeasure against the sins of his people; for all the anger of God due to their sins and to their persons was discharged upon the Person of Jesus as he stood our representative and hung upon the cross a bleeding sacrifice, putting away sin by the offering of himself. This is the reason why he retains not his anger forever, it being appeased and put away through the atonement of our blessed Lord, that it should not burn against the persons of the people of God, nor consume them with the fiery indignation that shall burn up the wicked.

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Bibliographical Information
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 103". Philpot's Commentary on select texts of the Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jcp/psalms-103.html.