Verses 1–5

David is here communing with his own heart, and he is no fool that thus talks to himself and excites his own soul to that which is good. Observe,

I. How he stirs up himself to the duty of praise, Ps. 103:1, 2. 1. It is the Lord that is to be blessed and spoken well of; for he is the fountain of all good, whatever are the channels or cisterns; it is to his name, his holy name, that we are to consecrate our praise, giving thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. 2. It is the soul that is to be employed in blessing God, and all that is within us. We make nothing of our religious performances if we do not make heart-work of them, if that which is within us, nay, if all that is within us, be not engaged in them. The work requires the inward man, the whole man, and all little enough. 3. In order to our return of praises to God, there must be a grateful remembrance of the mercies we have received from him: Forget not all his benefits. If we do not give thanks for them, we do forget them; and that is unjust as well as unkind, since in all God’s favours there is so much that is memorable. “O my soul! to thy shame be it spoken, thou hast forgotten many of his benefits; but surely thou wilt not forget them all, for thou shouldst not have forgotten any.”

II. How he furnishes himself with abundant matter for praise, and that which is very affecting: “Come, my soul, consider what God has done for thee.” 1. “He has pardoned thy sins (Ps. 103:3); he has forgiven, and does forgive, all thy iniquities.” This is mentioned first because by the pardon of sin that is taken away which kept good things from us, and we are restored to the favour of God, which bestows good things on us. Think what the provocation was; it was iniquity, and yet pardoned; how many the provocations were, and yet all pardoned. He has forgiven all our trespasses. It is a continued act; he is still forgiving, as we are still sinning and repenting. 2. “He has cured thy sickness.” The corruption of nature is the sickness of the soul; it is its disorder, and threatens its death. This is cured in sanctification; when sin is mortified, the disease is healed; though complicated, it is all healed. Our crimes were capital, but God saves our lives by pardoning them; our diseases were mortal, but God saves our lives by healing them. These two go together; for, as for God, his work is perfect and not done by halves; if God take away the guilt of sin by pardoning mercy, he will break the power of it by renewing grace. Where Christ is made righteousness to any soul he is made sanctification, 1 Cor. 1:30. 3. “He has rescued thee from danger.” A man may be in peril of life, not only by his crimes, or his diseases, but by the power of his enemies; and therefore here also we experience the divine goodness: Who redeemed thy life from destruction (Ps. 103:4), from the destroyer, from hell (so the Chaldee), from the second death. The redemption of the soul is precious; we cannot compass it, and therefore are the more indebted to divine grace that has wrought it out, to him who has obtained eternal redemption for us. See Job 33:24, 28. 4. “He has not only saved thee from death and ruin, but has made thee truly and completely happy, with honour, pleasure, and long life.” (1.) “He has given thee true honour and great honour, no less than a crown: He crowns thee with his lovingkindness and tender mercies;” and what greater dignity is a poor soul capable of than to be advanced into the love and favour of God? This honour have all his saints. What is the crown of glory but God’s favour? (2.) “He has given thee true pleasure: He satisfies thy mouth with good things” (Ps. 103:5); it is only the favour and grace of God that can give satisfaction to a soul, can suit its capacities, supply its needs, and answer to its desires. Nothing but divine wisdom can undertake to fill its treasures (Prov. 8:21); other things will surfeit, but not satiate, Eccl. 6:7; Isa. 55:2. (3.) “He has given thee a prospect and pledge of long life: Thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” The eagle is long-lived, and, as naturalists say, when she is nearly 100 years old, casts all her feathers (as indeed she changes them in a great measure every year at moulting time), and fresh ones come, so that she becomes young again. When God, by the graces and comforts of his Spirit, recovers his people from their decays, and fills them with new life and joy, which is to them an earnest of eternal life and joy, then they may be said to return to the days of their youth, Job 33:23.