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Our Father’s Love

King David’s song of praise

103 With my whole heart, with my whole life,
    and with my innermost being,
    I bow in wonder and love before you, the holy God!
Yahweh, you are my soul’s celebration.
    How could I ever forget the miracles of kindness
    you’ve done for me?
You kissed my heart with forgiveness, in spite of all I’ve done.[a]
    You’ve healed me inside and out from every disease.
You’ve rescued me from hell[b] and saved my life.
    You’ve crowned me with love and mercy.
You satisfy my every desire with good things.[c]
    You’ve supercharged my life so that I soar again[d]
    like a flying eagle in the sky!
You’re a God who makes things right,
    giving justice to the defenseless.
You unveiled to Moses your plans
    and showed Israel’s sons what you could do.
Lord, you’re so kind and tenderhearted[e]
    and so patient with people who fail you!
    Your love is like a flooding river
    overflowing its banks with kindness.[f]
You don’t look at us only to find our faults,[g]
    just so that you can hold a grudge against us.
10 You may discipline us for our many sins,
    but never as much as we really deserve.
    Nor do you get even with us for what we’ve done.
11 Higher than the highest heavens—
    that’s how high your tender mercy extends!
    Greater than the grandeur of heaven above
    is the greatness of your loyal love, towering over all
    who fear you and bow down before you!
12 Farther than from a sunrise to a sunset—
    that’s how far you’ve removed our guilt from us.
13 The same way a loving father feels toward his children—
    that’s but a sample of your tender feelings toward us,[h]
    your beloved children, who live in awe of you.
14 You know all about us, inside and out.[i]
    You are mindful that we’re made from dust.
15 Our days are so few, and our momentary beauty[j]
    so swiftly fades away!
16 Then all of a sudden we’re gone,
    like grass clippings blown away in a gust of wind,
    taken away to our appointment with death,
    leaving nothing to show that we were here.
17 But Lord, your endless love stretches
    from one eternity to the other,
    unbroken and unrelenting toward those who fear you
    and those who bow facedown in awe before you.
    Your faithfulness to keep every gracious promise you’ve made
    passes from parents, to children, to grandchildren, and beyond.
18 You are faithful to all those who follow your ways
    and keep your word.
19 Yahweh has established his throne in heaven;
    his kingdom rules the entire universe.
20 So bless the Lord, all his messengers of power,
    for you are his mighty heroes who listen intently
    to the voice of his word to do it.
21 Bless and praise the Lord, you mighty warriors,
    ministers who serve him well and fulfill his desires.
22 I will bless and praise the Lord with my whole heart!
    Let all his works throughout the earth,
    wherever his dominion stretches—
    let everything bless the Lord!

Footnotes

  1. 103:3 From this verse through the rest of the psalm, the writer used the second person (you). This translation has left the psalm in the first person to enhance the poetic nuance for the English reader.
  2. 103:4 Or “redeemed me from the pit,” a term often used for Sheol or hell.
  3. 103:5 The Hebrew text is somewhat difficult to understand. It is literally “who satisfies with good ornaments.”
  4. 103:5 Or “your youth [implying both strength and beauty] he restores.”
  5. 103:8 Or “Lord, you’re so compassionate and merciful.” The Hebrew word for “compassion” has a homonym that means “womb.” The Lord carries his people like a mother carries a child in her womb.
  6. 103:8 See Ex. 34:6.
  7. 103:9 Or “You [he] will not always fight with us [like fighting with enemies].”
  8. 103:13 Or “like a father has deep compassion for his children.” The Hebrew word for “tender feelings” is racham, which has a homonym that can be translated “womb.” Our Father carries you in his womb. What a beautiful word play that our Father has a mother’s nurturing love for his children.
  9. 103:14 The Hebrew word yatsar can be translated “form” or “frame.” God knows our frame. But yatsar also has a homonym that means “to be in distress” or “to be frustrated.” So this sentence could be translated “You know all about our frustrations and distress.” These thoughts combined would mean that God hasn’t forgotten that he formed us from dust and we’ll experience frustrations as human beings. God is sympathetic to our difficulties.
  10. 103:15 The Hebrew word translated “beauty” actually means “shining.”