Have you ever asked yourself who God is? Or more importantly, who God is in the Bible? We can find the answer to this beautifully and boldly stated in Psalm 103. As we examine this Biblical passage, in both the KJV and NIV translations, we’ll highlight important takeaways and dive deeper into God’s word.
Are you a worrier? Be sure to check out this post on how to stop worrying and give your worries to God.
Let’s Read: Psalm 103 NIV
If you’ve never read Psalm 103, let’s start by reading in the NIV first.
1 Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: 8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— 18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. 19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22 Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul.
Who God is in the Bible
Before I became a Christian, I struggled to understand God. I looked for answers in all the wrong places, and put my trust in new age books, online influencers, and other unbelievers around me. Once I started to read the Bible, the Lord started to reveal himself to me through his word. And this is all illustrated beautifully in Psalm 103 if we have questions about who God is.
Below are some scriptures and observations to further support the statements made in Psalm 103.
3 who forgives all your sins
God is a forgiving God. As humans, we’re all sinners and fall short. Being a sinner simply means that you will make mistakes. At some point in your life, you will lie, cheat, and deceive. The Bible tells us that ALL sin is punishable by death. But here’s the good news: no matter what sin you’ve comitted– even the most horrible sins you can think of– God will forgive you. All you have to do is seek his forgiveness. And he is quick to do it.
It is by grace that we are saved, through the blood of Jesus.
God will heal you
and heals all your diseases,
As stated in Psalm 103:3, God will heal you of diseases. When we think of disease, we often think of sickness, like an infection or chronic ailment. While he has the ability to heal these things, it will also benefit us to think about God healing all our dis-ease, as in, the things that make us uneasy and uncomfortable. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically– God has the power to heal all.
It’s important when praying for the Lord to heal, that you ask that HIS will be done, not ours.
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
To be redeemed means to recover. In the KJV translation, it states that we are redeemed from destruction. Sin always leads to destruction. The Bible tells us that Jesus has paid the penalty for our sins. When he was dying on the cross, Jesus simply said, “It is finished,” which also means “paid in full.” This meant that he payed it all.
If you’re wondering if you can ever be redeemed, the answer is YES. All who come to him will be redeemed, will be bought back. Not only that, but he’ll welcome you with open arms, and crown you with love and compassion (for more, see the parable of the Prodigal Son). This is how good our Father truly is.
Jesus will pull you out from the pit, out of the destruction, and crown you.
God will satisfy
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Only God can satisfy our spiritual hunger. Each person was created in his image, to have a relationship with him. Unfortunately, many of us look to earthly pleasures to fill the void, instead of looking to our heavenly Father. This is especially true for those suffering from addiction.
The only true satisfaction we will ever get out of life is when we are in communion with our creator. You’ll always be thirsty anywhere else, but that thirst can be quenched with Jesus alone. His grace is sufficient.
“They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
God is righteous
6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
Have you ever been guilty of something? The answer of course is yes, because we are all sinners.
God cannot lie. He is without flaw or sin. He is holy. And he does not change. Because he is these things, that means he is righteous. To be righteous means you are not guilty. Evil does not exist in the Lord. This also makes God a righteous judge, and he brings justice to those that are burdened, weary, and oppressed.
The Lord is always working for your highest good, even when you cannot understand his ways. For his ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).
God is slow to anger
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
New Christians can misunderstand God’s anger as sin. Righteous anger is not a sin (more on this in another post). Look at it this way: if a child does not clean their room after being asked, and the parent is angered by it, is the parent committing a sin? Of course not, you may be saying. This is a small example of righteous anger.
When the Bible says that God is slow to anger, this means that he has PATIENCE. Loads of it. God is not going to flip off the handle at the smallest sin. After all, as the Creator he understands that humans are naturally sinful. But this does mean that the Lord has righteous anger, like a slow boiling pot. Which is good news for us, because this means God will give us multiple chances to get it right.
God has compassion and love
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
Even when we don’t get things right, God loves us anyway. Being our Good Shepherd, the Lord is always trying to lead us on the right path. He has abounding compassion for his children. He loves his children. And he will never, ever leave his flock. We may turn away from the Lord when we are met with adversity, but the Lord will never turn away from us.
A prayer I often like to say is, “Thank you Lord for loving me, even when I didn’t love you.”
God has mercy
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
We are not saved by works. We’re also not saved by repentance, although that helps us spiritually grow as Christians. No, we are only saved by God’s mercy and grace. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This is part of God’s mercy.
Mercy is compassionate treatment. Mercy is giving us what we don’t deserve. As sinners, we do not deserve God’s grace. But he gives it to us anyway. Because he is a loving an compassionate God.
God will make himself known
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
In the Bible, God made himself known to Moses. Just because he won’t appear to us in the form of a burning bush, does not mean he will not make himself known to us.
I used to think that God would be extremely loud when trying to communicate with me. I know now that God is often as quiet as a whisper. He is a gentle nudging. When you ask the Lord to make himself known to you, he will, in ways we cannot imagine.
Of course, the best way we can get to know God is through his word.
God is from everlasting to everlasting
17 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— 18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
When the Bible says that his love is with those that fear him, it doesn’t mean we should be afraid that God would hurt us. “Fearing” God means that we RESPECT our heavenly Father. We keep his commandments, and we continue to be faithful.
God has existed since the beginning of time. He is a constant that will exist from the beginning to the end (the alpha and omega). This is so comforting because that also means that his promises, his love, his mercy, his kindness, his forgiveness– all this is everlasting.
God does not fail. Nothing is impossible for God. He is forever and always will be. As Christians, we put our faith in this. We also must remember to be obedient, and teach our children to be obedient as well.
Let’s Read: Psalm 103 KJV
Now that you’ve read Psalm 103 in the NIV, plus had the breakdown of the scriptures, let’s look now at the same Psalm in the KJV.
What strength can you pull from this now?
1 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 forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. 6 The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. 8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. 17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; 18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. 19 The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. 20 Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. 21 Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. 22 Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.
Psalm 103 not only states who God is boldly and assuredly, but it also causes us to pause. Bless the Lord and do not forget his benefits, what he does for us every single day.
If you’ve never put your faith in Jesus, I encourage you to stop right now and look to him. Ask the Holy Spirit to come into your heart, and turn your face towards the Lord. You have absolutely nothing to lose.
I pray this blessed you today.