Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits –
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5, NIV*
King David is reminding his soul of all these benefits – not speaking to a group of people but to a single soul. Look at verse 4a: “redeems your life” is singular, not plural.
It’s safe to apply these verses to any and all souls belonging to God, not just David’s own. What strikes me today is how the context implies David isn’t listing the God’s benefits for all believers but for all believing souls.
I’d never seen this distinction between soul and body. Knowing the passage isn’t promising to reverse physical aging in verse 5 nor necessarily promising to satisfy all fleshly desires, I didn’t know how strongly to take verse 3’s promise of healing all diseases. But if this is all specifically promised for the soul, there’s a huge difference.
Forgiveness of all the soul’s sins – that’s fairly straightforward. Isn’t the soul the part sin kills? Some sins, such as inward rebellion, may even be specifically soul sins. Redemption language talks of our souls, once dead in sin, being made alive again.
Crowning a soul with love and compassion sounds like tender restoration. Renewal of youth sounds like rejuvenation of energy and wonder, maybe even of innocence. Reversal of the damage of sin.
Healing all diseases… what would be a disease of the soul, and how many might one soul have? Shame, self-deprecation, pride, fear…? God promises to heal them all in the same breath as promising to forgive all sins. Past, present, and future.
Shame and company are harder to get rid of at times than physical diseases. Praise God, He promises healing!
In this light, how can I pray for the people on my heart? How can I pray for myself? Father, lead and show me how to pray in faith for the souls of those You lay on my heart. Help me walk in faith that You are healing my own soul and finishing what You have begun. Thank You so much for the forgiveness, healing and renewal You give.
Today’s song is “By His Wounds,” sung by Mac Powell, Steven Curtis Chapman, Brian Littrell and Mark Hall on the Glory Revealed CD. This is an amazing video of Christian performance artist and speaker Mike Lewis painting as the song plays.
*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.