Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 27: Give Thanks


Today we’re going to pray our way through Psalm 103. David calls on his soul to bless the Lord and to not forget His many, many blessings. Let’s encourage our souls to do the same.

Assignment: Open to Psalm 103 and turn this psalm into a prayer of thanksgiving and praise, as you personalize it and pray it back to God.

I kneel down before you, Lord, with all that is within me, and praise your name!

Praise you, Lord! I want to remember all your blessings.

Thank you for forgiving all my sins.

Thank you for healing all my diseases.

Thank you for redeeming my life from the pit and crowning me with your steadfast love and mercy…

Slowly pray your way through the entire psalm. Rejoice and give thanks for the rich, rich blessings of life with our Father who abounds in steadfast love and mercy, and who has graciously not given us what we deserve. We have much to be thankful for!

For your children:

Guide your children in praying this psalm together. For young children, rephrase and personalize each verse for them, and let them repeat each one after you.

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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 26: Man

30DaysPs103Day26No1We’ve read so much about God in Psalm 103. My prayer is that our picture of God is much bigger, much harder to comprehend, much more appreciated than it was when we started our study almost a month ago.

What does this psalm say about man? That’s what we’re going to look at today.

Assignment: Pray for God’s continued guidance as you study His Word. Then get out the colored pencils and notebook, and open up your Bible to Psalm 103.

  • Read the entire psalm, highlighting with green every appearance of the word man in the psalm. You should also mark any pronouns such as he and his that refer to man. (Note: If you are using the NIV, look for the word mortals instead.)
  • When you have finished, look back over what you have marked. On Day 6 we highlighted in yellow all the words that referred to God in this psalm. Look at your text. How much yellow do you see compared to green?
  • On Day 7 we made a chart and recorded all the verbs related to God. We saw what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will or won’t do.

Let’s do the same for man. Locate those green highlighted words, and find out what man does. Look for verbs related to the word man, draw a red box around them, and list them in your notebook.

  • Then note what man is compared to. This is a verse we marked when we were looking for comparisons on Day 20.  You should have diagonal lines through the word like two times in verse 15. Write these phrases in your notebook.
  • Then, we also see our last marking of the word for from Day 22. (If you are studying in the NIV or NASB, the word for is not present in verse 16.) Why does man flourish like a flower of the field? This is such a sad picture (unless you have Jesus):

30DaysPs103Day26No2For the wind passes over it,

and it is gone,

and its place knows it no more.

Flowers don’t last. I know. My latest experience was the demise of the glorious red nasturtiums that not only successfully camouflaged my compost bin, as I had hoped they would, but then went on to find their way into the paths between some of my raised beds. Every time I walked past those flowers, they made me smile.

And then the first heavy frost arrived and they were gone. They ended up in the compost bin instead of adorning it. Their place knows them no more. :-(

The life of a wildflower in the field is even shorter. Many of those flowers only last a day or two.

That’s what man’s life is compared to. God knows we’re dust. We come and go like the flowers. We’re here and then we’re gone.

Compare this to the glorious blessings and attributes of God that David lists for us in this psalm. Our God is a great God, and we’re not nearly as great as we like to think we are.


No, I don’t think so. In our study of Psalm 103, we still need to look for the word but. That little word is an important one. It will give us hope and meaning.

But our study of but is for another day. :-)

For your children:

  • Read all of Psalm 103 with your children. Have them raise their hands every time they hear any words referring to God. This will include the word Lord, but also pronouns like he, him, his, and who when they are referring to God. (As you read the psalm aloud, put a little more emphasis on those words to help the children notice them.)
  • Have them stand up when they hear the word man (or mortals in NIV) and the pronouns he and his when referring to man.
  • When you have finished, discuss the difference. How often is God mentioned in this psalm compared to man?
  • Then discuss what man is compared to. How is he like a flower of the field? How are we like flowers in the field?
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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 25: He Remembers

30DaysPs103Day25Today we’re going to back to our notes from Day 22. We’ve seen why God hasn’t dealt with us as our sins deserve. His steadfast love is bigger than our sins.

Now let’s look at the next for in the psalm.

Assignment: Pray as you start your study. Ask God to help you believe and remember that Jesus has cancelled the debt for your sin, and ask Him to help you continue to learn from this psalm.

  • Then go back to your notes from Day 22. We were recording the appearances of the word for in Psalm 103. Verse 14 should be the second verse you listed.
  • Go back and read verse 13. This verse tells us that God shows compassion to those who fear Him, like a father shows compassion to his child. So verse 14 is explaining why God shows compassion.

Why does He?

  • Open Blueletterbible and search on Psalm 103:14. Let’s do some quick word study. Use the Interlinear tool to look at the first words in the verse, if you have time. We’re going to focus on the word dust for this lesson.
  • Click on that we are dust. Note the definitions in your notebook.
  • Then scroll down to “Concordance Results Using KJV”. Skim these verses. There’s a bunch of them. Read as many as you can. If you’re really limited on time, focus on verses from Genesis, Job, and Psalms.
  • As you read through these verses, note any insights you gain. How is the word used? How does the word relate to man? (Job 19:25 jumped off the screen at me after studying this psalm and meditating on the blessing of being redeemed from the pit. Beautiful words from a man in the depths of suffering and pain, “For I know that my Redeemer liveth…” Knowing that — really believing it — can carry us through the hardest of times!)
  • When you’ve finished reading the verses, look back over your notes. Summarize what you have learned about dust. God has compassion on us because He knows our frame and remembers we are dust.

God ought to know. He made Adam from the dust of the ground. He framed us in our mother’s womb. He knows our bodies will return to the dust. He lived among us in all our dustiness, and was tempted in the same ways we are. He remembers that we are dust, even when we busily forget and push ourselves beyond what is good for us, or when we expect far more from ourselves than is realistic or even kind.

He understands. 

He’s for us, not against us.

He has compassion for us. He knows we are weak, and patiently teaches us right where we are.

We need to remember this and gives thanks! And we need to learn from God’s example!

What can we learn from God’s compassion toward us?

Aren’t our children dust, just like we are?

  • Do they need our understanding and compassion at times when we, in our own dusty condition, would rather just “fix” them and move on to the next load of laundry?
  • Would it encourage our children if we were more humble in our dealings with them, admitting our own weaknesses and praying together with them as fellow brothers and sisters (“fellow dust-men”) in Christ?
  • Do they need more compassion and less law from us? This is difficult — much harder than just woodenly dealing with sin in a one-size-fits-all fashion. A godly balance of mercy and truth requires wisdom. And prayer. And patience. It means looking to God for guidance instead of relying on our own “wisdom” (or on the “wisdom” of secular psychology).

As you love and train your children today, keep God’s compassion — both for you and for your children in mind. Ask God to help you show that kind of compassion to your children.

For your children:

Read Psalm 103:13-14 aloud together. Then discuss the verses.

Why does God show compassion to us?

Why do parents show compassion to their children?

Spend some time talking about what they think that kind of compassion looks like. How do their parents show compassion to them? How would they like their parents to show compassion to them? Are all their ideas actually compassionate, or are some simply indulgent, and not actually loving? Talk about this. It should be a good discussion! Be open to learning from their suggestions. :-)


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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 24: Parallelism


Tomorrow we’ll go back to the fors” we circled on Day 22. But today we’re going to take a few minutes to look at how Psalm 103 is written.

The psalms are poems that were written to be sung. Hebrew poetry is different than English poetry. Hebrew and English poetry both use meter to give a rhythm to the words, but it’s not apparent to us when we read the psalms, since we’re not reading them in Hebrew. Hebrew poetry does not use rhyme, as many English poems do. Instead it employs another poetic form called parallelism.

When using parallelism, the writer expresses a thought in the first phrase of a sentence, and then expresses a related thought in the second phrase.

Sometimes the second phrase contrasts with the first (contrastive). “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Sometimes it makes a comparison with the first (comparative). “Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.”

Often it restates the first thought in a slightly different way (completive). “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.”

We’ve recently looked at several verses in Psalm 103 that use comparative parallelism. Do you remember looking for as/so phrases and the word like on Day 20? If you go back and look again at those verses in the psalm, you’ll see that each verse is composed of two phrases that liken one thing to another.

Most of Psalm 103 employs completive parallelism. We aren’t going to go into a great deal of detail about the different types of completive parallelism. But paying attention to this poetic device as you read the psalm today will add a new understanding and appreciation of its beauty. Noticing the parallelism can also help us as we memorize the psalm. (If you want to know more details, you can read this lesson from our Proverbs 31 study.)

Assignment: Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and teaching as you study today. Then read all of Psalm 103, paying special attention to the structure of each verse. Notice (and appreciate) the almost echo-like quality as one thought is expressed and then repeated again with different words.

Think about the repetition. Are the two phrases saying the same thing in different ways? Is the second phrase adding to the meaning of the first? Is the second phrase completing the meaning of the first? Are comparisons being made? Don’t worry about assigning a particular type of parallelism to each verse. Just pay attention and enjoy.

The opening verse of the psalm has a longer phrase length than the verses that follow. Watch for the other two interruptions of the two-phrase parallel structure. What is being said in the two longer verses that break this pattern? Do you think David lengthened the phrases in these verses for a purpose?

It’s also interesting to note that the verses with comparative parallelism are all located in center of the psalm, sandwiched between a lot of completive parallelism. Something to ponder . . .

When you’ve finished reading and watching for parallelism, read the psalm one more time, and just enjoy. Bask in its beauty and comfort.

If you’re still working on memorizing the psalm, consider copying the psalm with a space (or tab) between the two phrases of each verse. This might help you more easily remember the related phrases. I know that for me, having a visual arrangement where I can see small portions of the psalm at a time, helps me remember each phrase more easily.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,                           and forget not all His benefits,

Who forgives all your iniquity,                   who heals all your diseases,

Who redeems your life from the pit,         who crowns you with steadfast love and


For your children:

Divide into two groups. Then recite as much of the psalm as you can, with one group saying the first phrase of each verse, and the other group saying the second phrase. When you have finished, change roles. Recite the opposite phrase you recited the first time.

If your children are old enough to understand, show them how the second phrase of each verse often expands or repeats the meaning of the first phrase. (You could use your puzzle pieces from Day 7 to help show this.)


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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 23: Catch Up and Optional Lesson


It’s Catch-Up Day! Go for it! I can’t believe we already only have a week left in our study!

Here’s an optional assignment for those who would like one:

  • Use the Interlinear tools to study all the words related to sin in this Psalm. First go through the psalm and underline with a black zigzag line every reference to sin, iniquity, transgression and any other synonym for sin that you see.
  • Then, using the skills you have been learning, look up each verse that includes the words, and use the Interlinear tool to help you study their meanings.
  • Look at the root of each word, when it is available. It will be shown in the lexicon section labeled “Root Word (Etymology)”. These root words will help you make greater distinctions between the different words.
  • Looking at the verses listed under “Concordance Results Using KJV” in the lexicon listings, read other verses in Scripture that contain each of these words for sin.
  • Use Bible dictionaries and other study tools to help you.
  • Organize your notes when you are all done with your marking and research. What have you learned? Does each word mean something different? How does that affect your understanding of the verses? How does it affect the way you think about sin and the way you live?

For your children:

We’ve looked at the Israelites before while studying Psalm 103. Over and over God revealed to His people that He is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love”.

For something special on this day of rest, watch this short 5-minute clip from the old movie, The Ten Commandments. (The special effects — for 1956 — are actually pretty impressive! :-) )

Watch the movie clip. Read the story (Exodus 14). Then pull out a couple blankets to use for parting the Red Sea and have a good time acting out this amazing account of God’s love and power. (This was one of our favorite act-outs when our kids were little!)


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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 22: Why

30DaysPs103Day22I hope you’re making progress on memorizing this psalm. If we can remember what God has done —  not just recall the facts but really sink these truths deep into our souls — it will transform the way we think and live.  Memorizing the psalm will help us remember it in a life-changing way.

Assignment: Pray for God’s continued work in your heart as you study this psalm. As we read Psalm 103 today, we’re going to look for some reasons — some explanations. The words because and for often alert us to a reason for what is being said in the text. Let’s look at some examples:

“We’re not going to play outside today because it’s too wet and cold. The reason we’re not going to play outside is — it’s raining (again :-( ).

Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Why will my lips praise God? Because His steadfast love (there’s that amazing word again!) is better than life.

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (What a wonderful truth!) Why can I lie down and sleep in peace, no matter what is going on around me? Because I’m not going to change a thing by lying there awake. The Lord alone makes me dwell in safety.

The word for doesn’t always introduce a reason. “In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help.” Try replacing the word for with the word because. The sentence doesn’t make sense anymore. So we’re not looking at a reason.

  • Read Psalm 103, watching for because and for. Circle these words with a black pen or pencil (or you can pick a more exciting color, if you prefer :-) ) In the ESV, I found three appearances of the words. (NIV and NASB readers may only find two.)
  • When you have finished reading, go back and look at the words that precede each of those circled words. In your notebook, copy the thoughts that precede each because or for and also the words that follow, circling the for in your notes as well.

Why will God not always chide? Why will He not keep His anger forever?

Why does He not repay us as our sins deserve?

There’s our answer, right there behind the for, in verse 11 and then continuing on into verse 12. His amazing, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love really doesn’t stop. It really doesn’t give up. It doesn’t break. It’s always been and always will be. And it’s bigger and stronger and more powerful than any sin we ever have or ever will commit. It will prevail. 

God will chide us if He has to, but He keeps right on loving and He doesn’t stop forgiving. When we try to walk away from that love, He pursues us. If we keep up our fight, He may let us eat the fruit of our rebellion for awhile, but He’s still there, still watching, still ready to take us into His arms the moment we turn back around.

He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve because His steadfast love is just too big for that.

And besides, He has removed our sins — or at least the guilt of our sins. (We’re stuck doing battle with the remnants of our sin nature for now.) He’s removed our transgressions from us, the ones who keep wanting to feel guilty about them.

The guilt is gone. So we can quit dredging it back up. God is satisfied. The debt has been paid. So He doesn’t need to deal with us as our sins deserve.

I have a hard time grabbing hold of this.

If this is true, Lord, won’t everyone just go out and sin up a storm and then claim your grace for forgiveness? Isn’t this steadfast love kind of risky, Lord? People are going to take advantage of You.

No. God knows what He’s doing (and He’s used to being taken advantage of). Let’s wrap up today by heading to Romans 6 and reading what Paul has to say about this question. (We’ll look at the other fors next week.) Read this chapter in Romans. Think about what we have been learning in Psalm 103. What kind of life has God called us to when He redeems us from the pit, crowning us with His steadfast love?

Pray again, asking God to help you understand and live these truths.

For your children:

Read Psalm 103:9-11 with your children. Talk about why God doesn’t treat us the way our sins deserve. Talk about God’s steadfast love that keeps on loving us.

If you own the children’s book The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown, this is the perfect day to read this with your children. This book is such a easy-to-grasp look at what God’s steadfast love is like. Read it, and discuss how it pictures God’s never-ending, always-pursuing love for us. 

If you don’t own the book, you can watch the pictures while Grandma Annii reads it aloud for you!

When you’ve finished the story, tell your children a story from your own life that gives testimony to God’s steadfast love and forgiveness.

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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 21: Paraphrase


Yesterday we looked for pictures in Psalm 103. We drew pictures. Today we’re going to sit down in the middle of those pictures in Psalm 103 and appreciate them.

Assignment: Pray for God’s guidance, and for the grace to truly believe all that He is showing us about Himself. Then read all of Psalm 103, not rushing, not thinking you already know what it says, but really listening to the words and giving thanks for the astounding blessings that are lined out in this psalm.

  • Then open Blueletterbible and head for Psalm 103:11. Open to the Interlinear for this verse. In your notebook, copy each of the phrases listed for this verse, leaving several lines of space between each phrase for notes.
  • Now click on for as the heaven. This word encompasses the heavens — the sky, the universe, the stars — and the heaven where God abides. Copy the definitions into your notebook.
  • Now return to the Interlinear and look at is high above. This word relates not only to height and distance, but to glory and exaltation. Copy these definitions.
  • Go back to the Interlinear again and click on so great. Here is a word rich with meaning. Record these definitions in your notebook.
  • Return to the Interlinear and click is his mercy. This word should be familiar! Here is that amazing, hard-to-define never-failing love of God again! Note these definitions and any other information you recall about God’s mercy. (You might want to refer back to your notes from Day 14.)
  • Now look at toward them that fear. (Remember, each time we want to leave the lexicon to look at a new word, we use the back arrow to return to the Interlinear.) This fear is not a terrified fear, but a reverence, respect for a just and holy God, a submission of our will to His, a desire to please Him, and a deep appreciation of His love. Get this into your notes.
  • Let’s try paraphrasing this verse as a way of putting together what we have learned from our brief word studies. (A paraphrase is simply a restatement of a text using different words.)
  • Rewrite verse 11 in your own words, incorporating as much as you can from the definitions you have been noting for each phrase. Your version will be longer — more like the Amplified Bible, if you’re familiar with that Bible — that expands on the meanings of the words.
  • When you have finished, read back over what you have written. Then contemplate. How is God’s steadfast love like the glory and endlessness of the heavens? What difference does this make in your life?
  • Copy your paraphrase onto a 3 x 5 card or post-it, or put it into the notepad on your smartphone. Reread it in the grocery line, at a stop light, in the bathroom.
  • While you’re still trying to comprehend all that verse 11 means, we’re going to do the same sort of thing with verse 13. Go to Psalm 103:13 and open the Interlinear for it.
  • Work your way through each phrase, recording definitions for each in your notebook. Be sure to stop and read Gesenius on the word pitieth to get a fuller picture of this word’s meaning.
  • If you have time, open Biblestudytools, search on Psalm 103:13, and then open Treasury of David to read Spurgeon’s description of a father’s compassion. A parent feels a unique and tender compassion for his child that is a picture of God’s compassion for His children.

I also found the third entry under “Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings” to be particularly helpful.

  • When you have gathered all your definitions, rewrite this verse in the same way you did verse 11. Incorporate what you have learned into an expanded version of the verse. Then make a copy you can keep with you or look at often. Meditate on it.

In what ways and in what different types of situations does a father show compassion to his children ? Does he just feel compassion, or does he actively show compassion through his actions? What kind of sacrifices is he willing to make for his children? How does a compassionate father respond when his child sins? And when he repents? In what similar ways does God show compassion to us?

How do verses 11 and 13 change the way you view God? How do they change the way you view yourself? Should they also change the way you relate to others?

This is probably enough to try to absorb in one lesson. Are you, like me, having moments, as we look at this psalm, of feeling completely overwhelmed by our Father’s goodness and grace? Are you feeling smaller and smaller in the presence of our infinite — but personal — God? Let’s soak up what we’ve studied today, and we’ll go back to verse 12 tomorrow.

For your children:

Work on memorizing the psalm today.

  • Get out the puzzle strips you made on Day 7 and use those to review.
  • Then start reciting around in a circle. The first person can say the first phrase of verse 1, the next person recites the second phrase. The next person starts verse 2, and the next finishes verse 2. Keep taking turns and see how far you can get without any glitches. Help each other out.
  • When you get stuck, start working on those verses until you can say them.

The goal is to have this entire psalm memorized by the end of the month. Kids have great memories. Other than the tiny ones, the rest of your children should be able to nail this, if you keep consistently working with them. Take one verse during a mealtime, and repeat it until it is memorized. Then move on to the next.

This is a psalm our children should have anchored in their hearts. So should we! :-)


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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 20: Comparisons

30DaysPs103Day20No7Time to pull out the colored pencils and pens again! Today we’re going to look at comparisons in this psalm.

Assignment: Read all of Psalm 103 after you have prayed for God’s guidance. As you read, watch for words that tell us a comparison is being made. Look for “as phrases” that are followed by “so phrases”. (See examples below.) Also look for the word like. Draw two diagonal lines through (or before) these words to signal that a comparison is being made.

Let’s look at some examples:

Psalm 127:4 says, As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth.”  Children are being compared to arrows in this verse.

Proverbs 12:18 says, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Rash words are being compared to sword thrusts.

  • Read all of Psalm 103, marking any words that signal comparisons. In my ESV, I found three pairs of as/so phrases, and two likes.
  • When you have finished marking, pull out your notebook and make a simple chart to organize your findings. Divide a page into three columns, with the left-hand column just wide enough to record verse references.
  • Go back to your Bible and take notes on each verse you have marked. Write the verse reference in the left-hand column of your chart, and the two portions of the comparison in the two other columns.

Looking back at one of our examples above, we would record Ps. 127:4 in the reference column, “Arrows in the hand of a mighty man” in the next column, and “children of the youth” in the right-hand column.

  • When you have finished filling in your chart, review what you have written. Think about each of these word pictures. They are images to help us understand and remember.

What is God saying about His steadfast love? Do we know where the heavens end?

Where is He saying He’s put our sins? If we start driving toward the western horizon, will we ever meet up with the eastern one? If we get on a ship and start sailing west, will we ever run into a wall or rope that says we’ve now met up with east?

What about God’s compassion? How does a father feel about his child? Is it different than he feels about others’ children? How does (or should) it influence how he treats his child?

What is He saying about man? What happens to a wildflower after a day or two in the sun and wind? How long does it “flourish”?

We’ll look at these verses again tomorrow. For now, let’s try something new.

  • While you continue meditating on these pictures David has “painted” for us, take your pens and pencils and draw some pictures. Don’t panic if you don’t consider yourself artistic. You don’t have to be. You can draw stick figures if you need to. The idea is to process these truths with another part of our bodies. Some of us will especially benefit from getting our hands involved as we interact with this psalm.
  • Let’s start with the comparisons you have recorded on your chart. In the margin of your Bible, or in your notebook if you don’t want to draw in your Bible, draw a simple picture to illustrate God’s steadfast love being bigger and higher and more awesome than the endlessness of the heavens.

30DaysPs103Day20No1Here’s how simple it can be for those of you that I can almost hear saying, “I can’t draw!”. (Never say can’t. ;-) ) Draw a little cross and put a circle on top of it. That’s you. Now draw a couple stars (or asterisks) above you, and some smaller stars above those, and some even smaller ones above those. If you want to get fancy, draw two eyes high on your head, like you’re looking up. That gets the idea across!

If you like to draw, of course you can get as elaborate as you’d like. I enjoy drawing a simple picture and then coloring it in with my colored pencils. It gives me time to think about the verse as I draw.

30DaysPs103Day20No6It’s also fun — and instructive — if the children are around, to let them watch, and even help color, if you’re that brave. (You might want to explain that this is a special exercise. It doesn’t mean we start drawing in all our books. :-))

If they watch you draw, they’ll probably ask you questions, which will give you the opportunity to explain what you’re studying.

My pictures, which I have chosen to draw directly into my Bible, are a sort of visual journal of my study, as well as memory triggers when I read the same passage again, or when I’m looking for a particular verse and can’t remember its reference. The pictures often lead me to the verse.

  • When you have finished illustrating all the verses you recorded in your chart, read back through the psalm one more time, stopping to illustrate other verses that lend themselves to illustration.

Give this a try, no matter how “un-talented” you think you are! Do it on a print-out of the passage, if you can’t bear to draw in your Bible. I think you’ll find that it really can help you meditate on and remember a passage better.

For your children:

Read Psalm 103:11-16 aloud and talk about the comparisons that are being made.

  • How is God’s steadfast love like the heavens? Pull out a book about outer space and the universe. Talk about how vast it is and how we have never found an end to it.
  • How far away has God put our sins? If you have a globe get it out and let someone fingers start walking east around the globe. Help them see how they can just keep walking and walking and always be heading east. (If you don’t own a globe, take out a ball and pretend.)
  • How compassionate is God toward His children? Does a father want to discipline his child? Does he love him and want to bless him and protect him from harm?
  • How long is man’s life compared to eternity? What happens to the wildflower in the field after a hot day of sunshine and wind?

Bring out paper and drawing supplies and have each child choose one of the verses from Psalm 103:11-16 to copy and illustrate. Encourage them to take their time on these pictures, and then post them where you can all see, appreciate, and think about them throughout the day.


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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 19: Not

30DaysPs103Day19Back on Day 6 we underlined verbs that described God’s actions. While we were doing that, we also marked negative words with a black X. We’re going to look at those X’s today and see what God doesn’t do and what He won’t do.

Assignment: Pray before you start your study, thanking God’s for His mercy, His grace, His patience, and His steadfast love, and ask Him to continue teaching you about Himself.

  • Search on Psalm 103:9 on Blueletterbible and click on the Interlinear tool.
  • Click the Strong’s number for chide and read its definitions.
  • Then skim the verses under “Concordance Results Using KJV”. Notice how the word is used in several different ways.

God won’t always contend or strive with us. He is amazingly patient and loving. But He doesn’t just look the other way when we choose to sin. He will contend when His holiness and love see our need for correction.

  • As we continue on to the last half of the verse, we see that God will “not keep His anger forever”. Why would God be angry if He’s forgiven us? Let’s take a look at some commentaries to answer that question. Take good notes that you can review at the end of our lesson.
  • Head to Biblestudytools, and search on Psalm 103:9.
  • Click on John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, then on “Psalms 103:9″. What does Gill say about this verse? Why does God chide?
  • Now use your back arrow to return to the commentary list and click on Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete).
  • Scroll down the page until you spot the blue “v.9″, then read Henry’s comments.
  • Finally, go back and click on Treasury of David to read Spurgeon’s always-helpful comments. It seems like there is always some special line in this commentary that needs to be copied into the margin of my Bible!
  • Be sure to also read the first comment under “Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings” (in Treasury of David).

Because God loves us with a zealous, loyal, fatherly love, He’s going to correct us when we stray. He’s going to discipline us when we rebel against Him and try to be our own gods. His anger is a holy anger that contends with the sin in our lives, because He knows we’ve been freed from it. This is a blessing that should lead us to praise and thank Him!

  • While you still have Treasury of David open, scroll to the bottom of the comments on verse 9 and click on “Psalm 103:10>” to read Spurgeon’s comments on that verse as well. I especially appreciated (and copied :-) ) this sentence:

We ought to praise the Lord for what he has not done as well as for what he has wrought for us; even the negative side deserves our adoring gratitude.

Even while God corrects, He is still merciful. He doesn’t stay angry, because He longs to show us compassion. Verse 10 states what is obvious in our lives — God does not deal with us as our sins deserve. He does not repay us as our sins require, because Jesus has already satisfied those requirements.

There’s so much to grab hold of in this psalm! Can we squeeze one more word study into this lesson? (I know this lesson is getting long, but I want you to see this for yourself!)

  • Open Blueletterbible, search on Psalm 103:10.
  • Open the Interlinear and click on nor rewarded. Record its Strong’s number and its meaning in your notes.
  • Now look at the Interlinear for verse 2. Click on the phrase not all his benefits. Does the definition look familiar?
  • Look at the Strong’s number for this word’s root word (in the box labeled “Word Root [Etymology]”). What is its Strong’s number?

These two words in verse 2 and verse 10 are two forms of the same Hebrew word. When I was doing my initial study of this psalm and saw the word recompense used to define benefits I was puzzled. I couldn’t figure out what to do with this word.

Recompense has to do with being paid in return for something. All the benefits I was seeing listed in this psalm didn’t look like the way should be repaid. They’re not the recompense deserve.

But that’s the whole point! We’re not getting what we deserve! We’re getting the payback for what Jesus has done! God is “repaying” us with a truckload of benefits! We need to remember this! God is not going to repay us as our sins deserve, because we have put our faith in Jesus and not in ourselves! Praise God!

  • Before you finish up, take some time to review your notes. Then read back over verses 9-10.
  • How should your thoughts and actions be affected by what Psalm 103:9-10 says God will not do?
  • How should the way you relate to your children be affected by the way God treats you? What can you learn from His example?
  • How should the way you relate to your children be affected by the way God treats them? (These verses apply to them, too!)

Put these questions into your thinking cap and chew on them today. There is a lot to contemplate in these two verses.

For your children:

  • Read Psalm 103:9-10 aloud for your children. Instruct them to cross their arms out in front of them every time they hear you read the words not and nor. Stop to write each phrase down on a blackboard or whiteboard, as they hear the word.
  • Then look at your list. What is God not going to do?
  • Talk about God chiding and being angry. Help them understand that this is a holy anger that doesn’t want us to hold to sins that Jesus died to free us from. God is eager to show compassion, and is showing compassion, even as He disciplines us, because it is for our good. He is healing us, as we learned in verse 3.
  • Talk about what our sins deserve, and contrast that with how God has chosen to bless us, in Christ. Remind them that these great blessings are a sign of God’s love for us. His love — and His holiness — should cause us to want to please Him. He’s done so much for us!
  • If you have come to the conclusion, as the result of your own study that you are not accurately portraying God’s patience and forgiveness before them — take the opportunity today to voice your repentance and ask their forgiveness. Ask them to pray for you as God continues to make you more like Jesus.



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Thirty Days in Psalm 103 for Busy, Busy Mamas, Day 18: The Lord Is . . .


Here we are, already on Day 18 and only on verse 6! We slowed down to really look at each word in the opening verses of the psalm. Now we have to move on.

David points out in verse 6 that God brings righteousness and justice to all who are oppressed. He is a helper — and avenger — for the helpless.

In verse 7 we are reminded that God has revealed Himself — another humbling gift from God — to Moses and Israel. The God who made and sustains the universe has chosen to reveal Himself to man! This is a truth that should cause us to rejoice and give thanks — and an honor that should send us running daily to His Word where He reveals Himself to us.

Let’s look at what God revealed about Himself to Israel and continues to reveal of Himself to us.

Assignment: Pray for the Holy Spirit to teach you today as God continues to show Himself to us through His Word.

Then slowly read all of Psalm 103, testing your memory of the verses as you read. Let’s focus on verse 8 today. What did Israel see when God revealed Himself to them?

  • With a blue pen or pencil, circle every adjective that describes God in verse 8. Write each of these in your notebook, leaving space for notes.
  • Then open Blueletterbible, search on Psalm 103:8, and let’s look at these words more carefully.
  • Click on the Interlinear tool, and then on the Strong’s number for is merciful. Here we see that the word means compassionate and is a word that is used almost exclusively for God.
  • To get a better idea of what this compassion looks like, scroll down to “Concordance Results Using KJV” and skim the verses. Notice what actions and attitudes are associated with God’s compassion or mercy.

What does God do because He is merciful?

What does He not do?

Who is the recipient of this mercy in most of the verses?

  • Use your back arrow to return to the Interlinear tool, and click on the Strong’s number for and gracious. 
  • The definition doesn’t give any new information, so let’s look at the root word for gracious. The upper portion of the lexicon is divided into four sections. In the lower right-hand section, you will see the heading “Word Root” (Etymology). This section tells us where the word we are studying comes from —  what “root” it “grew” from — and it often gives new insights into the word.
  • Click on the Strong’s number (H2603) in the “Word Root” section. This gives us a little more information. Being gracious has to do with showing favor or pity, much like another word for mercy that we studied in verse 4 on Day 14.
  • Use the back arrow to return to the lexicon entry for gracious. Read the verses for this word in the section, “Concordance Results Using KJV”. Notice how often merciful and gracious appear together in Scripture. Most of these verses are the same ones we read for merciful.
  • In your notebook, summarize what you have learned about the words merciful and gracious.
  • Go back to the Interlinear again to look at the phrase slow to anger. This word is actually composed of two Hebrew words, so we have two lexicon entries to read. Read about slow first.
  • The entry under Gesenius’ Hebrew Chaldee-Lexicon helps relate the word to the phrase slow to anger. Keep taking notes.
  • Skim the verses listed under “Concordance Results Using KJV”. This word is almost always speaking of being slow to anger, and except for its use in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, it speaks of God.
  • Back up to the Interlinear and look at anger. This is an interesting word! Gesenius will help us make more sense of the connection between nostrils and anger. 

We have one more word in verse 8 that describes God, and we’ve seen this word before. You should have a red heart drawn over it. This is the same Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love we are crowned with in verse 4!

  • Use your back arrow to return to the Interlinear. This time, instead of looking at the lexicon for mercy (as the word is translated in KJV), go to the top of the Interlinear box and click on the orange “Bibles” tab.
  • Read the different translations of this verse. Note the many different ways this last word in verse 8 is translated! This gives us a hint at how difficult it is to cram all that this word means into one humble English word! Refer to your notes from Day 14, if you need a review of this word’s meaning.
  • Look back over what you have learned about these four words that describe God. Then think about the Israelites’ story. In what ways did God reveal Himself to be this kind of God to His children? (If you have time, read Psalm 136. It is a beautiful tribute to God’s merciful faithfulness to His people.)

In what ways has God revealed Himself to be merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy to you? Take some time to think and pray about this today. Here is another great blessing to not forget, another great reason to kneel down and praise God!

It’s time to bring out one of my all-time favorite hymns, one that speaks of God’s great and faithful mercy. It was sung at our wedding. I want it sung when I’ve finished my course.

Great Is Thy Faithfulness:

For your children:

Today is a great opportunity to do some story acting!

  • Read Psalm 103:6-8 with your children. Discuss what the verses mean.
  • Now read Exodus 16 for the children (or listen to this dramatized version of it), and discuss God’s mercy and patience with the Israelites.. Then let the children act out the story. They can do this with costumes and props, or they can act out the story with Legos, Playmobil, dolls, and stuffed animals.
  • Take pictures. If any of your children are old enough, let them work with all your pictures later to create a picture storybook or media presentation.
  • When they’ve finished this story, see if they can think of other stories they can dramatize about the Israelites and God’s mercy toward them ( Ex. 14, crossing the Red Sea; Ex. 17, water from the rock; Ex. 32, the golden calf; Num. 11, the people complain; Num. 13-14, the spies’ report and the people’s rebellion, etc.).
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