Psalm 103: 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 do not forget all his benefits — 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy…
This is such a beautiful passage from the psalms. It begins with glorifying God “bless his holy name”. Then the passage speaks of God’s “benefits” to his people in verse 3, which include forgiveness, healing, and redemption. Finally there is the image of a coronation. When I think of a coronation I think of a person of royal lineage receiving a crown of gold and precious jewels upon her head.
I recently watched the Netflix series “The Crown” which tells the story of Queen Elizabeth as she grows from a young girl to Queen of England. It’s fascinating stuff, even if it is mostly fiction. Of course, Elizabeth was born into a family that was groomed to rule. She was born a noble and will die a noble.
The contrast with the coronation image in Psalm 103 is striking to me. The psalm is attributed to David, who grew up a shepherd boy – not a royal. In many ways David never forgot that as evidenced by the humility of the passage. David knows the benefits of God because he has received them. Then there is the final verse of the passage, “…who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy”.
There is no gold in this crown. There are no jewels or precious stones. The crown most dear to David is the crown of steadfast love and mercy. It’s a crown received, not high up on a throne, but down low with one’s face in the dirt. It’s a crown received in this life and carried into the next.
Lord, thank you for your steadfast love and mercy, lavished upon us your children by your grace. Amen.