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This Psalm is a jubilant song of joy and gratitude to the Almighty upon begin rescued from some life-threatening danger. In the first five verses, David addresses his soul, as it were, and instructs it to give praise to God for the many kindnesses He has performed. He admonishes his soul not to forget all the goodness God bestowed upon it, not to take for granted all the blessings that he enjoys (verse 2). David realizes the tendency for joy and excitement to fade, how often the gratitude people feel to God upon receiving a great blessing gradually begins to subside. He thus commits himself to always be thankful of God's assistance and deliverance, and never to take any of these blessings for granted.
Later, David elaborates on God's remarkable tolerance of our wrongdoing and His willingness to forgive. He makes reference in this context (verses 7-8) to the "thirteen attributes of mercy" which God declared to Moshe in the aftermath of the sin of the golden calf (Shemot 34:6-7). These "attributes" describe God's preparedness to treat us with kindness and compassion despite our sinful behavior, and His patient anticipation of our repentance. David here provides us with an explanation for the philosophy underlying God's willingness to forgive: "For He is aware of our inclination; He bears in mind that we are but dust" (verse 14). God, the Creator of every human being, understands more clearly than anybody else the frailties and weaknesses that are endemic to the human condition. He realizes the pressures and passions that often drive people to wrongful behavior, and thus allows us the opportunity of atonement through the process of Teshuva (repentance).
In the concluding verses of this chapter (verses 20-22), David exuberantly summons both the angels in the heavens as well as God's creatures here on earth to join together in giving praise to God. Despite our faults and shortcomings, God treats us kindly and compassionately as though we were flawless angels, and we are therefore invited to offer Him praise together with the angels. Even though "we are but dust," as David proclaimed earlier, and even though we might occasionally err, God nevertheless grants us the ability to rise to the level of angels and rejoin the ranks of His loyal and faithful servants.