August 18, 2021

August 18, 2021

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
August 18, 2021

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 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 mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Vs. 22) Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord O my soul!”

Psalm 103:1-5, 22

The psalm as you can see, is overwhelmingly focused upon blessing. That word bless is used seven times in Psalm 103. It begins by telling us to bless God for his goodness, for his greatness. That is what blessing is, you are acknowledging God’s goodness and his greatness. You could say the psalmist is talking to himself, he is preaching to his own soul to bless the Lord.

Martyn Lloyd Jones said, “Have you ever realized that most of your unhappiness in life really is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself.” I think that is a profound insight. What often happens when you get up in the morning? You generally have thoughts, don’t you? A lot of them are negative. You think of the schedule in front of you and things you have to do and there are some worrisome, anxious thoughts. I have often wondered, how active is the devil as soon as we wake up in the morning. He never takes a vacation but he certainly likes to inject wrong thoughts. It is easy to listen to your thoughts; we let them run over through our minds over and over again.

Martin Lloyd Jones is arguing that those thoughts, if we don’t deal with them, really do produce a lot of discouragement, depression and unhappiness. “Instead,” he says, “we need to talk to ourselves.” As you read through the psalms you find that is what they often do, they talk to themselves. Psalm 42 for example, he starts off talking to himself, “Why are you cast down O my soul?” Here in Psalm 103 he is talking to himself, he is telling himself that he needs to praise and bless God. Verse 1, “Bless the Lord O my soul and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” That is a good way to start off your morning, and you can start off a prayer meeting by praising and blessing God.

In Psalm 103 he gives three great reasons why we should bless God.
1. Bless his holy name. That word name isn’t like the way we talk about someone’s name. In Scripture it refers to the whole person, it’s reflective of God himself. We call upon his name. That means we are calling upon God, there is no other name under heaven by which men can be saved, that is the name of Christ. The name of God refers to all that God is, all his attributes, all his excellencies, his mercy, love, kindness, holiness and justice. So we are to bless God for being God; we are to bless God for who he is.
2. Forget not all his benefits. Benefits refers to everything that God gives us, every good thing that comes from above. A hymn that was quite popular and is titled, “Count your Blessings” went, “Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” The very fact that the psalmist says, “Do not forget his benefits,” seems to be a warning shot across the bow. As humans and as Christians we can forget his benefits.
Spurgeon said, “Memory is very treacherous about the best things.” The psalmist is telling us to remember the good, the gifts, the treasures, the blessings, the mercies. Notice that he focuses upon one great spiritual blessing in verse 3, the blessing of forgiveness. “Who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases.” That is the priority, not the temporal blessings, though we can certainly bless God for those, but spiritual blessings and forgiveness lies at the very heart of the gospel. Bless God, why? For who he is. Bless God for what he gives.
3. Verse 22, Bless the Lord all his works. What are the great works of God? Creation, we should bless God for creation, the things that God has made. We should bless God for providence, that is the work of God, and certainly the work of salvation.

There is so much for us as Christians to bless God for. From Psalm 103 we can bless God for who he is, we bless his name, we bless God for what he gives, his benefits, and we bless God for what he does, his works.