“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.
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.
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.
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