With some passages of Scripture, in order to “pick up” what the Spirit of God is “laying down,” you need to lean in and really dig to find the morsels. But with other passages, you are, in a sense, “spoon fed.” With those portions of God’s Word, it’s less about trying to find something to chew on, and more about trying to digest all that’s presented. Psalm 103 is one of those “spoon feed you” type of passages. The application . . . the response . . . the “command to obey” is pretty clear . . . “Bless the Lord!” . . . or if you’re a NIV reader, “Praise the Lord!”
Not too complicated . . . but oh, what a high and lofty calling . . . to join with angels, heavenly hosts, and all creation . . . to summon up and garner from within my inner most being . . . to draw upon all that is within me . . . to bow the knee . . . and bless the Lord! But some days, honestly, I don’t feel up to the task . . . sometimes “all that is within me” doesn’t seem like all that much . . . and, it doesn’t feel like I can spare any. Yeah, but that’s where the psalmist’s approach and the rest of this wonderful song come into a play.
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 . . . (Psalm 103:1-2 ESV)
Within those two verses is the grand theme and the divine approach for David’s song to his soul. David commands his soul to bless the Lord . . . it’s not a suggestion . . . it’s not an optional feature . . . it is an imperative . . . that from his inmost being and with all that is within him, he should bless the Lord. And, David provides us with insight on how to “prime the pump.” First, refocus on His holy name . . . second, reflect on His mighty works.
Not to craft a “worship formula” or anything, but I do think that at the essence of worship . . . at the heart of soul-sourced, all that is within me, praise . . . is the fresh appreciation of who God is and what God has done. Too often we can skim over “His holy name” and jump right to “all His benefits” . . . but in combination they take the weary soul . . . the depleted worshipper . . . and replenish the “well of praise” from the “Fount of every blessing”.
His holy name . . . the essence of who He is . . . He is the Lord of righteousness and justice (103:6). In His name, His glory is revealed . . . He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love (compare 103:8 with Exodus 33:18 and Exodus 34:5-8). He is the God of immense compassion for He knows our feeble frame and remembers that we are dust (103:13-14). By the very nature of His eternal being, the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting (103:17). He rules and reigns on high and His kingdom is over all — His throne established in heaven (103:19). This is our God! This is His holy name! This is His person! Oh, bless the Lord, O my soul!
And then, there’s all His benefits . . . His wondrous works. Check out 103:3-5 . . . He forgives all our iniquity . . . He heals all our soul diseases . . . He redeems our life from death and destruction . . . He crowns us with His steadfast love and overflowing mercy . . . He satisfies us with good things . . . He renews our strength.
How great is our God? How mighty are His works on our behalf? How wondrous are all His benefits? How amazing is His grace? Pretty great! Pretty mighty! Pretty wondrous! Pretty amazing!
Some mornings I just need to be spoon fed.
Bless the LORD, O my soul . . .