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.
One of the things that is often found lacking in our lives is our blessing of God. In this psalm here, the psalmist urges himself: “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” (Ps. 103:1-2). Take note that the psalmist is not praying, “Bless my soul, O Lord.” Instead, he prays, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” We know that when God blesses His people, it means God conferring prosperity and joy upon them by His divine favour. But what does it mean to bless God instead of God blessing us? It simply means that we ought to praise and thank God for His goodness and mercies. The psalmist has reminded himself of the importance of blessing God in his life.
To bless the Lord stems from a PERSONAL desire within us. It is not dependent on the crowd that you are with. When we reflect upon God’s goodness in our lives, our natural response is to bless God. But the sad thing is that we hardly have any time to do any reflections in our lives. Often, our lives just rushes on. The year which passed seemed like yesterday, and the year to come will soon be passed too. When we live such a hectic life, eventually we will find life empty and meaningless. But if we do make time to ponder and to reflect over the goodness of the Lord in our lives, then we find that life is filled with purpose – and our purpose is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Blessing God does not come naturally. Like the psalmist, we must constantly remind our own soul to bless the Lord.
Not only that, but blessing God also demands ALL that is within us. It demands our whole-heart participation. It is not only the mouth that blesses God but the heart and the mind must also be synchronized in its praise of God. We cannot praise God with our mouth while our heart is far from God. Our praise for God will be worthless if we do not engage “all that is within us” in this work. Praising and glorifying God involved the work of both our inward being and our whole being.
My friends, have your soul been blessing God lately? Or have you filled your souls with bitter complaints against God? Perhaps, you may feel that life is not great and has lost its meaning and purpose. You cannot bring yourself to bless God. But ponder for a moment the blessings which Lord has bestowed upon you. You will realize that you are never short of one blessing; you are not short of one benefit. For in Christ Jesus, God did not withhold His blessings. He gave us His All. He gave us His best. He gave us His only-begotten Son to die on the cross for our sins. Your sin was nailed and the cross. You no longer stand condemned before God. A full atonement for sin was made, a full pardon was granted, and full salvation is offered freely. This demands that we should not hold back in our praising and glorifying of God. The love of Christ constrains us and demands us to bless the Lord with ALL that is within us. Let us learn to echo: “I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore” (Ps 86:12).
Yes, we can render blessing unto God when we remember the benefits which God has bestowed upon us. The psalmist directed us to “forget not” His benefits. Thereafter, he listed five things which will do us well to bring to remembrance; of which I have listed four on the next page for your consideration.
First, God is the one who forgives all our iniquities (Ps. 103:3) – not just some of them, or many of them, but ALL of them! God forgives us our sins when we turn to Him in repentance. The Bible promises: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1Jn. 1:9). Though we have sinned against God; yet, every time we repent of our sins and confess them before the Lord, seeking His forgiveness, we have this assurance that He will surely forgive us and remember our sins no more. This is the basic promise of the new covenant which God made through our Lord Jesus Christ: “16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 10:16-17).
Second, the psalmist noted that God also heals all our diseases (Ps. 103:3). Our physical body is not designed to live forever. The body we now have is temporal and will see corruption. In our physical body, we will face various factors that would result in its degradation – be it illnesses, aging, and so forth. We can pray and ask God for temporal healing of diseases in life. In God’s infinite wisdom and sovereignty, He will grant healing according to His purpose. However, the healing would be temporal for eventually, we will still die. But there will come a time when our body will no longer die but will be transformed into an incorruptible and immortal body at Jesus’ return. This is the Christian’s blessed hope in Christ Jesus.
Third, God is the one who redeems our life from destruction (Ps. 103:4) – He will deliver us from the destruction of hell. For those who do not believe in God, there will come a time where they will need to stand before God in judgment and will be thrown into the lake of fire to be burnt forever. This is the second death. But to those who have professed their faith in Christ, God will redeem them from this eternal damnation. They will be saved from the wrath of God to come. They will be delivered from the second death. Instead of facing judgment, they will be drawn to heaven to be with the Lord forever and ever. The psalmist noted that this is all due to the mercy of the Lord: “8The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:8-12). How wonderful is such words to know that the God we believe in is a merciful and loving God!
Finally, God is the one who is able to satisfy our needs (Ps. 103:5). The Lord is able to provide us with what is sufficient unto the day. Truly, we have no lack when we put our complete faith and trust in Christ. But many thought that they could find satisfaction in the things of the world. These often leave them hungry for even more. The greed for money can never be quenched by having more money. Instead, it will only whet your appetite for even more. Only Jesus can satisfy our spiritual and physical needs. He declared, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). My friends, have you drunk of the living water and eaten of the bread of life? You can, when you come before the Lord and put your faith and trust in Him today. Only Jesus can satisfy our deepest needs!
God is indeed good and worthy of all our praise. So, let us learn to bless the Lord and forget not His benefits!