Summary: A study of Psalm 103
Bless the LORD, O my soul:
Bless means to make someone happy, make someone enviable, and to make someone prosperous. When we worship and honour the Lord we actually make Him happy, enviable and prosperous. Sounds absurd doesn’t it? There is Almighty God, totally self reliant and self sufficient, and yet we can somehow better Him. It is totally ridiculous, but it is also totally true.
How can this be? Well, of course, God is “joy”. But we increase that joy as we allow Him to make evident His Fatherhood over our lives. Already happy, we increase it in the same way as a parent delights in his obedient children. When you worship God you put a huge smile on His face. When you obey His word you also make Him happy. Isn’t that just so awesome and amazing? Here I am, merely a mortal man. A man who has, in the past, been an awful sinner. And yet astonishingly, I can make the Lord God Almighty happy by my good behaviour. As I surrender to His will in my life He rejoices. And he knows how to rejoice. The Bible implies that he throws a party over one sinner that repents. The picture we have of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is one of a massive celebration for the victory of the Son of God and His beautiful bride. God looks at us, even now, and sees a worthy bride for His Son. He is truly delighted in the choice that Jesus has made. Is that hard to believe? But it doesn’t make it any less true. And, as is the Hebrew custom, it is the Father of the Groom who supplies the bride with beautiful wedding garments, precious jewels and gorgeous perfumes. The Father has made us look good as we wear the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness. He has removed the awful stench of sin and replaced it with the rich aroma of purity. He has then adorned us with gems to make us, already perfect in His sight, even more astonishing.
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
We are to be deliriously happy in what we have gained by being united to the living Christ. Worship and praise should “all-person” worship. In other words every part of me should be involved. I should be celebrating; spirit, soul and body. Sometimes I might be silenced because I am awestruck at the absolute brilliance of who God is and what He has done. At other times I will be like David who danced before the Lord with all his might. And remember that when David was confronted by Michal, he responded to her by implying that his worship and praise was not yet everything that it should be. He implied that he was still a learner.
Worship is both personal and corporate. There is something very special about God’s church coming together in worship. It brings an anointing which breaks bondages in some and calls others up to higher ground. It was as the people worshipped and ministered to God that the Lord was able to call Paul and Barnabas into a great area of ministry. (See Acts 13:1)
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Benefits mean “blessings”. As you bless Him you remind yourself that the blessing came initially from Him anyway. We love Him because He first loved us. Years ago we sang the old hymn, “Count your blessings, name them one by one.” It was a real classic. And classically it became weak because we abused it. Having sung the hymn the pastor would ask us to name some of our blessings. It was silly because the blessings were usually totally trivial. Actually when you begin to remember all His benefits you should scarcely get past the first one. “In His family!!!!! In His family!!!!!” Just think: You are a child of Almighty God. A child of the King of kings. Think about it. Now, you can shout, jump, sing or sit in silence. (As we British say, we are gob-smacked, or there is nothing else to say is there?”)
But David does us the favour of listing some of His blessings in our lives. Every one of them should stop us in our tracks and make us think.
Who forgives all your iniquities;
This is difficult for those who are judgmental. I know He freely forgives me all my iniquities, but I sometimes find it extremely hard to believe that He forgives you for all of yours! And sometimes these sins are very similar. My immorality is easily forgiven, but you have to pay an extra price. I can manipulate people, but you must never, ever do it. My rebellion is out of a good heart, yours is from the spirit of wickedness. No. This simply does not do it. We need to remember that all sin was awful. And the Lord could not easily forgive it. He could create the heavens and the earth in six short days with just a few words, but He could not forgive your sin with words only. He had to give up His Son to shed His blood to pay the price for our sin. “The wages of sin is death..” You can rewrite it: “The wages of my sin was His death.”