Bless the Lord – Psalm 103 (week 2/part1)

Last week we learned about our call to bless the Lord. Taking our cues (and accepting our commission) from king David, Psalm 103 teaches that declaring blessing is a part of our image-bearing nature. We also learned that we’re to bless the Lord in both word and deed and that God is the One who defines how we do both.

Why Bless the Lord?

In this series, I want to walk through the “why” behind this call. As I said last week, the messages I share through January are meant to realign us for this new year. A lot is going on in our world, much of it will require our attention, but we need to make sure our foundation is Christ and blessing Him. 

So I want to begin today by reading Psalm 103 in its entirety, and then we’ll glean from the text. Psalm 103, these are the words of God.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, [bless] His holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; 3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion; 5 Who satisfies your years with good things, [So that] your youth is renewed like the eagle. 

6 The LORD performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness. 9 He will not always strive [with us,] nor will He keep [His anger] forever. 

10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 Just as a father has compassion on [his] children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are [but] dust. 

15 As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer. 17 But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, 18 to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them. 19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. 

20 Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word! 21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, you who serve Him, doing His will. 22 Bless the LORD, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion; bless the LORD, O my soul!” – Psalm 103:1-22

Commanded to Bless

I think we all know this, but it’s one thing to do something just because you’re told to do it—unquestioned obedience. The truth is that there will be many situations in life, probably most, where this is required. Situations where we don’t get to ask questions, we simply do as we’re told.

But it’s an entirely different matter to receive a command and know why you’re doing it. To be told “do this” and here’s why. You see, these moments are generally more manageable for me because I like having purpose to what I do—the “why” provides precisely that. And this is literally what we have with our call to bless the Lord. David has given us 22 verses of reasons to bless the Lord—22 verses answering the “why” question.

David has given us 22 verses of reasons to bless the Lord—22 verses answering the “why” question. #psalm103 Click To Tweet

Just a small disclaimer, though; we’re going to walk through this Psalm a bit out of order. We’ll still capture the meaning of the text, but we’re going to walk through it in a way that helps us keep our thoughts straight.

We will look at the first thing in the next post, the character of God as a “why” to bless Him. Who God is is crucial to praise. In our last post, we’ll observe the universal work of God as a “why.” This section is significant because it applies to all people everywhere. We’ll look at the personal works of God as a “why” for blessing Him. We’ll also look at David’s life and see what God did for him specifically. Afterward, I’ll challenge you to make a list of things that God has done for you personally so that you can remember to bless the Lord in the same way. Finally, I’ll wrap up by restating the connection between how we see God and our desire to bless His name.

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