January 2 – Daily Devotion – Psalm 103:2

Psalm 103:2

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.

The proper response to divine favours received is a personal commitment to bless the LORD. Thankfulness leads the beneficiary to worship the Giver, who is the LORD. In the previous verse, the psalmist has already exhorted his soul twice to bless the LORD; and now a third time he says, “Bless the Lord.”  The repetition denotes the earnestness of his desire to express His gratitude. Besides, he stirs up his soul to employ itself in grateful worship of the LORD. The worship of the Lord must rise from the inner man. It is a soul-work. Jesus reprimanded those who engaged in lip-worship. Citing Isaiah, He said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15:8; Cf. Is. 29:13; Ezek. 33:31). No worship exists when the heart is not sincerely and earnestly employed in praising the LORD.

In Deuteronomy 8:10-14 the LORD warned Israel against forgetting His benefits – “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God …”

Recollecting and recognising the LORD’s help, guidance, rebuke, promises, spiritual blessings, physical provisions, strength, hope, etc. will provide genuine impetuses for the worship of His name. Grateful emotions make the soul to yearn to bless the LORD. Recognition of the Lord’s blessings in his life caused a psalmist to cry out, “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people” (Ps. 116:12-14).

In order to mould oneself to be a better worshipper of the LORD, one should awaken his memory of the benefits he received from the LORD. Our memory is like a large storehouse. Recollection will bring to present awareness those things stored up in the memory, producing powerful passions of gratitude and worship in our hearts.

January 1 Daily Devotion – Psalm 103:1

Psalm 103:1

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

This is the first line of a psalm of praise, which glorifies the Lord for all His gracious blessings upon His servant, David. The object of praise in this psalm is the LORD; and that is clearly set forth right at the beginning of the verse, when it says, “Bless the LORD.” The LORD is worthy of our praise at all times. As Psalms 145:3 tells us, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised” (Cf. Ps. 48:1; 96:4; 147:5).

What does it mean to say “Bless the LORD”? When the LORD “blesses” us, He mercifully bestows upon us His goodness. But when we “bless” God, we add nothing to Him, for He lacks nothing, and needs nothing from us. Our blessing the LORD is a grateful acknowledgement that He is the source of all our blessings. When we joyfully recognise and exclaim that the LORD had done great things for us and praise Him for His blessings, we bless the LORD. Each of His children must say, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Ps. 34:1; Cf. Deut. 8:10; 1Chr.29:20; Neh. 9:5; Ps. 16:7; 26:12; 34:1; 103:1-2,20,22; 104:1; 115:18; 134:2; 135:19-20).

The psalmist’s commitment to worship and praise the LORD is revealed in his self-exhortation, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” Furthermore, he summoned all his powers and passions to praise the LORD, saying, “And all that is within me, bless his holy name.” A genuine worshipper would employ his heart, his mind, his emotions and all his strength to render praises to the LORD.

Twice, in this verse, the psalmist urged himself to bless the LORD. Such reiteration would help the believer to avoid slothfulness or negligence that would prevent him from worshipping the LORD wholeheartedly. He fortified his self-exhortation to bless the LORD by citing another solemn reason for the worship of the LORD, namely, the fact that the LORD is holy. So He said, “Bless His holy name.”

It is most reasonable that we bless the LORD, for He is Holy. Before the LORD, who is holy we must bow in humble and solemn prostration. Like the Seraphims, the angelic hosts that surround the heavenly throne, we must worship the Lord saying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Is. 6:3). Psalms 99:5 also teaches us, “Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.”