"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: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;
Who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee
with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that
thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s." -- Psalm 103:1-5.
This is a beautiful soliloquy of David’s. Sometimes when men speak to themselves,
they say very unwise things.
The rich farmer in the parable of Luke 12:16-21 said: "I will say to my soul,
Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be
merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of
He prepared for a future he didn’t have, and did not prepare for a future he did
have. Time had run out for him.
David, however, did not bless himself, but he blessed the Lord. He did not speak of what
he had, but Who he had.
The rich farmer of Luke 12 mistook his soul for his body. He spoke of his
creature comforts, but forgot his soul altogether.
David begins and ends this Psalm on the same note: "Bless the Lord, O my
soul." He appealed to his soul for no half-hearted devotion to the Lord, but "all
that is within me, bless His holy Name."
"No half-way measures does His grace provide," and we should not be content
with a half-hearted response to Him and "His great love wherewith He loved us,
even when we were dead in trespasses and sins."
"Bless His holy Name." Our Saviour has been given a
Name which is above every name. No name can compare with His Name among the sons of men,
for "there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be
saved" (Acts 4:12).
The Psalmist addresses himself: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all
His benefits." In this, he does not ask the impossible. He does not ask that he
remember all His benefits. "Many, O Lord my God, are Thy wonderful works which
Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to usward: they cannot be reckoned up in order
unto Thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered"
"When all Thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys;
Transported with the
view, I’m lost
In wonder, love and praise.
Ten thousand, thousand precious gifts
My daily thanks employ;
Nor is the least a thankful heart,
That tastes God’s gifts
We cannot remember all His benefits, for He daily loads us with them, but let us
not forget them.
John Newton had this text hung on the wall of his study: "Thou shalt remember
that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee" (Deut. 24:18).
He did not want to forget, nor should we.
"Oh, that we never might forget
Christ has suffered for our sakes,
To save our souls and make us meet
Of all His glory
The Psalmist speaks of five primary blessings that he received from his Redeemer.
Notice that they are all stated in the present tense, for they are present and perpetual
realities for every child of God:
(1) "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities." His grace is greater
than all our sins. The Lord Jesus prayed on the Cross: "Father, forgive them, for
they know not what they do." That prayer is effective for both past and present
ransomed saint of God be saved to sin no more."
The believer in Jesus is fully covered, for "through this Man is preached unto
you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things,
from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:38-39).
(2) "Who healeth all thy diseases." I heard an esteemed brother in
Christ say: "I most certainly believe in Divine healing. I believe that the Lord
heals from every sickness except the last (death)."
However, the Scripture shows that death itself is a servant in God’s employ that
delivers from every possible disease. When death calls believers from this world, they are
forever beyond any and every disease encountered here, for "to be absent from the
body is to be present with the Lord. To depart and to be with Christ is far better."
We are then forever beyond sickness, sighing, stress, suffering, sin, etc., and only
grace and glory are ahead.
(3) "Who redeemeth thy life from destruction (from being a waste)."
A life lived for self is a waste. Judas considered Mary’s sacrificial gift to
Christ—that alabaster box of very precious ointment—a waste; but the Lord called him the
son of perdition (waste), and said: "It were good for this man that he had never
been born." He had missed the meaning of his very existence.
(4) "Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies." Truly,
the Lord is good, and doeth good for His people. Like as a father pities his children, so
the Lord pities them that fear Him. David testified of the Lord: "Thy gentleness
has made me great."
It is the Lord’s tender, loving care that crowns each day, each year with His
goodness. "‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me
home," is the language of the Lord’s redeemed people.
(5) "Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed
like the eagle’s." He satisfies the longing soul. He is the living Bread
that came down from heaven so that men might live forever. He declares: "I am the
Bread of Life; he that cometh to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall
It is not enough to admire the Bread of Life; we must eat to live. The Lord Jesus said:
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the
mouth of God." Jeremiah testified: "Thy words were found and I did
eat them, and they were unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart" (Jer. 15:16).
For food to satisfy, you must make it your own, by choosing it, and by chewing
it. As we feed on the Word of God, we are kept perpetually young, for "though the
outward man perisheth, the inward man is being renewed day by day." By feeding on
Him, our youth is renewed like the eagle’s; and we will mount up and up to
enjoy sweet communion with our Lord in the heavenlies.
"Thither by faith we upward soar,
And time and sense seem all no more;
strength to run our pilgrim race,
We gather from His throne of grace."
PRAISE TO JESUS
Jesus, the sinner’s Saviour,
Jesus, the saved one’s friend,
Jesus, whose mighty favour
Shall keep us to the end:
Jesus, High Priest in heaven,
He bears us on His heart;
By God to Jesus given,—
Who us from Him shall part?
Jesus, our faithful Shepherd,
He watches o’er His sheep;
From lion, and from leopard,
His own He safe will keep:
How tenderly He careth!
How well He knows our names,
And in His bosom beareth
The weakest of His lambs!
We hear the Bridegroom telling,
"Behold, I quickly come!"
O joy! All thought excelling,
He’ll take us to His home!
To see His face all-glorious,
To hear His long-loved voice:
By Him o’er all victorious,
Oh, how should we rejoice!
All praise to Thee, our Saviour!
We glory in Thy Name;
Our boast is in Thy favour,
Our songs Thy worth proclaim:
E’en in this vale of sorrow,
We’ll sing, as on we roam;
But, oh, the glad tomorrow!
We’ll be with Thee at home!
... James G. Deck