1 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 not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
(Psalm 103:1-12, ESV)
Sunday after Sunday, we come to here to attend our service, knowing and expecting that we will be worshiping the Lord. We start with the exhortation to worship, and find that during and after the exhortation, our desire to worship has become more intensified compared to the desire we had before being exhorted to worship. The singing of praise and worship songs comes next, and again, we might feel that we become more engaged in worshiping the Lord as we cry our hearts out through the lyrics of the songs. This goes on through the preaching, as we hear and learn truths that draw us to God.
Brethren, our worship of God becomes more intensified when we remember who God is. As we bring to our minds truths about Him, we realize just how great He is and how lacking our worship is, and respond by worshiping Him even more.
Let us follow the example in the psalm that we have just read where we see the psalmist praising the Lord for His mercy and grace.
He begins by calling upon his inmost being, the whole of himself, to praise the Lord (v. 1). He continues in verse 2, again saying, “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” and adds another instruction: “and forget not all His benefits.” The psalmist then remembers the blessings that he has received from the Lord.
First, God forgives all our sins (v. 3). This is foremost when remembering the grace and mercy of the Lord, because this solves man’s separation from God. Without the forgiveness of sin, man will remain under the wrath of the Lord and will never experience the blessings that God gives to His children. The Lord forgives not just once, but every time we turn to Him to confess and repent of our sins. Second, God redeems us from all the consequences of sin (v. 4). Remember our first memory verse? “…the wages of sin is death…” The Lord not only forgives our sins. He also removes the ultimate consequence of our sins—eternal damnation in hell. Third, God provides all our needs (v. 5). He blesses us with what we need and more.
After remembering the blessings that he has received, the psalmist continues by remembering what the Lord has revealed about Himself. The Lord is righteous and just (v. 6, 7). He demonstrated this when he redeemed Israel from Egypt in the time of Moses. Here we see that the Lord is not silent about who He is and does not leave us guessing. He makes Himself known through His Word and His moving in the lives of His children. Because of this, we get to know the attributes of God and the commands He has given, teaching us how we should live lives that would glorify Him. In addition, it is comforting to know that the Lord is not only righteous and just, but is also rich in mercy and grace (v. 8-12). There is no question that He has forgiven His children of their sins and redeemed them from eternal destruction, but believers living on this earth are still prone to sin. However, when they stumble and fall into sin, He is not angry forever. He deals with it, for He is righteous and just, but He deals with it not according to what they deserve, but according to His mercy and grace.
If you are a believer, then you have every reason to worship God today. You were a sinner even before you were born. Your being cute and adorable as a baby were no excuse—you were still under the wrath of God. However, sometime in the past, God redeemed you. He transferred you from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. He forgave all your sins—all of them; not partially, but completely. You became a child of God because His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, having no sin at all, died on the cross and rose again to pay the penalty of your sins.
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
You are not here on another Sunday just to sit around. You are here to worship the Lord—not halfheartedly, but with all that is within you. Remember that He saved you and called you His child, but He did not stop there. Because in every single day that comes, His blessings—His benefits, He gives.
This was originally written as an exhortation for worship on Psalm 103:1-12 by Juro Malazo and has been shared at Guiding Light Christian Church Dagupan.