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Rev. Dick is pastor of the First Protestant Reformed Church of Lacombe, AB, Canada.

“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….”

Psalm 103:1, 2

This psalm is about one who, blessed of God, blesses God.

The psalmist lists numerous benefits of God towards himself, and then towards the church. He stirs up his soul to praise this God. He calls the church and all creation to join in the praise. His firm belief: God is worthy of such praise.

And indeed the church believes the same thing. The church, blessed of God, blesses God. She is a people called out of darkness into the marvelous light of God to show forth His praise. This is her psalm. Praising God is her life. Praise is her purpose. Praise is her privilege.

The psalmist and all the people of God recognize, however, how forgetful we can be. We forget God. We forget His benefits. How amazingly incongruous this is. How utterly ungrateful we can be. We forget our Savior. We delight not in our salvation. We live, and yet we do not live our true life of praise.

Concerned as he is to live the true life of praise, as is becoming a child of God, the psalmist stirs up his soul to be revitalized in the praise of God.

Here in this inspired Word is the way for us, too, to be stirred up….


We want ourselves in our souls to bless the Lord! We want to be as the psalmist! We want our love for the Lord to be rekindled, and then ever burning hot! But how?

First, notice that the object of attention and of praise is the Lord Himself. Even in recounting the benefits of the Lord, the child of God rejoices not first of all in what he gets, but in the God who gives. The Lord is on his heart. This is the reason praise is on his heart.

Who is this Lord? He is God. He is the Creator God. He is above all things, they being merely the works of His hands. He is holy. He is perfect in all His being, virtues, will, and works. He is, in a word, beautiful beyond compare.

Praise begins and is fired by such a humble and reverent consideration of such a God!

But then we praise our God also because He is for us, and because He gives us great benefits. And we know that this God is for us for He has a name, the psalmist declares, a name which means He is our Savior God.

What is this name? His name is Lord, that is, Jehovah! And this Jehovah God reveals His name to us in the Person of His Son who comes in the fullness of time. The name above every other name is given to us: the name of our Savior God in the flesh — Jesus the Christ! The God who is for us is with us in Jesus who died, and is risen, and ascended on high for us.

We bless Him! Because in and through that very name Jesus we are blessed!

Such wonderful blessings — the blessings of salvation! We are saved from sin, and unto fellowship with God. We are forgiven, declared to be innocent. We are sanctified, healed and being healed of the disease of sin. We have life, eternal life. We have hope in the life to come in glory.

But more: Jehovah works to benefit us in all our life. Everyone in our life is for our good. Every circumstance is to enrich us. Every trial, wonderfully, is sent for our profit.

And all this because of mercy — unmerited mercy. Mercy is the fount of all the other benefits!

Why are we saved? Not because we are worthy. But because of mercy: grace to help the helpless in their need. As the psalmist says, because the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy … He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

Why are we saved from such a great depth of guilt and depravity? Because, as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear him.

Why are we kept in that salvation of God, though we sin over and over again? Because the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him…!

Blessings untold! Blessings from on high from our great God and Father. Blessings in Christ Jesus! Blessings given in mercy!


So then: Bless the Lord!

Praise Him! That is how we are to “bless” the Lord. Bend the knee towards Him, your Maker, Redeemer, and covenant Friend! Show you are chosen of God for this praise! Declare that mercy has visited you, and you will now open the shutters of your inner life and herald the honor of the Savior God!

Bless the Lord, O my soul! By self-conversation, exhorting myself, by faith, I will stir up my sleepy soul to praise.

Soul-praise! This means that praise is personal. A child of God is stirred in his own soul to praise, or he is no child of God. He delights to praise God. He would not let others do it for him. True, he will call others to praise God with him, but never to praise God for him. He will have the pleasure. He will bend the knee. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Soul-praise! This means that praise begins in the inner man. It involves the whole person, but from the inside out. Praise is outward, to be sure. It issues forth in words and in deeds of praise. But it is inward first. True, God-pleasing, God praising religion begins in the heart, the mind, the soul, and thus involves the thoughts, desires, emotions … all that is within us. So we say: Gather together, O thoughts, be disciplined, O will, be moved for one thing, emotions: bless the Lord!

Soul-praise! Two times in our text the psalmist exhorts himself to this. This is because true praise is fervent. The soul must not be only partially aroused. The fire must burn hot.

Soul-praise! To be true, it issues in the soul inviting others to praise: all the hosts of the Lord, all His works in all places of his dominion. True praise takes us to the neighbor, and even to the ends of the earth to tell all of this great Savior we have, and of His great benefits.


Praise! And forget not your God and His salvation!

Remember the blessings of God … to you, O undeserving soul! Remember His benefits to you in your sickness and in your health, in your poverty and in your wealth, in your single life, or in family life. Remember! God is good … to you! Count your many blessings, one by one!

This is the psalmist’s exhortation to himself, and ours to our own selves.

And how needed.

We still have a powerful, depraved nature. And the world, in its worldliness, would hinder our praise by tempting us to forget God and leave off praise.

So we often think on earthly things. We easily forget the spiritual. We have a natural spiritual dullness and drowsiness which we must fight constantly. We cherish so little the priceless treasures of salvation. We ruminate so easily and so corruptly about evil things. We find ourselves more easily praising ourselves or others than the living God of our salvation.

And how little we really want to talk even to our own selves about our problem. We do not want to face the inevitable conclusion to which honesty and humility would lead us: “I have been apathetic, uncaring for and unmoved in my soul by the covenant mercies.” “I have forgotten my God and His benefits to me….”

So the need for the summons to self: Awake, O my soul! Turn to God, O my soul! Repent, O my soul! Bow down, O my soul! Praise the Lord, O my soul!

So the need, then, for grace. For what sinner can wake up himself?

O our God: awaken us by Thy grace! Tune the harp strings of our inner man that our whole life may be in harmony with thee! May Thy Spirit speak, and stir the soul!

O my soul, bless the Lord! And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Rev. Dick is pastor of the First Protestant Reformed Church of Lacombe, AB, Canada.

“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….”

Psalm 103:1, 2

This psalm is about one who, blessed of God, blesses God.

The psalmist lists numerous benefits of God towards himself, and then towards the church. He stirs up his soul to praise this God. He calls the church and all creation to join in the praise. His firm belief: God is worthy of such praise.

And indeed the church believes the same thing. The church, blessed of God, blesses God. She is a people called out of darkness into the marvelous light of God to show forth His praise. This is her psalm. Praising God is her life. Praise is her purpose. Praise is her privilege.

The psalmist and all the people of God recognize, however, how forgetful we can be. We forget God. We forget His benefits. How amazingly incongruous this is. How utterly ungrateful we can be. We forget our Savior. We delight not in our salvation. We live, and yet we do not live our true life of praise.

Concerned as he is to live the true life of praise, as is becoming a child of God, the psalmist stirs up his soul to be revitalized in the praise of God.

Here in this inspired Word is the way for us, too, to be stirred up….


We want ourselves in our souls to bless the Lord! We want to be as the psalmist! We want our love for the Lord to be rekindled, and then ever burning hot! But how?

First, notice that the object of attention and of praise is the Lord Himself. Even in recounting the benefits of the Lord, the child of God rejoices not first of all in what he gets, but in the God who gives. The Lord is on his heart. This is the reason praise is on his heart.

Who is this Lord? He is God. He is the Creator God. He is above all things, they being merely the works of His hands. He is holy. He is perfect in all His being, virtues, will, and works. He is, in a word, beautiful beyond compare.

Praise begins and is fired by such a humble and reverent consideration of such a God!

But then we praise our God also because He is for us, and because He gives us great benefits. And we know that this God is for us for He has a name, the psalmist declares, a name which means He is our Savior God.

What is this name? His name is Lord, that is, Jehovah! And this Jehovah God reveals His name to us in the Person of His Son who comes in the fullness of time. The name above every other name is given to us: the name of our Savior God in the flesh — Jesus the Christ! The God who is for us is with us in Jesus who died, and is risen, and ascended on high for us.

We bless Him! Because in and through that very name Jesus we are blessed!

Such wonderful blessings — the blessings of salvation! We are saved from sin, and unto fellowship with God. We are forgiven, declared to be innocent. We are sanctified, healed and being healed of the disease of sin. We have life, eternal life. We have hope in the life to come in glory.

But more: Jehovah works to benefit us in all our life. Everyone in our life is for our good. Every circumstance is to enrich us. Every trial, wonderfully, is sent for our profit.

And all this because of mercy — unmerited mercy. Mercy is the fount of all the other benefits!

Why are we saved? Not because we are worthy. But because of mercy: grace to help the helpless in their need. As the psalmist says, because the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy … He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

Why are we saved from such a great depth of guilt and depravity? Because, as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear him.

Why are we kept in that salvation of God, though we sin over and over again? Because the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him…!

Blessings untold! Blessings from on high from our great God and Father. Blessings in Christ Jesus! Blessings given in mercy!


So then: Bless the Lord!

Praise Him! That is how we are to “bless” the Lord. Bend the knee towards Him, your Maker, Redeemer, and covenant Friend! Show you are chosen of God for this praise! Declare that mercy has visited you, and you will now open the shutters of your inner life and herald the honor of the Savior God!

Bless the Lord, O my soul! By self-conversation, exhorting myself, by faith, I will stir up my sleepy soul to praise.

Soul-praise! This means that praise is personal. A child of God is stirred in his own soul to praise, or he is no child of God. He delights to praise God. He would not let others do it for him. True, he will call others to praise God with him, but never to praise God for him. He will have the pleasure. He will bend the knee. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Soul-praise! This means that praise begins in the inner man. It involves the whole person, but from the inside out. Praise is outward, to be sure. It issues forth in words and in deeds of praise. But it is inward first. True, God-pleasing, God praising religion begins in the heart, the mind, the soul, and thus involves the thoughts, desires, emotions … all that is within us. So we say: Gather together, O thoughts, be disciplined, O will, be moved for one thing, emotions: bless the Lord!

Soul-praise! Two times in our text the psalmist exhorts himself to this. This is because true praise is fervent. The soul must not be only partially aroused. The fire must burn hot.

Soul-praise! To be true, it issues in the soul inviting others to praise: all the hosts of the Lord, all His works in all places of his dominion. True praise takes us to the neighbor, and even to the ends of the earth to tell all of this great Savior we have, and of His great benefits.


Praise! And forget not your God and His salvation!

Remember the blessings of God … to you, O undeserving soul! Remember His benefits to you in your sickness and in your health, in your poverty and in your wealth, in your single life, or in family life. Remember! God is good … to you! Count your many blessings, one by one!

This is the psalmist’s exhortation to himself, and ours to our own selves.

And how needed.

We still have a powerful, depraved nature. And the world, in its worldliness, would hinder our praise by tempting us to forget God and leave off praise.

So we often think on earthly things. We easily forget the spiritual. We have a natural spiritual dullness and drowsiness which we must fight constantly. We cherish so little the priceless treasures of salvation. We ruminate so easily and so corruptly about evil things. We find ourselves more easily praising ourselves or others than the living God of our salvation.

And how little we really want to talk even to our own selves about our problem. We do not want to face the inevitable conclusion to which honesty and humility would lead us: “I have been apathetic, uncaring for and unmoved in my soul by the covenant mercies.” “I have forgotten my God and His benefits to me….”

So the need for the summons to self: Awake, O my soul! Turn to God, O my soul! Repent, O my soul! Bow down, O my soul! Praise the Lord, O my soul!

So the need, then, for grace. For what sinner can wake up himself?

O our God: awaken us by Thy grace! Tune the harp strings of our inner man that our whole life may be in harmony with thee! May Thy Spirit speak, and stir the soul!

O my soul, bless the Lord! And all that is within me, bless His holy name!