2007-05-23 - Thankful Praise
Psalm 103:1-5, Praise the Lord, O my soul, all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
David starts off by stirring himself up to bless the Lord, and then gives a list of some of the things concerning which he is thankful. There are several things we can take from this, but maybe two shall suffice. The first gleaning we can gather from these verses is that we should bless the Lord for his kindness to us. The second observation we can make is that David blesses the Lord for specifics. One other matter we might notice, taking the Psalm as a whole, is that this Psalm ends as it begins, blessing the Lord. The last three verses of the Psalm end with all of creation joining in the praise of the Lord, and the conclusion rings as true in the end as it did at the start, "Praise the Lord, O my soul."
So the first matter we can glean from the Psalm is that we should praise the Lord. It seems like an obvious observation, but ask yourself, do you really give praise to the Lord? Do you really bless the Lord as you ought? Everyone will toss up their hands in frustration at this point, and admit that, of course, they don't bless the Lord as they should. We all could do better in this area, and that is true. All of us can improve in seeking to give thanks to the Lord for His mercies to us. However, what I have in mind here is a thankful heart. Do we seek, desire and even cultivate a heart that is thankful? Do we carry ourselves in our attitudes and demeanor as those who are thankful to the Lord? Only we know the propensities of our hearts, and even then, we may sometimes wonder. But we can discern, at least to some extent, the bent of our hearts. In our heart of hearts, we know the answer to these questions. We would all admit that we can grow in this area, but it is also true that we know, to at least some extent, if we are thankful to the Lord for His kindness to us, or if we are plodding through our lives resting in our own self-sufficiency.
The second item is that David gets specific in his thankfulness. He doesn't just thank the Lord for His mercies to him. Rather, he blesses the Lord for specific mercies. For David, the Lord is more than a God of love. For David, the Lord is the God who forgives all his sins, heals all his diseases, redeems his life from Hell, crowns him with love and compassion, satisfies him, and so on. David blesses the Lord for specifics. We should strive to do this also. Let us seek to bless the Lord for specific things that we are thankful concerning. There is much to be thankful about, even when we are struggling. Even when we struggle, we can be thankful for the Lord's sustaining mercies in our struggles. There is always something to be thankful about, and may we all say with our whole being, "Bless the Lord, O my soul".
Soli Deo Gloria,