January 1, 2023

Psalm 103:1

Written by:
Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy


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" (Isa. 6:3). Psalms 99:5 also teaches us, "Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy."

Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church adheres to the system of faith commonly known as the “Reformed Faith” as expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.
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