I think every Christian has heard the phrase “Bless the Lord,” most likely in worship. But I think most of us never think about what it means. A quick look will tell you that it means to worship God, which is like a big “duh” stamp on Christians. But then, there’s another side to “bless the Lord” that we don’t really notice, in fact I’ve only heard one person ever talk about it. My worship pastor showed us something interesting about Psalm 103 that is enlightening and beautiful.
Here’s the first first in the NKJV: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!” It doesn’t seem that unusual, until you realize that “Bless the Lord” is a command. David, the master of worship, is telling himself to worship God. Worship doesn’t always come naturally, in fact, it almost never does. You’re in a bad mood, you don’t like the songs, or you just get caught up in stuff and forget. David didn’t care about how he felt; he was going to bless the Lord either way!
I think that’s actually encouraging: worship isn’t about what you feel; you’re not a bad person for not feeling up for worship. It’s about a choice to worship God despite your feelings. Some of the best prayer times I’ve had were when I didn’t want to worship God, but made myself do it anyway.
But isn’t that hypocritical? Isn’t that a lie? Actually, no, because the verse goes on. Verse 2 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” After that, David makes a long list of the Lord’s great qualities. David wasn’t saying “Fake it til you make it,” he was saying, “Remember why.”
For every “what,” a strong Christian must have a “why.” Whats without whys are dead and useless. David knew he had to worship God, and Psalm 103 was a reminder why that was true. Because God heals, forgives, redeems, satisfies, executes righteousness and justice, protects, reveals, on and on. Here’s the abridged version of Psalm 103: “I’m going to worship God no matter what because He is worth it.”
And every “why” needs a “how.” That’s what gets us riled up to give God his due praise: reliving the goodness of God in the world and especially in our own lives. This is where my strongest worship comes from, when I take a moment to remind myself of everything God has done to and through me.
- When I was weak and cowardly, he came beside me and made me strong.
- When I was heartbroken, he gave me a Wife of Good Character like in Proverbs 31.
- When I was lonely, he gave me friends.
- On a hot day, I prayed for a cool breeze–just as a joke, but I got one, as if God wanted to dote on me for no reason.
- Though I have been poor and in poverty, I have never missed a bill payment and never gone hungry. God has provided.
- I was trapped in chains of pornography, but God broke me free.
- Though my past tortured me, God taught me to forgive.
- When my car slid off a mountain, God stopped it just long enough for me to escape.
- When I lost something at night, I jokingly asked God to raise the sun. I tripped and fell and my flashlight was pointing right at what I was looking for. God has a sense of humor!
- When I felt worthless and unimportant, God called me by name and showed me what He saw in me.
- When I was broken down and exhausted, when I wanted to plunge a knife into my chest and just be done with it all, God stayed my hand and said, “I’m not done.”
Now I want to hear from you.
What “benefits” has the Lord done for you in your personal experience? What have you seen Him do? What character traits has he revealed about himself to you? Let’s remember those things together and inspire one-another.
Fill up the comments with your stories. Take as much space as you need. Read the comments of other bloggers and see God in new ways again. “Forget not all His benefits.” What has God done in your life?