Have you ever counted your blessings?
Have you thought about the blessings in your life?
Yesterday, as my family prayed together, I counted my blessings: my employment, my health, my family, my families health, our home, etc. The list was long, but meaningful.
This morning I reconsidered my list of blessings. Our car, our dogs, our air conditioner… But all of these are material blessings… So, this morning, I thanked the Lord for the blessings that are immaterial: listening to my wife defend the gospel, watching my 13-year-old daughter share her faith in public with other kids, and talking with my son about why he wasn’t allowed to partake of the Lord’s Supper with the church. These blessings blessed my soul!
The Lord blesses me physically and spiritually, but how do I bless The Lord?
This is what the psalmist was answering in Psalm 103-
Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
The psalm begins and ends with the psalmist exclaiming to his soul, “Bless The Lord!” The rest of the psalm is filled with describing The Lord: His character, His mercy, His patience. The psalmist even interrupts this description to preach to the angels to bless The Lord.
When we consider blessings, we often focus on the material, but when we bless God we have nothing material to give Him. The Lord is not in need. He is the One who provides and gives. He creates and forms. We cannot fill a void, because He has no void,
So how do we bless the Lord?
What this psalm says is that when we speak of God’s goodness and greatness in truth, we bless The Lord.
The key, of course, is to not speak from the intellect, or the mouth alone. To bless The Lord we must speak from the soul.
In chapter 12 of the gospel of Mark, Jesus teaches about the character and person of God. Jesus teaches that God is consistent; God demands allegiance and obedience to His Word. The religious rulers of the day challenge this through hypothetical situations to argue that it is not possible to know God, much less to bless Him. Listen to Jesus’ reply in Mark 12:29-30,
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
Jesus is quoting the Old Testament passage of Deuteronomy 6:4-7, The Great Shma
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Jesus says that blessing The Lord with just the mouth, or just the mind is hypocrisy – it is not enough. If we are to bless God it must be with our whole person, it must be with our soul.
Remember Jesus’ warning in Matthew 15:8, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me”. The psalmist understands the danger of offering lip service to The Lord who sees your heart and understands your motives. The psalmist knows that to bless The Lord it must originate in the soul; therefore the psalmist proclaims and commands his soul, “Bless The Lord!”
When you next attend worship services at your church, I invite you to join me in blessing The Lord with our soul. Let’s focus together on His greatness, His goodness, and demand that our soul join our mind, mouth, and heart so that we truly bless The Lord.
Pastor Dan | Psalm 46