Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Don’t Hold Back—Bless the LORD!

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)
’The Hebrew word for “bless” is barak. Directed toward God, barak means to kneel, to adore. To bless the Lord is to bow before Him, giving Him thanks and praise. It is an act of love.

David is the psalm writer here, and he is instructing his soul to bless the Lord with every good thing he has going for him: body and soul, life and all his possessions. They were all created for the purpose of praising and loving on the Lord.

Now notice how he instructs his soul to praise the Lord. “Forget not all His benefits.” The Hebrew word for “forget” means to ignore, mislay, or wither. To remember something is to mark it well, to keep it in your thoughts, in your heart. To forget something is to ignore it, to let it wither inside you. There are some things we ought to forget, but the goodnesses and kindnesses of the Lord are not among them.

David’s counsel to himself is to actively take up the gracious dealings of the Lord and give thanks for them — by name. Here is his list:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
  Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
  Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth [desires] with good things,
  So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
(Psalm 103: 3-5)
Notice the tense of these benefits. They are not past tense, they are ongoing. They are not just things God had done in the past, they are things David could always depend upon God to do. David was not simply thanking God for past faithfulness, he was praising God that it is His nature to be faithful, to forgive, to heal, to redeem, to bless, to renew. David was not just reciting his history with the Lord, he was laying hold of his future with the Lord. So there was an electricity to his thanksgiving which made it active and powerful. David was in a wonderful, ongoing covenant relationship with Yahweh, the Maker of heaven and earth.

So as you approach Thanksgiving, lift up your voice to the Lord and bless His name. It would certainly not be out of place for you to bow your knees before Him, even get down on your face before Him in adoration. Give yourself to Him with all your heart, all your life, all your possessions, all that is good within you (because it all came from Him in the first place).

Take the list of benefits David named and set them before your eyes. Establish them in your heart. They belong to all those who are in Christ Jesus. Bless God for them. Don’t hold back. Shout joyfully, dance exuberantly. Get loud and wild in your praise to God. As you do, the things of the Lord will certainly not wither inside you. They will thrive in your spirit, and His joy will strengthen and bless you.