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Psalm 103: Bless Yahweh

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Psalm 103:1–5 LSB
Bless Yahweh, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless Yahweh, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

Bless the Lord?

What is a blessing?
“Oh, bless your little heart.”
“Bless you” after a sneeze
“God really blessed our time together”
Pronounce a Blessing vs. Pronounce a Curse
The ancients knew and remembered something we don’t.
There is real power within words.
“Well duh…
We know this:
In a non-supernatural sense, words have the power to hurt or heal others emotionally.
But there is a supernatural reality to words too.
The Psalmist is referencing both the non-supernatural and the supernatural.
Non-supernatural = Praise, speak good of, and provide good to.
“That kind word you said really blessed me”
Supernatural = Invoke good and positive favor.
Isaac to Jacob
Genesis 27:28–29 ESV
May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”
Non-supernatural - Speak ill of and express disgust towards.
Supernatural - Invoke evil and pain upon.
Job’s wife: “You should curse God and die”
When the Bible says, “bless God” it is saying “praise Him, speak good about Him, acknowledge His Glory”.
The reason it doesn’t involve invoking some type of good or positive thing is because God is the source of all good and positive things… Therefore, it is impossible to call upon that type of favor for Him.
So the Psalmist, when he says: “Bless Yahweh” he is saying…
Praise Yahweh, speak good about Him, Acknowledge His glory!
The Psalmist is calling us, not to just speak a blessing of God, but to…

Bless All Of Yahweh with All Of Ourselves

Psalm 103:1 ESV
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
May I speak and think favorably toward Yahweh within the very deepest parts of who I am. May I understand his nature and character as good and believe it to be the truest thing that I know!
Not just for show. Not hypocritically. But from the core of my being at every moment and every day.
Not just on Sundays or at an FCA meeting.
Psalm 103:2 ESV
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
God deserves to be blessed by the very nature of who he is: Good, holy, awesome, all powerful.
But, Here, the psalmist is about to start showing us that our reason for blessing isn’t just based on who God is, but also on what he does for us.
In a way, he’s saying…

We bless God because he first blessed us.

Now, these benefits were for the people of Israel. How they came about and manifested is sometimes different than how they manifest this side of the cross.
Psalm 103:3 ESV
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
For the Israelites, experiencing famine and disease was a result of their disobedience and sin. When they abandoned their covenant with Him, God in turn would allow these things to happen to them.
When they repented, he would forgive them and restore them. Which would include healing.
We have the gospel promise that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection we now have forgiveness of sins and promise of resurrection from the dead.
Psalm 103:4 ESV
who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
“who redeems your life from the pit”
God consistently rescued His people when they were in rebellion and sin. He made them clean and glorious after they made themselves dirty and loathsome.
“Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy”
To crown meant not just to put a hat on someone, but to envelop them completely into something.
A crown represented the fact that the king had complete authority and power. The king would be crowned which symbolized them being bestowed with the keys to their kingdom.
So, Yahweh is being said to bestow upon his people his “steadfast love and mercy”. It’s completely envelops them. They are completely submerged in it.
This is a fierce love. A love that kills the grave. A love that forgives the deepest and darkest of betrayals.
Psalm 103:5 ESV
who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
God gives us what is most beneficial to us. He provides us with what it takes to satisfy us.
Ultimately, what really satisfies the soul is God Himself.
The Eagle was seen as a symbol of strength and dignity.
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