July 25

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Psalm 103.1

The whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen. Luke 19:37

Bless – what does it mean to be blessed or to bless someone? When applied to God, the word “bless” means to praise – from a sense of gratitude and affection. With people, we often wish for a blessing, sort of a like a wish to be happy and have the stuff we want. After the exciting Lynx game last night I stayed to hear a rookie (at least in the USA) player talk about her experiences. One thing she said over and over was how blessed she was. She was grateful for the opportunity to play the US league after a career in Europe. No talk of how great she was, although that is why she has the opportunity, just ow blessed she was to be able to play a game she loves and do it with other great players.

Our verses today remind us that we are to praise God and bless Him for all that He has done for us. What might be some of these blessing that we have received and are grateful for? Attributed to King David, Psalm 103 has a list that follows verse 1: forgiveness of sins, healing of disease, redemption from the pit, a crowning of love and compassion. Plus God “satisfies our desires with good things”, and renews our youth. Wow, that is quite a list of wonderful things and that is just what He has done and keeps doing for us as individuals.

The rest of Psalm 103 continues on with a list of all the things that have been done for the people as a whole. Including things like justice for the oppressed, and compassion for all people and love as a father for his children. Certainly this is worthy of praise. God did not just create the world and all that is within it and then retire from the scene. Rather He is actively involved, both as a personal God and Savior for us as individuals, and for people as a whole. The Psalm tells us to praise God with all that is within us, all of our heart and mind, our affections and our emotions. Much like the great commandment of Jesus to love the Lord our God with all of our heart and mind and soul and strength, our entire self is to be involved.  

Luke recounts the praises that are heard from the disciples, a whole multitude of disciples, as Jesus enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. There Jesus is, riding on a donkey which was obtained by a couple of His disciples. This would look like an ordinary person, not someone you would think was so worthy of praise. But multitudes are there, putting palm branches and cloaks on the road, and praising God. There is so much joy that it would be impossible not to be praising God loudly. Just like a crowd happily cheering on their team, this would seem to be what we are supposed to do. Praise loudly and cheer on our Lord and Savior.

Lord, every part of every day is a new occasion to praise you with thanksgiving for your endless gifts. To the One worthy of all praise and adoration, help us to join with the disciples and all the saints, singing and shouting joyously to your glory! Amen

Chris Gabel