November 7, 2013
READ: Psalm 103
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name (v.1).
Have you sung Matt Redman’s inspiring song, “10,000 Reasons”? It begins, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul, worship His holy name. Sing like never before, O my soul. I’ll worship Your holy name.” Matt said he based the song on Psalm 103, which lists many and various reasons to bless the Lord. The New International Version and New Living Translation translate Psalm 103:1 as “praise the Lord,” but the Hebrew literally says, “O my soul, bless the Lord.” Do you wonder what that means?
To bless means to bestow good on someone, which is why you can’t read too far in the Old Testament without someone begging the Lord for His blessing. Abraham pleaded with God, “May Ishmael live under your special blessing!” (Genesis 17:18). Jacob battled Esau over the blessing and clung to the divine wrestler, insisting that “I will not let you go unless You bless me” (32:26). These saints knew that God’s blessing was the secret to their success, for only God could open wombs, shut out enemies and guarantee a huge crop. God’s blessing could make even Job’s situation tolerable, and after his test “the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning” (Job 42:12).
We understand how God blesses us by giving us good things, but how can we bless God? What good could we possibly add that He doesn’t already have? Only one thing: reputation. Psalm 115 says that when the nations ridicule the Lord, saying, “Where is their God?” (v.2), we respond by blessing (the Hebrew term in v.18) the Lord for His countless blessings on us. And so we make His name great.
God blesses us by conferring good things; we bless Him by praising the good we see in Him. Want to add to the fame of the Lord? Sing “10,000 Reasons” again, this time with feeling. —Mike Wittmer
Read Matthew 6:9-13 and consider what it means for the Father’s name to “be kept holy”.
What have you said or done today that has added to the fame of your heavenly Father? What have you said or done that has diminished His glory in the eyes of some?