Psalm 103:1
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Sermons
A Pattern of PraiseS. Conway Psalm 103:1-5
Gratitude for Unbounded MerciesC. Short Psalm 103:1-5
A Song of PraiseC. A. South-gate.Psalm 103:1-22
A Song of PraiseMonday Club SermonsPsalm 103:1-22
A Song of PraiseG. F. Pentecost, D. D.Psalm 103:1-22
A Song of PraiseM. R. Vincent, D.D.Psalm 103:1-22
A Soul's Song to GodJ. Pearce.Psalm 103:1-22
Divine Goodness CelebratedJ. Burns, D.D.Psalm 103:1-22
Praising with the SoulPsalm 103:1-22
Sell-Exhortation to WorshipHomilistPsalm 103:1-22
The Christian's Gladness Deeply RootedC. G. M.Psalm 103:1-22
The Harp of the HeartT. L. Cuyler, D.D.Psalm 103:1-22
The Keynote of the YearPsalm 103:1-22
The Saints Blessing the LordPsalm 103:1-22
WorshipA. B. Bruce, D. D.Psalm 103:1-22
This psalm is all praise; there is no supplication in it. It has helped myriads to praise God, and the secret of such help is that the psalmist was himself filled with the spirit of praise, and it is the blessed contagion of that spirit that helps us today as in the days of old. And it is a pattern of all true praise. It is so in these ways.

I. IN ITS OBJECT.

1. It is praise of the Lord. All is addressed to him, and is for him.

2. And in his holiness. "Bless his holy Name." What a happy fact this reveals as to the psalmist and all who sincerely adopt his words! We can bless God for his beneficence and mercy and goodness, but only a holy soul can bless him for his holiness. Such soul delights not merely in the kind acts of God, but in the pure and perfect character of God.

II. ITS METHODS. It shows us how we should praise the Lord.

1. Personally. "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" It is not a work to be handed over to any choir or any people whatsoever. It is to be our own personal work.

2. Spiritual. It is to be the soul's work. Poetic speech, eloquent phrase, beautiful music, skilled song, - all count for nothing if the soul be not in the work.

3. Whole hearted. "All that is within me." Intellect, memory, imagination, affection, will, all the energies of our spiritual nature, should be engaged.

4. With set purpose. See how he calls on himself, stirs himself up to this holy work, repeats his exhortation and protests against that one chief cause - forgetfulness - of our failure to render praise. "Forget not any of his benefits." This is how we should praise the Lord.

III. ITS REASON. He tells wherefore we should bless the Lord.

1. For forgiveness. This our first necessity; all else avails not without that (cf. Mark 2:5).

2. For the healing of the soul. It would be but a poor salvation if soul healing did not follow forgiveness, for without the latter we should soon be back to our sins again (2 Peter 2:22). Therefore we need this healing of the soul. And it is promised (see Ezekiel 36:25).

3. For penalty in this life averted. He "redeemeth thy life from destruction." God does not redeem our life from all the consequences of our sin (Psalm 99:8), but from the worst he does. The forgiven man may have to suffer much in consequence of his past sins, but it is as nothing compared with what he would have had to suffer had he not been forgiven. The comfort of God's Spirit, power to witness for Christ, victory over sin, hope bright hope of life eternal, - all these are his; his life is redeemed from destruction.

4. For, next, God crowneth with loving kindness. See all this illustrated in the story of the prodigal son - forgiven, healed, redeemed, crowned, the ring, the robe, the shoes, the feast, were for him; and what answers to them yet is the crowning told of here.

5. For satisfaction with good. This also awaits us: would we but trust God more, we should know it for ourselves. They who walk with God, abide in Christ, know what it is. Let us not rest until we know it for ourselves.

6. For youth of soul renewed. (See homily on this subject.) The outward man may, will, decay, but the inward man shall be renewed day by day.

IV. ITS RESULTS. What a history it would be if we could only trace out what this psalm has done for God's saints in all ages! What spiritual victories it has won! what strength it has imparted! what holy joy! Christian, sing this psalm more heartily, so that many poor lost ones, hearing its sweet evangel, may turn and with you bless the Lord. - S.C.







The children of Thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before Thee.
I. HOW FAR A BLESSING COMETH ON THE POSTERITY OF GOD'S SERVANTS.

1. Good men do convey many temporal mercies to their relations; that is the least. God cannot satisfy Himself with doing good to the persons of His children, but He must do good to their relations; all about them fare the better for their sakes. A land fareth the better for them (2 Kings 2:12).

2. Where the parent is in visible covenant, the children also are in visible covenant with him as soon as born.

3. If they die in infancy, we need not trouble ourselves about their salvation. God is their God (Genesis 17:1); and that is all the best of us has to show for his right to heaven.

4. If they live, and betray the corruption of their natures, there is more hope of them than of others. The grace of the covenant runneth most kindly in the channel of the covenant (Romans 11:24).

5. Among them salvation is most ordinary, though God leaveth himself a liberty to take men of an evil stock. A rose may grow upon a thorn; a slip of an ill stock may be grafted into the tree of life.

6. They are not cast off till they do even wrest themselves out of the arms of mercy. Cain excommunicated himself (Genesis 4:16).

II. THE REASONS.

1. That He may show the riches of His grace, which reacheth not only to the persons, but to the families of those that love Him and serve Him. Grace, like a mighty river, will be pent within no banks, but overfloweth all that a man hath, all his relations.

2. Out of an indulgence to natural affection. God hath a son of His own, and He knoweth how He loveth Him, and is acquainted with the heart of a father, and he hath planted an affection in parents to their children. Love, like a river, is descensive.

III. HOW CAN WE RECONCILE THE PROMISE WITH EXPERIENCE, since the children of the servants of the Lord are reduced to great extremities, and are as naught and bad as others? I answer, The blessing is invisible for a great measure, and we want faith to interpret this privilege, as well as any other mentioned in the covenant. Sometimes their outward portion may be small, but, however, they are a holy seed unto God. We see the providence of God by pieces; for the present they may be in their natural condition, and the blessing doth not as yet break out in effects of grace, as it doth afterwards. We must leave the Lord to His own seasons.

IV. TO WHOM THE PROMISE WILL RE MOST EMINENTLY FULFILLED. There are some qualifications mentioned. All God's servants have their blessings, but these especially; as, namely —

1. The strict, and such as dare not offend Him (Psalm 103:17).

2. The just and upright. They abridge themselves of many advantages of gain which others hunt after. It is not lost (Psalm 112:2).

3. The merciful and charitable (Psalm 37:26). When we are urged to giving, you may object, What shall wife and children do? l answer, Give the rather; do something the more for every child, that the blessing may be entailed upon them; it is lent to the Lord, and it will be paid to your posterity: your children will not have a whit the less.

4. Those that are tender of God's institutions: the second commandment, that provideth for God's instituted worship, the sanction of it speaketh of blessings and punishments in the posterity, and deservedly.

( T. Manton, D.D.)

How blessed the assurance contained in this text; and if it might be understood literally, what encouragement would it afford to godly parents. But, alas! it is a lamentable fact that not a few of God's servants have to mourn, as Abraham once did, "Oh! that Ishmael might live before God." Those who are children of God by a second birth, and consequently the posterity of Zion, shall continue for ever, and their seed be established before God.

I. THE BIRTHS IN SUCCESSION. There is no real religion in existence but that which commences with the new birth. These births, which are in constant succession, conduct to grace privileges and to a glorious inheritance.

II. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF WHICH THE TEXT SPEAKS. The first thing which I would press upon your attention here is, that the true Church of God must continue on earth, "despite all the rage." We pass on just to remark of this establishment and perpetuity that the holy seed cannot die. Observe, further, that the experience of these established ones, and their establishment too, is supernatural. "Shall be established before Thee." Now, I wish to bring my own establishment, — for I claim to be an established Christian — to this test. Will it bear being brought before God?

(J. Irons.).

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Like stately pillars supporting a solemn temple, three noble psalms, placed side by side, exalt the glory of Jehovah: 103 glorifies the God of grace; 104 the God of nature; 105 the God of history. Each springs from a strong pedestal of adoration, and is crowned with a rich capital of praise.

I. THIS IS A PSALM OF HUMANITY. It is a true psalm of life; the experience of a throbbing human heart; born of the Holy Ghost, in travail of soul, amid the exigencies of weakness and sin, into the rapture of Divine compassions. All the darkness and evil of the world it knows, but suffers these only to enhance the richness of the life with God into which we move. This great achievement is won by finding out God.

II. THIS IS HUMANITY'S PSALM OF ADORATION TO GOD. We see His throne exalted, His kingdom stretched abroad; His angelic hosts above, His inanimate works, below, called upon to praise Him. His eternal power and Godhead, His everlasting years, are set before us in great majesty. Think rightly on God, and all that is within you will bless Him; and this will bless you. If our life had more praise, it would feel less drudgery. "Forget not," unworthy source of so much ingratitude, despondency, distrust. "Count your mercies."

III. A GREAT TRUTH AND A GREAT DUTY.

1. God offers the penitent a full redemption.

2. Accept this full redemption.

(C. A. South-gate.)

Monday Club Sermons.
I. THE OBJECT OF PRAISE. The living, not the imagined, the present, not the remote God, by His own inbreathings, called forth this tribute to Himself from a heart in which He dwelt. Sublime in His being, He is oftenest called Preserver, Judge, Father, King. In these several relations He is brought before us in this psalm.

II. THE PERSONS AND THINGS WHICH ARE SUMMONED TO PRAISE. The grossest confounding of body and spirit then prevailed; yet the soul was a term which all understood, though few could explain. This, the direct inspiration of the Almighty, would naturally be the first to perceive and respond to Divine favours. It is bidden, therefore, to express itself. The emotional, intellectual, and even animal nature may and must each offer Him its peculiar sacrifice of thanksgiving.

III. THE REASONS FOR PRAISE. The shower of good things had been so constant, that merely to mention some of them seemed to the enthusiastic singer to ensure within himself the response he sought. He accordingly rallies his own too sluggish soul to pour forth its meed of praise, mindful of the general blessings he had received. He was prone to forget them. All are. Ingratitude is fostered by abundance. Thanklessness is more than meanness. Themistocles sadly said of the Athenians, that when a storm arose, they sheltered themselves under him as under a plane tree, which when the weather was fair again, they would rob of its leaves and branches. So do the needy multitudes cry unto God, and helped, return not to give Him glory, save here and there a stranger. Nay, more; they selfishly use their benefits to deprive Him of that honour which is His due. It was just this sin against which Jehovah had cautioned Israel (Deuteronomy 32:15). And so, as if writing down the long list of gifts that he may count them, the psalmist would beget a fit return. This psalm has been called "a little Bible within the greater." It is a striking revelation of the being, character, and purpose of God. It is also a clear portrayal of the origin, doings, needs, blessings, and destiny of man.

(Monday Club Sermons.)

I. THANKSGIVING FOR PERSONAL BENEFITS.

1. Thanks for forgiveness and inward healing.

2. Thanks for redemption and glory.

3. Thanks for intermediate blessings.There is a long journey from the mouth of the pit of destruction, whence God has rescued us, to the gate of glory by which God will bring us in to receive our everlasting inheritance. On that way we are not left to our own resources. He gives us the supplies needful for the journey, and ministers the strength with which we may reach the end.

II. PRAISE TO THE CHARACTER OF GOD.

1. The righteousness and judgment of the Lord (Exodus 33:13).

2. The mercy and grace of God (Exodus 34:6, 7).

III. THE MEASURE OF GOD'S MERCY.

1. Heavenly greatness (ver. 11; Romans 5:20).

2. Infinite forgiveness (ver. 12).

3. Fatherly pity (ver. 13).

4. The shortness of man's day and the eternity of God's mercy (vers. 15-17).

5. A solemn reminder (ver. 18).

IV. A UNIVERSAL CALL TO PRAISE (vers. 19-22). Let us who have been forgiven, renewed in the inner man, redeemed from destruction, whose lives have been crowned with lovingkindness and tender mercy, take up the song of thanksgiving, and so, perchance, extend His mercies to those who are yet strangers to it, by setting forth His benefits as we have come to know them in our own experience.

(G. F. Pentecost, D. D.)

The singer of this melody, whoever he may have been, has left behind him the valley and has climbed to magnificent heights; yea, on the suburbs of heaven, he sings with impassioned ardour of the goodness of his God, and, finding his voice inadequate to give vent to his gratitude, he summons a goodly choir — the works of God, the ministers of God, the angels of God — to accentuate the joyful strains and to make His praise glorious.

I. A BLESSED EXERCISE. Some one has said that the Christian ought to be like a horse that has bells on his head: so that he cannot go anywhere without ringing them and making music. His whole life should be in harmony; every thought should constitute a note; every word he utters should be a component part of the joyful strain.

1. The psalmist is solicitous that his praise should be spiritual. It is his soul and not his lips he addresses. He wants nothing formal, mechanical, lifeless, spiritless.

2. The psalmist also arouses himself to unreserved adoration. "And all that is within me," etc. Our nature is a many-stringed instrument, and every string is to contribute its quota to the symphony. If the soul is to be the leading singer, then every faculty of our mental, moral, and spiritual being, like a united choir, are to render the chorus.

3. The psalmist also urges himself to personal adoration. "O my soul." He begins with himself, and, albeit he goes out from himself and seeks to engage others in singing unto God, he comes back and concludes his exhortation with himself as the subject. Let the trees clap their hands, let the ocean lift up its voice, etc. " Bless the Lord, O my soul."

II. A REASONABLE EXERCISE. In praising God, we perform one of the highest and purest acts of religion. In praise, we largely eliminate the element of self, and are like the angels in performing the unpolluted service of the skies.

1. There are national benefits.

2. There are social benefits. "God setteth the solitary in families." He has placed us together so that the cup of our life might be full. What a benediction is Home!

3. But better than all others, there are spiritual benefits of which we must take strict account. These are God's greatest gifts to us.(1) Forgiveness. Mercy comes to thee full-handed. Love abundantly pardons.(2) Healing. Eyes at one time blinded by the God of this world can now see the things eternal, ears afflicted with deafness can now hear the welcome sound of God's voice, hands once sadly paralyzed can now perform the glorious business of the King, feet which dragged from sheer impotency can now run on God's errands with joyous alacrity, and faces once wearing the ugly scowl of sin now shine with the beauteous smile of God.(3) Redemption.(4) Coronation.(5) Satisfaction.(6) Rejuvenescence.

(J. Pearce.)

Homilist.
I. WITH THE WHOLE SOUL. There are at least three immeasurable faculties within — intellect, imagination, conscience. All these should praise Jehovah, who is the True, for the intellect; the Beautiful, for the imagination; and the Righteous, for the conscience. Let all come out in praise, as all the powers of the harp come out under the touch of the master musician; as all the powers of the seed come out under the genial influence of the sunbeam.

II. FOR URGENT REASONS. "All His benefits."

1. Sin is an offence; and here is forgiveness.

2. Sin is a disease; and here is healing.

3. Sin is ruinous; and here is restoration.

4. Sin is a degradation; and here is exaltation.

5. Sin is discontent; and here is satisfaction.

6. Sin is weakness; and here is invigoration.

(Homilist.)

You see here a man talking to himself, a soul with all his soul talking to his soul. His own soul is the first audience a good man ought to think of preaching to. Indeed, if any man desires to excite the hearts of others in any given direction, he must first stir up himself upon the same matter.

I. THIS EXHORTATION IS REMARKABLY COMPREHENSIVE.

1. The unity of our nature is hero bidden, in its concentration, to yield its whole self to the praise of God. No white. washed sepulchres will please the Lord, — "Bless the Lord, O my soul," — Let the true Ego praise Him, the essential I, the vital personality, the soul of my soul, the life of my life! Let me be true to the core to my God; let that which is most truly my own vitality spend itself in blessing the Lord. My immortal soul, what hast thou to do with spending thine energies upon mortal things? Wilt thou hunt for fleeting shadows, whilst thou art thyself most real and abiding? Raise thyself on all thy wings, and like the six-winged cherubim adore thy God. But the words suggest yet another meaning, — the soul is our active self, our vigour, our intensity. When we speak of a man's throwing his soul into a thing, we mean that he does it with all his might. My intensest nature shall bless the Lord. Not with bated breath and a straitened energy will I lisp forth His praises, but I will pour them forth ardently in volumes of impassioned song.

2. But, then, David speaks of the diverse faculties of our nature, and writes, "All that is within me bless His holy name." The affections are to lead the way in the concert of praise. But the psalmist intended next to bestir the memory, for he goes on to say "forget not all His benefits." Recollect what God has done for you. Thread the jewels of His grace upon the thread of memory, and hang them about the neck of praise. For mercies beyond count, praise Him without stint. Then let your conscience praise Him, for the psalm proceeds to say, "who forgiveth all thine iniquities." Conscience once weighed thy sins and condemned thee; now let it weigh the Lord's pardon and magnify His grace to thee. Let thy emotions join the sacred choir, for thou hast many feelings of delight; bless Him "who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies," etc. Is all within you peaceful? Sing some sweet pastoral, like the twenty-third psalm. Let the calm of your spirit sound forth the praises of the Lord upon the pleasant harp and the psaltery. Do your days flow smoothly? Then consecrate the dulcimer to the Lord. Do you feel the exhilaration of delight? Then praise ye the Lord with the timbrel and dance. On the other hand, is there a contention within; does conflict disturb your mind? Then praise Him with the sound of the trumpet, for He will go forth with you to the battle. When you return from the battle and divide the spoil, then "praise Him upon the loud cymbals: praise Him upon the high-sounding cymbals." What-ever emotional state thy soul be found in, let it lead thee to bless thy Maker's holy name.

II. THIS SUGGESTION IS MOST REASONABLE. The Lord has given innumerable blessings to every part of our nature; all our faculties are the recipients of blessing; therefore should they all bless God in return. Every pipe of the organ should yield its quota of sound. As all the rivers run into the sea, so all our powers should flow towards the Lord's praise. To prove that this is reasonable, let me ask one single question: — if we do not devote all that is within us to the glory of God, which part is that we should leave unconsecrated; and being less unconsecrated to God what should we do with it?

III. IT IS NECESSARY. It is necessary that the whole nature bless God, for at its best, when all engaged in the service, it fails to compass the work, and fails short of Jehovah's praise. All the man, with all his might, always occupied in all ways in blessing God, would still be no more than a whisper in comparison with the thunder of praise which the Lord deserves. Do not, therefore, let us insult the Lord with half when the whole is not enough. Jesus Christ will have of us all or nothing; and He will have us sincere, earnest, and intense, or He will not have us at all.

IV. IT IS BENEFICIAL.

1. It is beneficial to ourselves. To be whole-hearted in the praise of God is to elevate our faculties. Consecration is culture. To praise is to learn. To bless God is also of preventive usefulness to us; we cannot bless God and at the same time idolize ourselves. Praise preserves us from being envious of others, for by blessing God for all we have, we learn to bless God for what other people have.

2. It is also useful to others. You cannot do good more effectually than by a happy consecrated life, spent in blessing God. If there be anything that is cheerful, joyous, dewy, bright, full of heaven, it is the life of a man who blesses God all his days. This is the way to win souls. We shall not catch these flies with vinegar, — we must use honey.

V. All this is PREPATRATORY. If we can attain to constant praise now, it will prepare us for all that awaits us. We are harps which will be tuned in all their strings for the concerts of the blessed. The tuner is putting us in order. He sweeps his hands along the strings; there is a jar from every note; so He begins first with one string, and then goes to another. He continues at each string till He hears the exact note. The last time you were ill, one of your strings was tuned; the last time you had a had debt, or trembled at declining business, another string was tuned. And so, between now and heaven, you will have every string set in order; and you will not enter heaven till all are in tune.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

David sounds the tuningfork with this clear note — "Bless the Lord, O nay soul."

I. THE BLESSED OCCUPATION. How, then, can we bless God?

1. God blesses us by thinking well of us, and we bless God by thinking well of Him. Think deeply of what the Lord has done. Do not pass His mercies over superficially, but look into them. Do not cease to think of the covenant of electing love, of everlasting faithfulness, of redeeming blood, of pardoning grace, and all the ways in which eternal love has shown itself.

2. We also bless God when we wish Him well. Sit down and wish that all men knew God, that all men worshipped Him; and let your wishes blaze up into prayers. Wish that all idols were abolished, and that Jehovah's name would be sung through every land by every tongue. Wish well to His Church, His cause, His people, and all that concerns His glory.

3. You can bless God by speaking well of Him. Have you said anything to praise God to-day?

4. Bless His name by acts and deeds of holy service and consecration Do it with hand, and purse, and substance, and sacrifice.

II. THE COMMENDABLE MANNER mentioned. Half the virtue of a thing lies in the way in which it is done. Now, in the service of God, it is net only what you bring, but in what spirit you bring it.

1. That mode of blessing God to which we are called is very spiritual — a matter of soul and spirit. The music of the soul is that which pleases the ear of God: the great spirit is delighted with that which comes from our spirit. A heart that praises Him has within itself all the harmonies that He delights in. The sigh of love is to Him a lyric, the sob of repentance is melody, the inward cries of His own children are an oratorio, and their heart-songs are true hallelujahs.

2. When we bless God, the sacred exercise should be intense. Let every part of your manhood be aroused, and so aroused as to be in fine form. Give me a man on fire when God is to be praised. Let "all that is within me bless His holy name." A whole God, and a holy God, should have the whole of our powers engaged in blessing His holy name."

3. The text seems to remind me that we ought to do this repeatedly, because in my text the word "bless" occurs twice. "Bless the Lord, O my soul: bless His holy name." And in the next verse there is "bless the Lord" again. He is a triune God: render Him triune praise.

III. THE SACRED OBJECT OF THIS BLESSING — JEHOVAH. I adore the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God that made the heavens and the earth. I worship the God that cut Rahab, and wounded the crocodile at the Red Sea, the God that led His people through the wilderness, the God that gave them the land of Canaan for a heritage. "This God is our God for ever and ever. He shall be our guide, even unto death." "Bless Jehovah, O my soul." Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, we worship Thee; we bless Thee! Do you love a holy God? While you bless Him for His mercy, do you equally bless Him for His holiness? You bless Him for His bounty, but do you feel that you could not thus bless Him if you were not fully aware that He is perfectly righteous? "Bless His holy name." Aye, when that holiness burns like fire, and threatens to devour the guilty, let us still bless His holy name! When we see His holiness consuming the great Sacrifice, we bow before the Lord in deep dread of soul, but we still bless His holy name. An unholy God! It were absurd to think of such a thing; but a thrice-holy God — let us bless and praise Him.

IV. THE SUITABLE MONITOR. Who is it that says to David, "Bless the Lord, O my soul"? Why, it is David talking to David. The man speaks to himself.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

This psalm is a type of intelligent thanksgiving — an expression of sanctified emotion based upon sanctified thought. We see at once how this true emotion is distinguished from mere formal thanksgiving by the words, "all that is within me" — words which appeal to the very deepest feelings of the heart. But we also notice how, as so often in Scripture, a caution is associated with the highest devotional feeling at the point where one in the ardour of holy rapture forgets for the moment that he is a sinful man in a sinful world: "Bless the Lord, O my soul! yet, my soul, thou art weak and fallible, and prone to forget these very mercies which are calling forth thy praise. Forget not all His benefits." It is with blessings much as with troubles: few people, comparatively, have great catastrophes in their life, and few have great, colossal joys. There is only the daily succession of little, commonplace pleasures, and we foolishly get into the way of attaching little importance to anything which is not of the nature of a crisis. Go back over your life and pick up the happy times — the day your little child began to walk; the day your boy graduated with honour; the many evenings you have come home tired and have found rest, and light, and warmth, and pleasant words at home; how many happy hours over a book or in conversation with a friend. These, after all, are the benefits which make up the staple of our life. They seem to be little blessings, perhaps because they are so common, yet if we number all God's benefits we shall find the sum of them very great. The psalmist specifies certain causes for thanksgiving; and the first of these is very significant — the forgiveness of his sins. And rightly, because this is essentially the first fact in all thanksgiving, and is therefore the key not only to this psalm, but to the whole great lesson of Christian thankfulness. Having thus laid this spiritual foundation for a true thanksgiving, the psalmist now passes to mention temporal mercies, yet, possibly, all along with an undertone of spiritual meaning. God healeth all diseases, redeemeth the life from death, ministers to the healthful appetite with good things, makes His child strong and vigorous as the eagle. The association of these benefits directly with God imparts to them a spiritual suggestiveness such as they may well have in this psalm. They are not only pleasant facts, but types of spiritual good. He healeth all thy diseases, but the most deadly disease of all is sin. Thy mouth is satisfied with the kindly fruits of the earth, yet man lives not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Thy youth and vigour are renewed like the eagle's, but thou knowest too what it is to be strengthened with might by God's Spirit in the inner man. And now, through all these things — forgiveness, redeeming, renewing — God is working toward an ulterior purpose. "He crowneth thee." God's work is not finished in the forgiveness of sins. If a prince were to take a beggar out of the street in order to make him the heir to his throne, would his work be done when he had washed and decently clothed him? No. He must be trained for his position. All that kingly power and fatherly love can command must combine to fit him to be a king. The redeemed sing to Him who not only washed them from their sins, but also made them kings and priests. And as we reach the close of the psalm we find its keynote struck again. It is a psalm of thanksgiving, but it tells us that true thanksgiving can be only within the sphere of God's accepted sovereignty, from the standpoint of voluntary allegiance to Him. The foundation of all thanksgiving is that God reigns — the foundation of our individual thanksgiving is that God is our King.

(M. R. Vincent, D.D.)

I. THE MERCIES ENUMERATED.

1. Benefits bestowed.

(1)Personal. Life, health, food, etc.

(2)Spiritual. The great gift of His Son, Gospel ordinances, Word, Spirit, etc.

2. Iniquities forgiven.

(1)We are all chargeable with iniquities.

(2)They are many.

(3)God forgives all.

(4)This forgiveness is communicated through repentance and faith in Christ.

3. Diseases healed.

(1)Bodily.

(2)Spiritual.

4. Redemption from destruction.

5. A crown of lovingkindnesses and tender mercies.

II. THE THANKS PRESENTED.

1. He blesses God.

2. He does this with all his soul.

3. He calls upon all within him to join in the work of praise.

4. He purposes a lively remembrance of God's goodness. "And forget not all His benefits." He would keep it before his eyes; he would be constantly meditating upon it; morning and evening, and in the night watches, etc.APPLICATION.

1. The amazing extent and profusion of the Divine goodness.

2. The immense obligations we are under to serve and bless God.

(J. Burns, D.D.)

Worship means recognition of worth, doing homage to goodness. Even when the worth is limited, as in the case of a good man, the recognition should be cordial. When the homage is offered to Infinite Goodness all the gifts of mind and heart should be brought into play, so as to yield the maximum of worship and recognition. The Lord our God ought to be loved and served with all the heart, and soul, and strength, and mind. Unhappily, in no department of human conduct do the ideal and the reality lie further apart than in religious worship and in religious life. What then are the conditions under which it is possible to render such a service as is illustrated in this exquisite psalm?

1. Faith, or a right conception of God, a right idea of God. We must believe in a God whose character is fitted to inspire devout thought and excite religious affections of reverence, trust, gratitude, and admiration; such a God, that is to say, as is presented to our view in this psalm. He must bless God in a feeble, cold, hesitating fashion, who is all the time not sure whether his Divinity be worthy of worship. The lips say: "God is good"; the mind thinks only of the chosen objects of an arbitrary favouritism. The tongue declares: "God loveth the right"; the reason asks: "Why then do bad men prosper and good men pine?" If we are to worship and serve God aright, this antagonism between word and thought must be overcome. We must believe in a God whose name is a veritable gospel of gladness to our souls

2. Sincerity. Everywhere in Scripture we find great stress laid upon this condition of efficient service. The perfect man in the Bible is not the man without fault, but the man of single-hearted devotion who loves and serves God. Faults in conduct, errors of judgment, infirmities of temper there may be in abundance. The one quality that redeems, ennobles character is self-devotion without reserve to the Divine kingdom of the Gospel, to the cause that is worth living for.

3. Liberty. No one can say with emphasis, "O Lord, truly I am Thy servant," unless he also is able to say, "Thou hast loosed my bonds." There are bonds which keep men from being religious, or from being devoted in religion, and there are bonds springing out of religion itself by which many saintly souls are bound. Everything pertaining to religion — worship, creed, practice, tends to become an affair of routine, ceremonial, formula, mechanical habit. Fetters are forged for soul and body, for every faculty of our composite nature — for hand, tongue, mind, heart, conscience. And by such as are in bondage it is regarded as a mark of piety and sanctity to wear with scrupulous care all these grievous fetters. There are times, however, when the bondage becomes unbearable, and the human spirit rises in rebellion and asserts its liberty. Such an epoch is a veritable year of jubilee, when minds are emancipated from worn-out commonplaces, and hearts are enlarged into original and heroic love, like rivers in flood overflowing their banks, and "consciences are purged from dead works to serve the living God." It is "the acceptable year of the Lord," "acceptable" to redeemed men, though regarded with pious horror by the slaves of tradition, and "acceptable" to God also. For, be it understood, God takes no pleasure in spiritual bondage. God gets no glory from that sort of thing. His glory is bound up with liberty, for with liberty came opening of closed lips, unsealing all the fountains of religious emotion, locked up by the frosts of a dreary winter, awakening all dormant powers of thought, whereupon once more men bless God with "all that is within them."

(A. B. Bruce, D. D.)

How vigorous was the plant of joy in the writer's heart. And why? Because its roots were spread far and wide in a nourishing soil. In the experience of God's forgiving love and ever bountiful kindness to himself, in the recognition of God's sure friendliness towards all that are oppressed, in the remembrance of the vast past of His lovingkindness to His people, in a large, real, partnership of joy with "all them that fear Him," and in an exultant realization that God and gladness ruled the universe, did this cheery saint and singer root his joy. What a poor feeble plant is the happiness of many professed Christians! And no wonder — for it lacks strong and ample roots. No sufficient time or pains are given that thought and affection may spread abroad in the rich nourishing ground of God's vast goodness and lovingkindness. Take time to be happy — to be exultingly and persistently happy in God and His salvation!

(C. G. M.)

A more wonderful instrument than any which Israel's psalmist ever struck is carried in the human breast. Upon its "ten strings" the hand of God often strikes, and evokes most sublime melody. The one hundred and third psalm was originally played upon this harp of the heart. Its keynote is, "Bless the Lord, O my soul! let all that is within me bless His holy name." At another time the strains of that harp were inexpressibly plaintive and mournful. They were like the wail of a sick child. "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness. Against Thee have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise." Happy is the man who can begin to rehearse for heaven by attuning his heart to the will of God. He is like the old psalmist's psaltery, every wind that Providence sends only makes music in him. Even boisterous gales of adversity call forth grand and sublime strains of resignation. When he is in trouble, he "giveth songs in the night." The kind acts he performs for others touch sweet chords in his memory. And amid all the harsh and jangled discords of this world, such a Christ-loving soul is a harp of gold making constant melody in the ear of God.

(T. L. Cuyler, D.D.)

When the photographer fits that iron rest at the back of your head and keeps you waiting ten minutes, while he gets his plates ready, why, your soul goes out of town, and nothing remains but that heavy look! When the work of art is finished, it is you, and yet it is not you. You were driven out by the touch of that iron. Another time, perhaps, your photograph is taken instantaneously, while you are in an animated attitude, while your whole soul is there; and your friends say, "Aye, that is your very self." I want you to bless the Lord with your soul at home as in that last portrait. I saw a book wherein the writer says in the preface, "We have given a portrait of our mother, but there was a kind of sacred twinkle about her eyes which no photograph could produce." Now, it is my heart's desire that you do praise God with that sacred twinkle, with that feature or faculty which is most characteristic of you.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

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