A Pattern of Praise
Psalm 103:1-5
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.…

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.


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.

Parallel Verses
KJV: {A Psalm of David.} Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

WEB: Praise Yahweh, my soul! All that is within me, praise his holy name!

The Perpetuity and Establishment of God's Servants
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