Bless the Lord,
O My Soul
Some people work hard to ensure their existence. They try to earn enough money for their living, and sacrifice time and effort to provide for a comfortable future. Yet, the Son of Mary teaches us,
”No one can serve two masters;
for either he will hate the one and love the other,
or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.”
David tried to solve this problem by worshiping the Lord. He bid himself and his thoughts to keep silent, so that he could concentrate on the Lord only. He did not allow other thoughts to disturb him, but stood silently in the presence of God:
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me,
bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you
with loving kindness and tender mercies.
Praying and praising need determination and endurance. David wanted to honor and to glorify his Lord. The Holy Spirit guides believers to open themselves to the voice of their Creator.
The name Lord (in Hebrew: Yahweh) appears 6,828 times in the books of the Old Testament, while the word God appears only 2,600 times. The name of God is ”the Lord”. This name confirms his unchangeable faithfulness. He alone is worthy of all trust and thankfulness, as David declared.
Yet, voices and thoughts broke out of his subconscious powerfully, refusing to submit to silence. This is why the prophet ordered his inner being once again to praise the Lord. He determined that his thoughts be filled with thankfulness and praise. David wanted to love the Lord with all his soul and to honor him with all his being. He called the Lord the Holy One in whom is no deceit, craftiness, fraud, nor any sins. He who approaches God will be examined and penetrated by the rays of his holiness, which expose every unclean work before him. David experienced this spiritual discovery, humbled himself before the Holy One and glorified him. God’s holiness covers his glory, for the Holy One is the Most Exalted. Whoever turns to him will be sanctified in the depths of his heart.
David had to command his own spirit for a third time to keep silent and continue in praising God so that his thoughts would not be confused or drift away to money matters, daily problems and lurking dangers. He determined to pay attention only to the Lord of Lords, the Omnipotent Judge of the world.
Afterwards the Holy Spirit guided David to thank the Lord for all his favors in his life. By nature, we soon forget the Lord’s blessings and his answers to our prayers. We are all experts in forgetting the Lord’s favors.
We suggest to every reader, so as not to forget God’s various benefits, to take a paper and write down all the benefits that the Lord has offered you. Then truly thank him for them. Praise him for fresh air and water – for rain, snow, food and dress – for parents, teachers, schools, and places of work and residence – for safety and peace in your country. Thank him for keeping you from the natural disasters, storms, earthquakes and volcanoes. Thank him for keeping your country from hunger and disasters of wars. Search your mind for more favors that the Lord offered you. Do not be stingy in thanking him. Train your heart in constant praising and thanking for such concrete reasons so that you may remain happy in your heart and the Lord’s bounty rest on you.
The most important reason for gratitude, inspired by the divine Spirit to David, was the forgiveness of all his sins. Many people live as if innocent. They hide their offenses and walk about solemnly. Do not follow their example, but repent. Confess all your sins to the Lord and decide not to commit these sins any more, so that you may experience the relief revealed by the apostle John,
”If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).
David experienced the grace of the Lord, who forgave him all his sins. Therefore, he urged his soul to thank the Lord for the forgiveness that God had often granted him. The prophet experienced that the Holy One has actually forgiven him all his sins. We do not find such comprehensive grace in other religions. We do not find such words as perhaps or maybe in the Torah and the Gospel, for the Lord does not forgive only one group of our sins without the others, but cleanses us completely, justifies us thoroughly, and gives us his grace freely, out of his great love of us. Since Christ, by his substitutionary death, atoned for the sin of the world, we know for certain that
”By one offering He has perfected forever
those who are being sanctified”
However, the Lord has declared that whoever receives forgiveness for sins must forgive his adversary too, as God forgave him (Matthew 6:12). Do you have an enemy? Do you live with someone with whom you are not in agreement? Forgive him now completely, otherwise you will lose the Lord’s gracious forgiveness of your sins. Ask your Lord to help you with his power that you actually forgive your adversary the wrong he did you, just as the Creator has already forgiven you (Matthew 6:14).
The Holy Spirit guided the prophet David to recognize that once all his sins were forgiven, health was the next important gift of his Lord to him. He recognized that he should thank him for it. How often are we infected with colds, minor wounds or chronic disease, yet the Lord, in his mercy, cured us. Physicians’ examination and the expensive medicines do not help alone in healing us. The credit for it goes back to the Almighty. The Lord assures us,
”I am the Lord who heals you”
The Son of Mary fulfilled this promise. He healed all the sick who came to him, and cast out unclean spirits from the demoniacs. The healing Lord uses physicians and medicines today, but complete cure comes only from him. Then where is your thankfulness to him? Do not forget to thank your Creator with all your heart, because he is the one who bestows on you the favors of well-being and healing.
King David was a god-fearing man. He knew a day was to come when he would face his Lord, so he prepared for his death. Yet, the Lord revealed to him that he would deliver him from his grave, not for his own righteousness, but because he believed in his justifying Lord. Whoever trusts Christ does not need to fear death nor the darkness of the tomb, since the Son of Mary confirms to us,
”I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.
Do you believe this?”
The Son of Mary rose alive from his tomb after overcoming death. He triumphed over Satan and demonstrated the reality of his eternal life. He will help all who follow him, take them by the hand and pass with them through the gate of death into his eternal life.
God's spirit informed King David that golden crowns with diamonds are not the most precious items in the world. There are crowns of the Lord that shine forever. He who receives the Lord’s bounty and will share it bountifully with the poor and sick, meeting the needs of castaways, the despised and strangers, and helping them indeed, will be granted a spiritual crown by the Lord. Did you receive the crown of mercy and compassion from your Lord who delivers it to his merciful servants? Is your heart still hard like stone? Or did it melt so that you suffer with the suffering and weep with the weeping? Christ guides you to constant mercy, not only among your neighbors and friends, but also among those who are going astray and among unbelievers who have no hope in this life or the next. Attend to them and do not be embarrassed when you see their pallid faces, but pray for them, think of them so that the Lord may send you to serve them faithfully and sincerely.
There are unknown and simple-hearted saints with invisible crowns on their heads. They had pity on the wretched and the poor, prayed for them, helped them and sacrifices for them, in the same manner as their Lord did for them. He announced,
”The Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
Christ is our way and example who gives us power and courage to serve him with gladness.
Are you seeking money and high rank, which makes your heart stony? Or has the spirit of Christ changed your mind so that you have become merciful and compassionate, bearing an invisible crown on your head? Learn Psalm 103 by heart. Train yourself to be thankful so that you recognize, in Christ, the incarnate love of God which transforms you into his mercy.
Upon request, we are ready to send you, freely, the Gospel of Christ with prayers and meditations. They can help you praise and give thanks from all your heart.
If you have found this leaflet helpful to you, do not withhold it from others, so that they can also become servants of the Lord. Write to us and we will send you some of these leaflets for you to distribute.
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