Since I’ve committed to memorizing Psalm 103 as part of the Siesta Scripture Memory Team this year, I’ve decided to meditate and study the verses. Even though each one is quite short, they pack a lot of information in a tiny span of words. I think often times, we, in the 21st century, tend to overlook the power of words. So, before I post my SSMT verse 3 in a few days, I would like to share a bit about verse 2 (which is actually verse 1 of Psalm 103). For starters, Psalm 103 was written by David. This praise-filled king with the complicated life wrote:
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. ~ Psalm 103:1
As I do when I study scripture, I looked up this verse in multiple versions. The NIV says “Praise the LORD”. The ASV says, “Bless Jehovah”. And then there’s the AMP which says:
Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name! ~ Psalm 103:1 (AMP)
I also have a soft spot for “old time religion” and the frank nature with which people spoke of the LORD and His sovereignty (unlike much of today where many people fear absolute truth or speaking truth). The 1599 Geneva Bible renders the interpretation like this: “My soul, [a]praise thou the Lord, and all that is within me, praise his holy Name.” This version also includes the following “notes” about the verse:
1 He provoketh all to praise the Lord, which hath pardoned his sins, delivered him from destruction and given him sufficient of all good things.
a. Psalm 103:1He wakeneth his dullness to praise God, showing that both understanding and affections, mind and heart are too little to set forth his praise.
The word translated as “bless” and “praise” also renders the meaning “to kneel”, “kneel down” (Strong’s). This might suggest a physical state of humility on David’s part as he “abundantly” blesses God “as an act of adoration” with gratulation and thanksgiving (Strong’s). As though that simple word, “bless” weren’t enough to express his physically overwhelmed state, he goes on to say “and all that is within me”. I’m not saying David felt this way, but maybe, at the beginning of his Psalm, he wasn’t “feeling” what his body physically expressed (kneeling). It’s almost as though he commanded his mind/emotions/spirit to take this position of praise, not because God needs our praise, but because we need to praise him.
All of us have “gone through the motions” and need someone to “wakeneth” our “dullness” (per those 1599 believers). It is not uncommon for David to call upon the LORD to change his heart… to soften it. In context, it appears this might be a struggle even though he doesn’t say it outright. What I can take from verse 1 is the need to place myself (my soul) in a physical position to worship Jehovah “the existing one” (Strongs), but when my heart is hardened, or cold, or hurt… my inmost being needs to kneel and submit to God’s sovereignty, if for no other reason than that His name is Holy, sacred, set-apart (Strongs)… He is LORD.
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