August 17

Psalm 103:1-8

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” vs. 1

The word “bless” is familiar to us. Some use it as a closing in their letters to friends and family, while others might use it as a quick response to a sneeze, as in “bless you.” In those instances it’s a prayer for the person addressed, a desire that good things might come to them. But the psalmist uses it in another sense, saying “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” Our first impulse is to wonder why God would need our blessing at all–and further how could we possibly give God a blessing? The answer is obvious. We bless God when we offer deep praise and thanksgiving for all that God does for us. Think of how much it means when a child or a grandchild offers unsolicited thanks to us for a gift they have received. Maybe we’ve gotten those little notes: “Thank you so much for the gift…thank you, Grandpa, thank you Grandma, I love you so much.” Receiving thanks touches our hearts; receiving thanks is a blessing. Seen in that respect, blessing God is a powerful demonstration of our faith and thanksgiving. All we have and are is a gift from God–every recovery from illness, every loving relationship comes straight from God. God’s goodness literally overflows in our lives. No wonder the psalmist enjoins the people to bless the name of the Lord–it seems pretty much an obligation!

Thought for the Day: For what am I blessing God today?

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