What Praise Sounds Like
“Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name”! Psalm 103:1 Amplified Bible
As a believer in Jesus Christ, we realize that there are many ways in which the Lord blesses us. We are blessed with the limitless promises that He has for us from His Word. Every day, if we stop to recognize it, He is blessing us with evidence of His love and faithfulness to His promises. If we desire to we can easily recognize the blessings that He abundantly pours out on us. However, we have to be looking for them otherwise we overlook them. In that regard, seeing blessings can be easy but it can also still be hard.
What gets really difficult for us is understanding how we can be a blessing to God. Is it possible for us as mere flesh and blood to bless the Lord? Indeed it is and David shows us how we can do that in Psalm 103. In the Amplified version we see that David blesses the Lord with his words of praise. Not just thoughts of praise but actual spoken words of praise to the Lord. Additionally, they are not merely words spoken out of practice or from expectation. They are words of praise spoken from a grateful heart.
It is a grateful heart that acknowledges His goodness. If you are not aware of His goodness today, if you spend most of the day complaining, then sad to say it is time to realize that you are not operating with a grateful heart. Only then can you realize that you are not blessing God in the way that we can bless Him with praise from a grateful heart.
Now let’s go a little deeper in this lesson that David is teaching us from this verse. Another word is used to describe David’s praise is the word “affectionately”. What is it that blesses the Lord? It is His creation praising Him with a grateful heart, motivated by their love for Him. If we stand in church during praise and worship and just sing along with the praise words on the screen in front of us, but not through a grateful heart of affection and love for Him then we are merely going through the motions and not being a blessing to Him. Everything Jesus does for us is done through the motivation of love. Likewise, our response should be praise transported to Him through the vehicle of love.
David did not have the same relationship with God that we do through Jesus, and yet hear the depth of his love in David’s praise He continually offers to the Lord in His Psalms of praise. We live in a church culture with a priority on praise and worship, so our praise should represent the same praise and gratitude and love that David had and even more!
J Todd Hostetler