It is certainly difficult to go through this Psalm without recognising the call to praise. The beginning and the ending couch this Psalm in words to encourage praise.
Note how personal the writer King David is as he expresses himself.
“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits” in v1-2.
And in v20-22,
“Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul.”
This is something deeply personal, something coming deep from within here. It is like David is willing himself to praise.
There are times, aren’t there, when we have to will ourselves to do something. Whether it is chores around the house to trying to work through our emotions in a lockdown due to a global pandemic. Here David sounds like he is willing himself to praise. Like the marathon runner willing herself to get to the finish line so too David is willing himself to praise.
Often praise, encouragement and thanks don’t come easy. Often we can be so consumed with our own self and all the problems we have to deal with that we soon forget or fall out of habit of praise, of thankfulness, of gratitude. Here we get the sense of David, writing in reflection from years of experience, willing himself to praise God for who he is and what he has done.
For David realises all of what God has done. Not only for him personally, but also for the whole of humanity. He remembers God and all his deeds and dwells on the action of his compassionate God, which in turn draws him to praise.
As we close this three-part series on Psalm 103 I encourage you to remember, dwell, and praise God this week.
It has been a tough 12 months.
You may have taken the opportunity to sit with God and spend more time with him this year. But, in the conversations I’m having with people I suspect the majority have not. And so I wonder whether this might be a good time to spend some time with the Lord.
If you’re one who is in a habit of doing so, I encourage you to keep going.
But, if you’re one who hasn’t sat with God, opened his scriptures, read and thought of the things of God in a while then I encourage you to do so this week.
Take 30-60 minutes. Open a Psalm, maybe even this one. Write down a few things that strike you as you read it. Pray about what is on your heart. Express those fears and worries and anxieties to God. And dwell for a period of time, something we’re not used to, on your compassionate God who is slow to anger and abounding in love.
Because when you do, experience tells me that the Lord will meet you where you are at and will draw you toward praise just as David is here.
It will do your soul and your life much benefit.