Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. (Psalm 104:1)
This continues our series on “Celebrating the Lord Using Psalm 104.” If you want to read Part 1, you may see it here.
David Egner tells of a children’s pastor who introduced two girls and two boys, aged 6-8, and brought them up to the church platform during a service. The pastor asked about their favorite Bible stories. They mentioned David and Goliath, Jesus’ birth, and His feeding of the 5,000. Then the pastor asked, “What is God like? How would you describe Him?” And the children spoke of the Lord’s power, His holiness, His love, and His ability to “make miracles.”
David Egner was moved by the children’s sincere and enthusiastic love for the Lord, their trust in Him, and their reverence for God. The children rightly understood that the Lord is a real divine person who thinks, sees, hears, acts, and watches over us. He knows our names, loves us, and cares about us more than any one else. The children reminded Egner of Jesus doing wonderful things in the Gospels and the children shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” Most of the Jewish leaders in Bible times rejected Christ, but the children could see that Jesus is God’s Messiah, promised since the Garden of Eden, so they raved about Him as God our Rescuer and Savior. Do we worship Christ that way?
All hail the power of Jesus’ name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, And crown Him Lord of all.1
Blessing God Means Praising Him
The Hebrew Bible begins Psalm 104 saying, “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” and some English translations render it that way. But our worship does not help God or make Him better off than He was before. Scripture says, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth….And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.”2 God (Father, Son, and Spirit) is the Blesser, so blessing Him means praising, thanking, and admiring Him. Psalm 104 is all about recognizing the Lord, magnifying and exalting Him as He deserves. God doesn’t need our hurrahs, but He knows that we need to esteem Him so that we believe right and behave right in a fallen world where everyone does what they please, instead of pleasing the Lord.
Notice that the Psalmist is talking to himself when he says, “Praise the LORD, O my soul.” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones taught that most of our unhappiness in life comes from listening to ourselves instead of talking to ourselves.3 Our negative thoughts wake us up in the morning and keep us up at night. They bring back regrets of yesterday and fears about tomorrow. Much of our self-talk is defeatist, pessimistic, and discouraging. Lloyd-Jones taught that we need the spiritual discipline of handling ourselves, preaching to ourselves, questioning ourselves. So the writer of Psalm 42 counseled himself instead of listening to his negative brain chatter. Pessimistic thoughts trigger the production of stress hormones and who needs that? Instead the Psalmist said, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”4
The writer of Psalm 104 is telling himself to focus on the Lord and we must do the same. God deserves ceaseless devotion from His creatures, and the more we thank, adore, and worship Him, the greater will be our happiness.5
The Lord Is Very Great and Clothed with Splendor and Majesty
To get out of ourselves, we need to remind ourselves who God is, what He has done and is doing, and what He has pledged Himself to do for us. That’s what Psalm 104 does. The Psalmist (maybe it’s David) reminds us that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. Colossians 1 echoes parts of Psalm 104:
The Son of God (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the Head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He (Jesus) might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him (Christ), and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.6
The Lord (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is not bragging; He’s just stating the facts. God has no equal and He tolerates no rivals. He said to the Hebrews at Mount Sinai, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”7
Jesus taught us to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Uphold the holiness of your name and help us to honor your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.8 Only the Lord is worthy of our highest affection and adoration. Only He is worthy of endless praise and devotion. He’s God Almighty, at the top of all things and at the center. In Him we live and move and have our being….We are His offspring….For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.9
And Yet, this is the Lord Who Loves Us
This same God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), the only true and living God:
- Knows each one of us by name.10
- Knows what we need before we ask Him.11
- Knows the number of hairs on our head.12
- Knows our words and deeds before we act.13
- And this same God sent His Son to bridge the uncrossable canyon our sins created, to redeem us for Himself as His treasured possession. The Lord will take us to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells, to be with Him forever.14
Jesus, fully God and fully man in one person, is the one and only Mediator between God and humankind. His mercies are tender and firm to the end, our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend! We can never praise God too much. O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!
To be continued
Notes (various translations): 1 “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!” by Edward Perronet (1780). 2 Acts 17:24-25. 3 Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure (1965, p. 20-21). 4 Psalm 42:4,11; 43:5. In many Hebrew manuscripts Psalms 42 and 43 constitute one psalm. 5 Charles Simeon (1759-1836). 6 Col 1:15-20. 7 Ex 20:1-3; Deut 5:6-7. 8 Matt 6:9-10. 9 Acts 17:28; Rom 11:36. 10 Isaiah 43:1; John 10:3. 11 Matt 6:8. 12 Matt 10:30. 13 Psalm 139:16. 14 Eph 2:1-10; 1 Thes 4:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev 21:3.