Psalm 103:22

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 22. Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion. Here is a trinity of blessing for the thrice blessed God, and each one of the three blessings is an enlargement upon that which went before. This is the most comprehensive of all, for what can be a wider call than to all in all places? See how finite man can awaken unbounded praise! Man is but little, yet, placing his hands upon the keys of the great organ of the universe, he wakes it to thunders of adoration! Redeemed man is the voice of nature, the priest in the temple of creation, the precentor in the worship of the universe. O that all the Lord's works on earth were delivered from the vanity to which they were made subject, and brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God: the time is hastening on and will most surely come; then will all the Lord's works bless him indeed. The immutable promise is ripening, the sure mercy is on its way. Hasten, ye winged hours!

Bless the Lord, O my soul. He closes on his key-note. He cannot be content to call on others without taking his own part; nor because others sing more loudly and perfectly, will he be content to be set aside. O my soul, come home to thyself and to thy God, and let the little world within thee keep time and tune to the spheres which are ringing out Jehovah's praise. O infinitely blessed Lord, favour us with this highest blessing of being for ever and ever wholly engrossed in blessing Thee.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 22. Bless the LORD, O my soul. That is to say, "Let thy vocation be that of the seraphim, O my soul, and enter on the life of heaven!" Why should I praise him? Can my praise be of any advantage to him? No; nor that of all the heavenly hosts. It is infinite condescension in him to bearken unto the praises of his most exalted creatures.

Let me bless the Lord, because no function will be more rich in blessings to my soul than this. The admiring contemplation of his excellence is in reality the appropriation thereof: the heart cannot delight in God, without becoming like God. Let me do it, because it is the peculiar privilege of man on this earth to bless the Lord. When he would find any to join him in this, he has to ascend the skies. Let me do it, because the earth is fully furnished with the materials of praise. The sands, the seas, the flowers, the insects; animals, birds, fields, mountains, rivers, trees, clouds, sun, moon, stars, -- all wait for me to translate their attribues and distinctions into praise. But, above all, the new creation.

Let me do it, because of him, through him, and to him, are all the things that pertain to my existence, health, comfort, knowledge, dignity, safety, progress, power, and usefulness. A thousand of his ministers in earth, sea, and sky, are concerned in the production and preparation of every mouthful that I eat. The breath that I am commanded and enabled to modulate in praise, neither comes nor goes without a most surprising exhibition of the condescension, kindness, wisdom, power, and presence of him whom I am to praise. Is it not dastardly to be receiving benefits, without even mentioning the name, or describing the goodness of the giver? Let candidates for heaven bless the Lord. There is no place there for such as have not learned this art. How shall I praise him? Not with fine words. No poetic talent is here necessary: Any language that expresses heart- felt admiration will be accepted. Praise him so far as you know him; and he will make known to you more of his glory. George Bowen, 1873.

Verse 22. The last specification is completely comprehensive; all his works in all places of his wide dominions -- all that he has made, whether intelligent or not intelligent; "in all places" -- above, beneath, around: in heaven, earth, or hell: let them all fall into this universal chorus of praise and blessing, extolling Jehovah, the One supremely great, supremely good! Nor will he exempt himself; for his personal responsibilities as to his own heart, are his highest. Therefore he closes as he began, "Bless the LORD, O my soul." Henry Cowles.

Verse 22. Bless the LORD, O my soul. Inasmuch as the poet thus comes back to his own soul, his Psalm also turns back into itself and assumes the form of a converging circle. Franz Delitzsch.

Verse 22. Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul. We are very much struck by this sudden transition from "all God's works, in all places of his dominion," to himself, a solitary individual. Of course he had already included himself; himself had been summoned when he summoned all God's works in all places of his dominion; but it seems as if a sudden fear had seized the Psalmist, the fear of by any possibility omitting himself; or, if not a fear, yet a consciousness that his very activity in summoning others to praise, might make him forgetful that he was bound to praise God himself, or sluggish in the duty, or ready to take for granted that he could not himself be neglecting what he was so strenuous in pressing on all orders of being. We have a great subject of discourse here. Solomon has said, "They made me keeper of the vineyards, but mine own vineyard have I not kept." Alas! how possible, how easy, to take pains for others, and to be neglectful of one's self: nay, to make the pains we take for others the reason by which we persuade ourselves that we cannot be neglecting ourselves. How important, then, that, if with the Psalmist we call on all God's works in all places of his dominions to bless the Lord; how important, I say, that we add, like persons bent on self-examination, and fearful of self-deceit, "Bless the LORD, O my soul." Henry Melvill.

Verse 1-2, 22. Bless the Lord, O my soul... Bless the Lord, O my soul, with the Bless the Lord all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul, Psalms 103:22 ; these two form the thrice-repeated blessing from the Lord to the soul in the Mosaic formula, Numbers 6:24-26 . A. R. Fausset.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 22.

  1. The Chorus.
  2. The Echo. W.D.

 

WORKS WRITTEN ABOUT THE HUNDRED AND THIRD PSALM. IN SPURGEON'S DAY

Meditations and Disquisitions, upon Seven Consolatarie Psalmes of David... by Sir RICHARD BAKER, Knight, 1640. pg 143-172.

Gratitude: an Exposition of the Hundred and Third Psalm. By the Rev. JOHN STEVENSON, Vicar of Patrixbourne-with-Bridge, Canterbury. 1856.