Bless the Lord Oh My Soul is a very well known song, and my go to in moments of temptation, but have you ever really meditated on what you are actually singing?
Let’s begin by reading Psalms 43 in the NIV. It reads:
As you read this Psalm, you can really hear and feel the sorrow behind this prayer if you take a minute to mediate on these words. This person is aware of the ugly all around that only God can save him from. He is desperate for his Savior, His light. He longs for his Savior’s direction and care to His altar. He is desperate for the joy and the delight that he knows he will receive once he reaches the altar of God.
This person is depressed, oppressed, and completely aware of it all as he is clinging to the word of truth that God has placed within this child of God BEFORE he has reached this moment of pain.
So first, let us examine the evidents that the person behind these words has been on this journey for some time now. It is evident because he is completely aware of the wickedness around him, the need for His savior, and is very knowledgeable of the things that God promises. You can feel through his words that he has already tasted and seen this goodness he longs for before. Further evidence that he is a long time voyager is revealed in verse five as his words switch from crying out to God, to then talking to his soul.
So, let’s examine the soul he is talking to and why. To understand this we have to first acknowledge that when we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, that we are in fact admitting that we are naturally sinners (make wrong choices that are not good for us and can keep us from the goodness that God has for us) and are in need of Him (our Savior, our helper, our leader, our teacher, our healer) to clean these bad choices up because we have now recognized that we are not capable….no matter how hard we try, we are unable to do for ourselves what only God is able to do. What is this? Change our heart through the constant renewing of our mind as He reveals Himself to us more and more as we walk out OBEDIENCE. Not our will. His will. Not our wants, but His wants.
Lets look into this further. See, as children of God we are composed of our body, our minds, our soul (with the old sinful nature and the new nature now being formed until the return of our Messiah), as well as the Holy Spirit that God has given us through the excepting of Jesus as the Messiah and the allowing of Him to baptise us with His Spirit (see the beginning chapters of Acts to study this further). The Holy Spirit is from God and is fully God. He will help convict you of your wrong choices and at the same time give you power to crucify bad choices. We are not able to do this apart from God.
So what does this look like? How is this possible? Well, if you have walked out your sanctification in any stretch of time you can sense that battle. Paul talks of it in Romans 7:18-24;
18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
So now, how do we overcome and go from defeated to victors? How do we crucify self? Pull out of our sorrow and pain? Allow mourning to be turned into thanksgiving and dancing? Well, my beautiful sisters and handsome brothers….we remind the natural sinful self within our souls of ALL of God’s goodness. We do what Paul tells the Philippians in verse 4:8 and what this Psalmest says in 43:5;
4:8; Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
43:5 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.
So the next time you are praising and worshiping the Lord through the form of song and singing that all too familiar Bless the Lord Oh My Soul….remember that you are singing to the sinful part of your soul and telling it to Bless the Lord!!!! How beautiful is that!!! Oh, thank you God for Your wisdom and knowledge.
Praise You, Father, for Your goodness and love! Apart from You, we are not able. Come Holy Spirit… You are welcome in our hearts. Convict us, give us Your power that is in fact God himself working within us. The power to overcome sin. The power to overcome loneliness, loss of loved ones, depression, and oppression. Thank you for this! We get to love you only because You first loved us. In Jesus’ name, Amen!