One of my favourite Psalms, both for personal encouragement and as a great service starter is Psalm 103:
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
We bless God out of the fullness of knowing that He is the source of every blessing: forgiveness, redemption, lovingkindness, mercies, good things and youthfulness. Our lives are complete because of His blessings through the finished work of the cross.
The Psalmist expresses two actions: the first (in verse 1) is our action towards God in blessing Him. The second (in verses 2 to 4) is God’s action in blessing us.
The contrast cannot be more apt. Our blessing of God is pithy compared to the way He blesses us, reflected in the economy of words used by the Psalmist in verse 1 to describe our human action (“bless the Lord”) compared to the torrent of imagery which follows in verses 2 to 4 describing God’s action in blessing us (He “forgives”, “heals”, “redeems”, “satisfies” and “renews”).
And here is the crux, as John Piper describes it: when God blesses us, we are being added to, our lives are enriched. But when we bless God, God is not being added to or enriched in any way. By magnifying Him, we do not make Him any bigger. When we bless God, we recognise His richness and bounty, and express our thanks and praise for it.
So let us remember to bless the Lord at all times and let His praises be continually be in our mouths!