Bless: to kneel with face on the ground in total respect and worship. We need to worship God with all our heart at all times.
Psalm 103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
David wrote many of the psalms of praise but he didn’t have an easy life. He was anointed to be king at age 14, killed Goliath at 17. King Saul tried to kill David in his early 20’s because he was jealous of his victory in battles. David hid from Saul in a cave, had no sleeping bag or bathroom. Things weren’t comfortable. We can live busy lives, consumed with worry and stress. Or we can stay focused on God, knowing he’ll take care of things and help in our trials. It’s important to not forget all his benefits.
Psalm 103:2-5 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
We won’t bless or praise God continually if we focus on trials or heartaches. We have to cast down discouraging thoughts and imaginations that come to our mind, to bring them into captivity in obedience to Christ (II Corinthians 10:5). Five benefits are listed here: 1) all our sins are forgiven, 2) our diseases are healed or we wouldn’t be here, 3) our life is redeemed from destruction, 4) we’re crowned with lovingkindness and mercies, 5) our mouth is satisfied with good things.
Every day when we get up, we need to remember the benefits. If we feel discouraged and cast down, the devil has been talking to us. David woke up at night with a song. The enemy tried to discourage him and said, Where is thy God? David said he’d hope in God and praise him as the health of his countenance, expression of his face. The Queen of Sheba said Solomon’s people were happy (I Kings 10:4-9). God wants our expression to be happy so others are attracted to him.
Psalm 42:8-11 Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness…in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily…Where is thy God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul?…hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance…
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were from the king of Judah’s family and had been carried away to Babylon. Ashpenaz gave them names of his gods: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were well educated and Nebuchadnezzar wanted them taught the Chaldean language and education to stand in his palace.
Daniel 1:3-4 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz…that he should bring certain…children of Israel, and of the king’s seed… Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and…to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
Daniel decided he wasn’t going to defile himself with the king’s meat or wine. Jews didn’t eat pork or meat offered in idol worship. His parents weren’t telling him what to do, but it was in Daniel’s heart to obey God. Melzar agreed to give them pulse (vegetables) and water to drink for 10 days, then he’d see if they looked worse than others who ate the king’s food.
Daniel 1:5-14 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine…nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah…the prince of the eunuchs gave names…unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with…the king’s meat, nor with the wine…therefore he requested…he might not defile himself …And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head…Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days…give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon…and the countenance of the children that eat…the king’s meat…So he consented…proved them ten days.
They looked healthier when 10 days arrived, so Melzar continued to feed them as Daniel requested. God blessed them with wisdom and understanding that was ten times better than the wise men of the kingdom at the end of three years.
Daniel 1:15-21 And at…ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine…and gave them pulse …God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end…the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king…found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding…he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers…Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.
The wise men of the kingdom couldn’t tell what the king dreamed, so he ordered them all to be killed. Daniel went to the king and asked for time so God would reveal the dream. The king agreed so God showed Daniel to tell the dream and interpretation (Daniel 2:1-30). Nebuchadnezzar reigned 42 years and then his son Belshazzar. Darius became king when Daniel was 80 years old. Darius preferred Daniel so the other wise men tried to find fault. They could only find fault in his worship of God. They tricked the king to make a law against praying, but Daniel kept praying 3 times a day where all could see him.
Daniel 6:3-5 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel…but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any…fault found in him. Then said…We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.
Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open …he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
Daniel continued to give thanks and pray. He wasn’t feeling sorry for himself. He blessed the Lord at all times. He had convinced the king by the way he lived that God would deliver him from the lion’s den. King Darius wasn’t around when God had delivered Daniel and his friends from the fiery furnace, but no doubt he’d heard about it.
Daniel 6:16…the king…cast him into the den…said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.
The king was anxious to see if God delivered Daniel from the lions. Our loved ones that aren’t saved want us to succeed because our staying saved is their hope. We can’t go by how we feel. By faith we pray and read the Bible even if we’re tired.
Daniel 6:20-23 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice…O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel…O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad…commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den…no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.
We bless God’s name in blessing the Lord at all times as mighty, wonderful, sovereign. Angels always praise God, but God wants our praise here. If we don’t feel like it, we put on a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). God wants us to sing, to be a happy people, to have our praise on display continually even when it’s a sacrifice for us.
Psalm 95:1-3 O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him…For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
Psalm 96:1-4 O sing unto the Lord…bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised…
Psalm 97:1 The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.
Psalm 98:1 O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand…hath gotten him the victory.
Psalm 98:4 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
Psalm 100:1-4 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing… Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)