A devotion of Psalm 103.
Your soul is the essence of who you are and comprises your Will, your Intellect, and your Emotions (WIE.) It drives the flesh or the body and can also be referred to as the heart. The general stance of the soul is not one of kneeling. It stands tall and proud in self-exaltation. It stands proudly upon the rotating display-pedestal of desire. The soul wants what it wants, when it wants it, and how it wants it. It’s like an overconfident seven-year-old behind the wheel.
This mysterious aspect of our lives needs to be subjugated by the Holy Spirit and to his Will, his Intellect, and his Emotions. It should kneel humbly upon the rotating pedestal of his desire. At salvation, Holy Spirit comes upon your spirit and you are made “a new man.” Your spirit man or woman, formerly dead, instantly sparks with new alive. This new spirit man or woman needs to bump the soul to the passenger seat and drive the car (the body or flesh.) That is the ultimate participation in the divine nature.
The soul does not give up the driver’s seat easily. It likes the control it has been used to. For the rest of your life, the soul plans a mutiny to take back the steering wheel. Your job is to train it to will what the spirit wills; to think like the spirit thinks; and to feel what the spirit feels. We are to recalibrate our desires and match them to the new man’s or woman’s.
Read this chapter as a powerful example of the conversation the new man is having with the grouchy, ousted co-driver.
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Bless, barak, means to kneel, by implication it is to adore or praise. (Conversely, it can also mean to curse.) Left to its own devices, the soul kneels to no one – it is the boss. Our desires employ our wills, intellect, and emotions to drive the body to sin. One of the great benefits of the Lord is to forgive our sin state and behavior. All of it. He then deals with the flesh which is prone to disease, wear, and tear. He heals that too. All of it. When our lives are headed for the cliff, he places guardrails and sends us down a different path. Then he richly tops all that with lovingkindness and tender mercies. The soul, formerly used to its fill of junk food, is now satiated with ‘good things, and invigorated.
6 The Lord executes righteousness And justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
9 He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
The soul, like the seven-year-old at the wheel, needs frequent lessons on God’s dealings with mankind historically. It needs to be reminded that God’s dealings are way better than the soul’s plans.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
Not only does the Father oust the seven-year-old from the wheel for his own protection, but he absolutely adores the seven-year-old. He doesn’t hold his childish antics against him. He totally understands and cherishes seven-year-olds. He laughs at his fabulous jokes and holds him close when life doesn’t make sense.
15 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.
17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.
19 The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word.
21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
22 Bless the Lord, all His works, In all places of His dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
God’s dominion is seen clearly in all creation. He is firmly planted in the heavens and his kingdom rules over all. Even hosts of mighty angels which number in the millions subject themselves to him and to his will and thinking. May I, a weakling, emulate those formidable beings and “do his word and heed the voice of his word.” May I, self-confident with no basis, as a fellow minister of the grand hosts, do his pleasure. Only then can I truly bless the Lord. Bless the Lord, O my soul!