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! —Psalm 103:17-22
AS WE NEAR the end of this psalm, remember that it begins and ends with the same phrase, telling us that praise is to be offered to God. This means in all places of His dominion and including everyone everywhere and under every circumstance. What we haven’t noted yet is that “everyone everywhere” includes the unseen realm of the Spirit as well as the angels and the hosts of heaven who do God’s pleasure as His ministers (v. 21). In Hebrews 2 we learn that originally, man’s position was higher than the angels, and that someday we will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3) when we’re restored to God’s original intent and position for us.
David recognizes the angels as ministering spirits, proclaiming to them, “Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength and who do His word.” Then David extends the same directive to “all the hosts,” meaning armies. It pleases God that His army of angels ministers to those who are inheriting salvation. David also says, “Bless the Lord, you ministering spirits,” and we are to bless Him also. But who are the recipients of God’s everlasting mercy from verse 17? It’s those who belong to Him, proving their salvation by their fear of Him and keeping His covenant by doing His commandments. How can we do that, frail as we are in our faith sometimes?
God knows our weakness, and He has provided all that we need. The apostle John, quoting Jesus, wrote, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:15-18). So God himself provides the help we need to worship Him in spirit and in truth!
Although many minds struggle with it in this politically correct era, the truth is that heaven is not the future home of everyone whom God loves. It’s the future home of everyone who loves God and who keeps His commandments and in whom the power of the Spirit abides forever. It’s important to examine ourselves from time to time, even as we know where we’re headed eternally, to see if we can truly call ourselves lovers of God, filled with the Holy Spirit, and eager to see the Lord in our future heavenly home. It’s time to offer to Him our thoughtful, heartfelt praise for His generous love and provision for our future no matter what we may be experiencing right now.
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