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Author:Rev. Jeremy Segstro
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Congregation:Cloverdale Canadian Reformed Church
 Surrey, BC
Title:One Proclamation, Four Praises
Text:Psalms 103:19-22 (View)
Occasion:Lord's Supper

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Reading: Psalm 103

Text: Psalm 103:19-22




1. Psalm 29:1-3

2. Psalm 11:1-2

3. Psalm 54: 1-3

4. Psalm 103: 1, 4, 8, 9

5. Hymn 1

6. Hymn 62:1-3

7. Hymn 6:1-2


Words to Listen For: offering, deeper, stars, mine, pre-believers


Questions for Understanding:

  1. Do you act, or react?  Why?

  2. What is David’s progression in Psalm 103?

  3. Is obedience enough?  Why or why not?

  4. Why do the birds sing and the sky changes color?

  5. Have you arrived yet?

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Jeremy Segstro, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

Beloved Congregation of Jesus Christ,

Our lives, when we boil it down...are a series of reactions.  How you act today has EVERYTHING TO DO with what happened yesterday, and the day before.  You are here today, in this room, with me, because of what happened yesterday.  And the yesterday before that and before that.

You are in this room, meeting for worship because one day, whether it was yesterday or 50 years ago, someone told you about God.  You heard the gospel, and you believed.  Or, you heard the gospel and you were interested.  You were curious.  And you’re not quite sure if you believe, but you want to check it out.  Or, you heard the gospel and you don’t believe, but because you love your parents, you love your grandparents or your friends, you are here.  Whatever the reason, you are here because of something.  You have reacted.

And ultimately, before all of that, before all of your reactions and my reactions, there was one action.  One action that caused it all: God created.

And ever since creation, there have been a series of reactions.

We responded to God’s creation by sinning.

Then God responded to our sin by offering salvation.  By promising, predicting, and then, ultimately SENDING a Saviour.  And now it is your responsibility to react to this.

Jesus has come.  There is salvation  How will you react?

We see what our reaction should be in Psalm 103.  The Psalmist calls us to the right reaction.

Let’s examine this right reaction through the inspired words of Psalm 103 under the following theme: 


We can see in our text that there is 1 proclamation followed by 4 praises.  Let’s examine the proclamation first.

Verse 19 - The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.

The LORD, Yahweh, has established His throne in the heavens.

This proclamation is the action that started it all.  God created.  And, in doing so, He established Himself as both Creator and King.  Here in verse 19, the psalmist is stepping back to the beginning.  Now we know that David hasn’t just come to this realization here and now, at the end of the psalm, but this truth runs through the whole psalm, right from verse 1

Psalm 103 begins rather famously with the words: Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.

The only reason that David would preach like this to His soul is that the LORD, Yahweh, must be holy and mighty and worthy of praise.  He is all these things because He is Creator and King.  We see in these opening words that David knows God, and that David knows himself.

He knows that worshipping and praising Yahweh is not natural to him as a fallen, sinful human being.  And so he begins by preaching to his soul to react appropriately to who God is.

But Yahweh is not only David’s God.  Yahweh is the covenant God of Israel, and so in the psalm, David moves on to a communal call to praise.

He calls upon the nation of Israel, God’s covenant people, to remember who God is.  A God who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  He tells them this so that they will respond in worship.  Proper worship.  Thankful worship.

But Yahweh is also not only the God of Israel.  He is more than David’s God.  He is more than Israel’s God.  He is the God of universe.  And so, in our text today, we see that David has moved even broader and deeper.  From the personal to the communal, and now to the universal.  The entire universe must praise Yahweh!

The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.

Our God sits enthroned in heaven on high.  Everything below Him is His domain.  He is exalted above everything.  Above all rule and authority and power and dominion.

His kingdom rules over all.

This “all” is all-encompassing.  It does not only include me, or the church, or this world, but every spiritual power and authority in the heavenly realms.  His Kingdom rules over all.  All without distinction and all without exception.  All means all.

And that is why, from this proclamation, come the 4 calls to praise.  All are called to praise.

Bless the LORD, O you His angels, you mighty ones who do His word, obeying the voice of His word

You see, the psalmist knows that obedience isn’t enough.  He acknowledges that the angels obey God’s voice.  They obey His Word, His commandments.  But obedience without praise isn’t what God wants.

God does not want grumbling servants who do His will because they HAVE TO.  Our God can raise up stones to sing His praises instead of angels or human beings...but He doesn’t, because He wants His people to praise.  He wants His creatures to praise, creatures capable of complex thought, complex emotion like love and worship...this is the source of praise that He delights in.

And there will be a day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  One day the universe will react rightly...but is God ultimately honored and adored and loved by the demonic hosts who bow before Him?  No!  They bow before Him against their will.  After they bow, they will spend eternity wailing and gnashing their teeth at Him.  Worshipping in terror is not true worship.

Worshipping in hatred is not worship.  But worshipping in love and obedience...this is the worship God delights in.

Obedience is necessary, but it is not enough.  The angels, the mighty ones must not only obey, but they must worship the LORD

Bless the LORD, all His hosts, His ministers who do His will

Here the word “hosts” does not mean “stars” or “heavenly bodies” as it sometimes does in the psalms, but rather this is a reference to the vast number of God’s servants.  Those who serve and minister before His throne.  And here we can see that the eyes of the psalmist are starting to shift down, from heaven to earth.  For there are heavenly hosts who minister before God’s throne in heaven, and there are earthly priests and servants who minister before God’s earthly throne in the tabernacle.

Bless the LORD, ALL His hosts.

There is not a single heavenly creature who is not called to join in this Hallelujah chorus of heaven.

  • The angels who are sent to serve humanity...they must worship.

  • The cherubim who bow down before His Heavenly throne, they must worship

  • The seraphim who fly above His Heavenly throne, they must worship

  • The heavenly hosts who have fallen and been corrupted, serving Satan...the demons must worship.  They don’t worship now, but one day, they too will bow down before their rightful king.

Bless the LORD, His ministers who do His will

Just as all those in heaven must worship their King, so too all those on earth.  Now, we should not limit this term “ministers” to “pastors” or “preachers” as we do today, applying this verse only to me.  But rather this has a broader meaning.  All those who MINISTER.  All those who SERVE.

The psalmist has in mind here those who serve in the tabernacle.  The priests who burn the incense on the altar.  The priests who sacrifice the animals.  The high priest who goes in before the ark of the covenant.  God’s mercy seat.  They all must worship.  Not simply going through the motions, honoring God with their lips while their hearts are far from Him.  That is not what God wants.  He wants the heart.  He wants us to be real with Him.  And we know that now, the sacrificial system has been done away with.  The sin offerings, the guilt offerings, they were accomplished by the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.  But the thank offerings?  That’s you.  You are priest and you are sacrifice.  You are to present yourself as a living sacrifice.  Pure and holy.  You are called to minister before God in praise.

Verse 22 - Bless the LORD, all His works, in all places of His dominion.

Just a few verses ago, the psalmist explained that Yahweh’s dominion was everywhere.  There is not a square inch that exists, from the deepest sea to the highest mountain, to the furthest planet, over which Yahweh does not cry “mine!”

All His works...everywhere...they are called to join in the cosmic song of praise.  The song of praise to the Creator.

  • When the birds sing, they sing, not only for you, but they sing for Him.

  • When the sky changes colours, it is not only for you to enjoy, but it is an act of praise.

Even though this world is groaning under the weight of sin, in bondage, with every ounce of its being, it strains to worship it’s creator.  And we must do the same.  For the last praise in this psalm has zeroed in once again on the psalmist himself.  As the hallelujah chorus of heaven and earth fades into the background, the psalm ends as it began with the voice of one deeply grateful man of God: Bless the LORD, O my soul.  

On first glance, this is hardly different than the first three calls to worship.

EVERYONE must praise the LORD!  Of course I would be part of everyone.

But there is an important distinction.  Because, you see, my voice alone is not enough to give God all the praise He deserves...but that doesn’t mean it isn’t ESSENTIAL and VITAL.  My voice MUST join the chorus.  Your individual worship must join the corporate worship.

Bless the LORD, O my soul.

It can be easy to slip into the idea that we have already arrived.  We are in the church.  We are now members of the church, and so all our attention must be focused elsewhere.  We are believers, and we should view the rest of the world as pre-believers.  Try to get them focused on what we are focused on.  And we do want the world to know God and praise Him.  But there’s a danger about focussing exclusively on THEM.

There’s the danger...the danger of thinking that you have arrived at a place where you don’t have to try anymore.  Or focus on God.

God loves me, I love God...I’m done!  I’ve arrived!  My salvation is secure, now I don’t have to think about it anymore.  Christ has already died for my sins.  He has already risen’s done!  It is Finished.

And you’re right.  It is Finished.  Jesus said these words on the cross and He meant them.  He died, never to die again.  He suffered, never to suffer again.  WE do not celebrate this supper to re-crucify our Lord.  But rather, to remember Him.  We remember His sacrifice so that we remember that we must spend the rest of our lives reacting appropriately.  For we have much more to react to than the psalmist did.

David spoke of God’s great love, His mercy and compassion...but we know it in a much fuller way.  We know the ultimate act of justice and mercy - the cross of Christ.

We celebrate His death because of what it showed us about Him.  We see His love in His hands and His feet.  Crowning His bloodstained brow.

And so, we react: Bless the LORD, O my soul!

We celebrate because we remember.  But we also celebrate in order to be spiritually nourished by His body and His blood.  Unified with our Saviour in Heaven.  This meal brings us into communion with Him where He is.

Bless the LORD, O my soul!

Your salvation, though it is secure, though it is hidden with Christ in still have to work it out with fear and trembling.  You still have to fight your old nature.  Your old nature that doesn’t like to worship God.  Your old nature that naturally hates God and your neighbour.  Your old nature that hates to react properly.

And so we need this supper.  We need to be nourished and encouraged and strengthened by the meal of our Lord.

A meal that looks back to His act of salvation.  And so we must react in praise: Bless the LORD, O my soul!

It is a meal that makes us look inwards at our forgetful and sinful souls and preaches to them: Bless the LORD, O my soul!

And finally, it is a meal that looks forward to our final and eternal reaction - the marriage feast of the Lamb when we will forever cry: Bless the LORD, Bless the LORD O my soul!


* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Jeremy Segstro, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright, Rev. Jeremy Segstro

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