Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul. – Psalm 103:20-22
20. “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength.” Finding his work of praise growing upon his hands, he calls upon “the firstborn sons of light” to speak the praises of the. Lord, as well they may, for as Milton says, they best can tell. Dwelling nearer to that prepared throne than we as yet have leave to climb, they see in nearer vision the glory which we would adore. To them is given an exceeding might of intellect, and voice, and force which they delight to use in sacred services for him; let them now turn all their strength into that solemn song which we would send up to the third heaven. To him who gave angelic strength let all angelic strength be given. They are his angels, and therefore they are not loth to ring out his praises. “That do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.” We are bidden to do these commandments, and alas we fail; let those unfallen spirits, whose bliss it is never to have transgressed, give to the Lord the glory of their holiness. They hearken for yet more commands, obeying as much by reverent listening as by energetic action, and in this they teach us how the heavenly will should evermore be done; yet even for this surpassing excellence let them take no praise, but render all to him who has made and kept them what they are. O that we could hear them chant the high praises of God, as did the shepherds on that greatest of all birth nights –
When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet
As never was by mortal finger struck;
Answering the stringed noise,
As well their souls in blissful rapture took:
The air, such pleasure loth to lose,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly close.
Our glad heart anticipates the hour when we shall hear them “harping in loud and solemn guise,” and all to the sole praise of God.
21. “Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts;” to whatever race of creatures ye may belong, for ye are all his troops, and he is the Generallissimo of all your armies. The fowl of the air and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea, should all unite in praising their Creator, after the best of their ability. “Ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure” in whatever way ye serve him, bless him as ye serve. The Psalmist would have every servant in the Lord s palace unite with him, and all at once sing out the praises of the Lord. We have attached a new sense to the word “ministers” in these latter days, and so narrowed it down to those who serve in word and doctrine. Yet no true minister would wish to alter it, for we are above all men bound to be the Lord s servants, and we would, beyond all other ministering intelligences or forces, desire to bless the glorious Lord.
22. “Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion.” Here is a trinity of blessing for the thrice blessed God, and each one of the three blessings is an enlargement upon that which went before. This is the most comprehensive of all, for what can be a wider call than to all in all places? See how finite man can awaken unbounded praise! Man is but little, yet, placing his hands upon the keys of the great organ of the universe, he wakes it to thunders of adoration! Redeemed man is the voice of nature, the priest in the temple of creation, the precentor in the worship of the universe. O that all the Lord s works on earth were delivered from the vanity to which they were made subject, and brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God: the time is hastening on and will most surely come; then will all the Lord’s works bless him indeed. The immutable promise is ripening, the sure mercy is on its way. Hasten ye winged hours!
“Bless the Lord, my soul.” He closes on his key-note. He cannot be content to call on others without taking his own part; nor because others sing more loudly and perfectly, will he be content to be set aside. O my soul, come home to thyself and to thy God, and let the little world within thee keep time and tune to the spheres which are ringing out Jehovah s praise. O infinitely blessed Lord, favour us with this highest blessing of being for ever and ever wholly engrossed in blessing thee.
– From C H Spurgeons Treasury of David: An Original Exposition of the Book of Psalms, Volume IV