Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits… (Psalm 103:1,2 NET)
Depending on how you calculate it, these two verses can be called the exact middle of the Bible. They are not promises, but a number of promises follow them, which we will explain in a minute. There are 31,102 verses in the Bible, and so verses 15,551 and 15,552 of Psalm 103 would form the two verses in the middle.
These verses are great pieces of advice for life, something that will keep us centered and focused on God. Modern life teaches us to focus on what we want, on ourselves, on what people can do for us, whereas true spirituality comes from taking the focus off of ourselves, deciding that we are second (or third, or fourth) and putting God in first place. Throughout history people have struggled with the temptation to be selfish and live for their own pleasures, but modern society takes this to an entirely new level with cellphones, the Internet, movies, magazines, video games, Facebook, shopping malls and television. In most countries, children are completely different from their parents, grandparents and great grandparents when they were the same age. The influences of modern life have opened the door to self-centeredness and indulging our pleasures in ways that previous generations never experienced.
When we count our blessings as the old hymn goes, when we focus on God and what He has done and will do, our entire attitude about life is raised to a spiritual plane where anything is possible, and where God is free to work. The more we forget about ourselves and concentrate on God, the happier we will be, and the more we focus on ourselves and ignore God, the more miserable we become.
In verses 3, 4 and 5 of Psalm 103, David reminds us of the benefits of serving God: we are forgiven of our sins, healed of our diseases, are saved from the pit of suffering, are crowned with love and mercy, and our youth is renewed like the eagle’s. All these amazing blessings are ours, but we risk losing them when we obsess about ourselves and fail to acknowledge the greatness and power of the God we serve.