I can distinctly remember hearing the choir in the church in which I was raised. They regularly sang a song with the words, “Bless the Lord, O my soul! And all that is within me bless His holy name!” These were not the words of some contemporary composer. They were taken directly from the scriptures–directly from Psalm 103.
But there is another part of this psalm that stands out to me, one that does not fit into the song very easily. “Forget not His benefits.” I suppose it’s difficult to find a word to rhyme with “benefits”. David, the psalmist, goes into great detail regarding the “benefits” provided to us by the Lord. Let’s take a closer look.
He pardons all our sins. Quite frankly, we need go no further (but we will). What greater “benefit” could there be? God heals our diseases. He redeems our life from the pit, rescuing us from certain destruction by purchasing us with the blood of His Son on the cross. He covers us with steadfast love (there’s that phrase again) and compassion. This is quite a list of “benefits”!
The list goes on and on. David continues by mentioning God’s compassion and grace. He is slow to anger and yet abounding in love. He has “not dealt with us according to our sins”. How blessed are we, that God would deal with us according to what His Son has done and not according to what we have done?
I think, for me, my hang up is with that word “benefit”. It sounds almost like an employment plan. Instead, what if we were to focus on a different word in verse two. We are encouraged to ensure that we do not forget all His benefits. And we certainly are a people prone to forget.
So today, in the midst of whatever trials and storms you may be facing, make sure you are not forgetting all the benefits of having the Lord your God in your life. Trials and sorrows here on earth can afflict the body, but they cannot touch the soul. In Christ, your iniquities are pardoned. Your life is redeemed. You are dealt with according to God’s mercy, not according to your sins.
Truly, we have every reason to “bless the Lord, O my soul”!