Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Forget Not His Benefits

On Sunday past my friend and pastor, Pastor Roy, brought in a great word from Psalm 103. It was wonderfully encouraging so I decided to revisit the Psalm again and even more things began to grab my attention. Perhaps you are familiar with this Psalm or perhaps you are not. Either way it is well worth considering again as we all need a bit of encouragement each day.

The psalmist starts off with a note of praise, almost like he could not hold it back:

"Praise the Lord, O my soul;
   all my in most being,
   praise his holy name. " - Psalm 103:1

Probably not unlike we feel some Sunday mornings when the sun is shining and the birds are singing. Only in this case the praise had more substance than just a feel good factor. In fact, this psalmist is about to remind us why praise and worship is a daily outpouring of thanksgiving regardless of the events. We say, "God is good all the time", but all the time for us means all the time we are in a good mood and everything is going well. "All the time" does not include miserable days. But this psalmist says it does because praise is based on God's character not our circumstances:

"Praise the Lord, O my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits."

Benefits? He said benefits. Do you know the benefits of the Lord? What are the benefits of this relationship?  The psalmist gives us a list. Yes, he does. Look it up for yourself. It includes:

- forgiveness
- healing
- a redeemed life
- love
- compassion
- satisfied desires
- renewed youth

Tell me that these benefits are not worthy of praise. These are all yours simply because of Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter if you believe in all of them or not, they are all available to you through Jesus. Go ahead, claim them, they are yours.

I believe we forget sometimes who we belong to and we think we are on our own. We act like illegitimate children. Let me remind you about our Daddy. Just a few snippets from this psalm:

"The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
   slow to anger, abounding in love."

"As a father has compassion on his children,
   so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him."

"But from everlasting to everlasting
   the Lord's love is with those who fear him."

Is there anything greater that we could hope for than the great love of our Father? This is the root, the source of all those benefits. It is because he loves us, his children, his people, the sheep of his pasture. We know him and respond as he calls us by name. We know him and we love him because he first loved us.

Now, I ask you, do we have any greater hope than this? Is there any greater treasure than that of Jesus' love? Our love for him did not save us. Our salvation is as a result of his great tidal wave of love for us. How could we not expect all good things, all his benefits poured out on us? We are his children.

Praise the Lord, O my soul.

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