Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 7, 1964

"Forget Not All Of His Benefits"

Lowell Blasingame

"Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all his benefits." (Ps. 103:2)

It is believed by many that Psalms 103 had for its setting the conclusion of the Babylonian captivity when the Jews in Babylon were permitted to return to their native land. The Psalm is filled with sentiments of gratitude to God for His loving kindness and mercy. In reflecting upon these, inspiration moved the writer to say, "Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all of his benefits." This passage seems to contain two prominent thoughts that run throughout the entire Psalm. Let us consider them.

The Exhortation To Bless The Lord

This is the first thought of the Psalm. It is interesting to note that the Psalm begins with the exhortation to bless the Lord and ends with the same thought. Man is charged to bless the Lord with all that is within him. (v.1-2) This simply means that just as he is to love the Lord with all his heart, soul and mind (Matt. 22:37), he is to bless the Lord with the same faculties. In the final three verses, the writer exhorts the angels, the host of heaven and all of God's works to bless Him.

What does it mean to bless the Lord? In giving the Lord's supper, Matthew said that Christ blessed the bread (Mat. 26:26) before giving it to the disciples. Paul in 1 Cor. 11:24 said that He gave thanks. From these statements we may draw the conclusion that to bless means to give thanks, hence, when we are exhorted to bless the Lord that we arc enjoined to give thanks to Him.

Forget Not All Of His Benefits

This is the second thought that stands out in the Psalm. Forgetfulness may be more than a fault of the memory. It may also be a mark of ingratitude. Jesus healed ten lepers, (Luke 17:12-19), but only one, and he a Samaritan, returned to give thanks or bless the Lord for the benefit received. The action of the nine cannot be accounted for by assuming that they had forgotten so soon the benefit which they had received. Their behavior may be explained in one word — ingratitude.

And what about us? Have we like the nine received so much from Him and failed to bless Him for all of His benefits? And for what cause? Is it because we have forgotten so soon or could it be that we are not truly grateful for the manifold blessings that we receive from Him.

What Are His Benefits?

First, there are the many temporal benefits that we receive from the Lord. The writer of this Psalm says, v.5, that God had satisfied his mouth with good things and renewed his youth. This relates to the food and health that he had received. Jesus taught that God knows our need for the temporal things of life and will provide them, Matt. 6:32-33, thus that our concern should be for the kingdom of God. Many of us enjoy good health, food, shelter, clothing and the freedom that we have in this great nation, yet never take the time to bless the Lord for these benefits.

Second, there are spiritual benefits that come from the Heavenly Father. In verses 3, 4, 7, and 8 of this Psalm, the writer mentions forgiveness, redemption, the revelation of God's way through Moses and mercy as spiritual blessings which they had received from the Lord. These blessings should be regarded more highly than the temporal blessings of life.

In this dispensation God's mercy has made possible our salvation, Tit. 3:5, and His will has been revealed through Jesus Christ, Heb. 1:1-2. Salvation, along with redemption and remission of sins, 2 Tim. 2:10; Eph. 1:7, is provided in Christ. These are benefits that we should prize most highly and that we should not forget.

Neither should man forget that God's spiritual benefits are now located in Christ and that he must get into Christ in order to have these benefits. The New Testament, which is God's revelation to us through His Son, is very plain in teaching that the believing penitent gets into Christ, Gal. 3:26-27, Rom. 6:3, by obeying the Lord's command in baptism. Since we cannot have these spiritual benefits outside of Christ it becomes vitally important that we do that which is necessary for entrance into Christ where they are located.

Is this Psalm of gladness yours? Can you, like its writer, say, "Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all his benefits"?

— 163 Dean Drive, Grenada, Mississippi