Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.–Psalm 103 : 2 (Webster)
1. Benefits: The word “benefit” comes from the Latin “benefactum”. The root “bene” means good and “factum” is for deed. So, by definition, the word “benefit” means “good deed”. So, when the psalmist says forget not all His benefits, is he saying that don’t forget all the good things that the LORD has done in your life? Surprisingly the answer is “NO”. The Hebrew word used here properly means, “an act, a work, a deed, whether it is good or bad”. The psalmist says do not forget all the deeds the LORD has done in your life, whether the deeds were good or bad for you.
Now, that’s something most of us would rather not do. There are times in your life where you were left wondering why did God allow such things to happen in your life. There are few bitter experiences in your life that you would rather forget than remember on an everyday basis. But in the epistle to Romans, Apostle Paul says that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Probably even today when you turn back and look at those things that made your life bitter, meditate on those failures that hurt you so badly, you cannot see exactly what good came out of it. But, trust me, my friend, one day you will realize that certain things that were supposed to be devastating has actually made you stronger; few events that shattered you has galvanized you to face bigger challenges; the failures that changed the way of your life have led you in the path of success you have never dreamt of; the bitterness you have faced due to the betrayal of others has wised you up in your future dealings. Recently I heard this song by Garth Brooks by the title “Unanswered Prayers” and all I could do was smile for it applies to so many unanswered prayers in my life. (Okay, that does not mean I had prayed for so many girls in my life; just clarifying )
Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks
Just the other night a hometown football game
My wife and I ran into my old high school flame
And as I introduced them, the past came back to me
And I couldn’t help but think of the way things used to be
She was the one that I’d wanted for all times
And each night I’d spend prayin’ that God would make her mine
And if He’d only grant me this wish I wished back then
I’d never ask for anything again
Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the Man upstairs
That just because He doesn’t answer doesn’t mean He don’t care
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers
She wasn’t quite the angel that I remembered in my dreams
And I could tell that time had changed me
In her eyes too it seemed
We tried to talk about the old days
There wasn’t much we could recall
I guess the Lord knows what He’s doin’ after all
And as she walked away and I looked at my wife
And then and there I thanked the good Lord
For the gifts in my life
Some of God’s greatest gifts are all too often unanswered…
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers
2. Forget not all His benefits: If someone asks you what are the blessings that the LORD has given you, I am sure most of us would list all the great blessings we have received. It may be success in your life, the promotion that you received, the child who was born after so many years of praying, and so on. But the psalmist reminds us not to forget any thing. Not even the smallest things. Does it matter? Is it not okay to be grateful for the big things?
No, it is not. For two reasons. In our life, certain things are small and easy for us. Few things are really big and is just unimaginable and can happen in our life only through a miracle. But, what about the same things in the eyes of the LORD? Now, that is a question to think about. For Jesus Christ, the LORD Almighty, there are no such things as too wonderful. There is nothing that is impossible for Him. Whether great or small things, all those things are the same in the eyes of the Creator. So,whatever He did in our life, whether it is big or small, great or unimportant, the LORD did only because HE loves us; because HE cares for us and because He is thinking of us. So when we remember the small and big things He has done for us, we remember His love and that will make our hearts happy. And, that’s where the second thing comes.
I know this wonderful couple. They are just made for each other. But once when I visited them recently, I saw that they were having few misunderstandings. So, I talked with them and what complaints they had against their spouses may sound laughable, but I have come across such complaints many times, so I know this is a widespread malady in many a marriage. The husband complained that she is really a good cook and whatever she cooks, is so delicious; but, she does not remember to cook those small things that are his favorites. The wife argued that she cooks all these great food that taste so well, so what is he complaining about? Then the house wife complained that her husband gets her everything she needs, but he does not surprise her with small gifts. The husband argued back telling that if she needs something, all she has to ask. So why does she need small gifts from him when he is ready to give everything? Have you come across a situation like this? Most probably you have either seen this situation or been in one. It took a while for me to make them understand that they both indeed need the same thing: that small element of surprise, those small things in our life that constantly remind us that we are loved and appreciated. And, my dear friend, why do you think God does all those small things in your life? How many times you have made a small prayer in your heart and surprised to see it answered? It shows that the LORD God loves you and appreciates you. And, when you remember that, when you remember that the LORD Almighty loves you and takes time from His very busy schedule to fulfill even the smallest of your desires, it will fill your heart with divine love; strengthened in His love, you will be able to face any struggle that the devil can bring against you.
3. And, finally, there is one reason why you need to remember all the things that the LORD has done in your life, both great and small. In Psalm 77, the psalmist is struggling with depression and has lost all his hopes. There are times I have felt the same questions in my life and probably, at certain times in your life, you have felt that too.
Will the LORD reject me for all time? Will He ever accept me again? Has His mercy come to an end forever? Has His promise been canceled throughout every generation? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has He locked up His compassion because of His anger? – Psalm 77: 7-9 (GW)
There are so many times in my life, I have had asked these questions. And it had made me depressed in innumerable occasions. But finally I read past these verses and saw that the psalmist actually has found a way to overcome those depressing moments in our life. He says in verse 11 that he would do one thing to overcome all those depressing thoughts:
“I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.” – Psalm 77:11 (NIV)
Yes, meditating on the great and small things that the LORD has done in our life will infuse a new strength in our life. It will provide confidence to our soul. It will make us realize how much we are loved by our LORD Jesus Christ. And, my friend, when we do that, we will realize that by all the things that the LORD has done for us, both great and small, He is telling only one thing – that HE, the LORD Almighty, the Most Sovereign God, the True Living God is for us. So, we can say, with confidence: