Do Not Forget His Benefits

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Psalm 103 famously opens with these lyrics:

“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy Name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (verses 1-5).

Wow! That’s jaw-dropping, heart-fluttering, praiseworthy good news! The worship leader David is imploring his soul to brag on God—compliment Him, toast Him, enjoy Him—for the amazing things He does, and lists here five specific benefits reserved for God-worshipers. Why not take your cue from David? Why not call your soul to attention even right now? Yes, call your soul to praise our Father with “all your inmost being,” with everything you are!

And here’s why.

1. God forgives all your sins!

It’s absolutely true! Paul announces in Acts 13:38, “My friends, I want you to know that through Jesus, the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you!” You may feel that you’ve sinned a great deal, but God’s forgiveness is infinitely—infinitely—bigger than your greatest sin. Full stop. God doesn’t rehearse our sins either, bringing them up from time to time to humiliate us or “keep us grounded” (1 Corinthians 13:5); He has ripped to shreds the piece of paper that had a list of your wrongdoings and has chosen to permanently forget that any of them ever happened (Isaiah 43:25). 

2. God heals all your diseases!

I marvel at David’s audacity. David is deeply convinced that God heals all—not one, not a few, not sometimes, not mostly, but all! Oh, every single one!—of the diseases that plague humanity. And you know what? I have that same audacious faith. After all, there is no such thing as disease, or sickness, or a tumor, or mental illness, or diabetes, or cancer, or lupus, or paralyzed limbs, or Alzheimer’s, or anything of the like in Heaven, and Jesus has a mission to bring Heaven to earth (Matthew 6:10). God does not quake in fear at the Goliath we call “breast cancer,” and I’ve seen Him heal that. God’s eyes don’t turn into fearful saucers when someone is diagnosed with scoliosis, and I’ve seen Him heal that, too, on a number of occasions. Everything is easy for God! And like David, we can bank on this statement of fact: God heals all our diseases (Matthew 9:35).

3. God redeems your life from the pit!

Merriam-Webster defines “redeem” like this: “to buy back, to win back; to free from what distresses or harms; to change for the better; to restore.” Believer, God has bought you from hell. The cost was excruciatingly high, but He gladly paid it in full. If you let Him, He will free you from all that distresses you! God is in the mood right now to change your situation for the better! Let Him redeem your marriage, your sex, the relationship you have with your children, your finances, your career, your friendships. God is enthusiastic about restoring you to a better position than He found you!

4. God crowns you with love and compassion!

Isn’t the picture this conjures up absolutely sweet? I tell you, I have a difficult time not melting in the beauty of this imagery. God has not seated you at His table reluctantly. Nobody was twisting God’s arm when He chose you out of the orphanage. Oh, dear friend, He loves you so thoroughly and thoughtfully! He places a glittering crown of compassion on your head, He drapes His kindness over your shoulders like a royal cloak, He wraps around you a sash of His good thoughts toward you, and He parades you as His deeply loved bride (Romans 8:38-39).

5. God satisfies your desires with good things!

Elsewhere, the psalmist records that if “take delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts” (Psalm 37:4). What is the desire of your heart? A healthy marriage? A baby? A career in ministry? That your beloved family member would come to faith in Christ? What is the thing you earnestly want? Listen, God satisfies your desires! Oh, yes, He has given us His word that He will quench our thirst. And He doesn’t get off on teasing us with an ugly thing—when we ask for fish to eat, He doesn’t trick us with a snake (Luke 11:11-13)! He fills our lives with good things. And David mentions also that the purpose is to “renew our youth,” to cause us to live as vibrantly and passionately and wonder-filled as when we were young and in our prime! Wow! Now, if you are in your prime currently like I am, then I choose to believe God will supernaturally “multiply” or “enhance” the vibrancy of this season! That’s just who He is. That’s just one of those benefits that is afforded to God-worshipers, one of those benefits David tells us to remind our souls regularly.

Friends, God does beautiful things—far better than we could ask or imagine—and the Psalms instruct us to worship Him for those mighty things He does! My prayer in this piece is twofold: that your understanding of God would be recalibrated to His generous, good, loving Fatherhood, and that you are filled again with wonder to worship Him.

From my heart,