A Psalm Of Gratitude
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all His benefits. — Ps 103:2
The psalmist is fond of addressing the soul, as though to arouse it from lethargy. Within is a whole choice of minstrels, let them all awake! All that is within should be attuned to God and His praise. Let us not repine for the past, or strain after the future. We often forget the rare benefits of the present moment, because we suppose that there is something more absolutely satisfying ahead. Here and now God is forgiving, healing, redeeming, crowning, satisfying, and executing righteous acts. Live in the present! Live in God, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever! It is enough. The past records of God’s dealings with His people are an incentive to faith. What He was, He is. He is a fountain brimming to the full with pitying love, which flows over in mercy and forgiveness.
There are four comparisons and contrasts in Psa 103:10-18. “As the heaven….As the east….As a Father….As for man.” The ancients thought that the sky was solid, a kind of blue ceiling. What an immensity of new meaning we can read in the words: “‘As the heaven is high above the earth.” There is an infinity of distance above us, but not more infinite than God’s mercy. To the Eastern mind, east and west were the points at which the sun appeared to rise on earth’s surface, “pillowing his chin on the orient wave,” and drawing the curtains of the night. For us the telescope reveals the almost inconceivable distance of the earth from the sun, but this is the distance to which God has removed our transgressions. A father’s pity for his weak and tiny offspring is very touching. The strongest plea with God is that of helpless weakness! The Son of God was made in the likeness of man, and “He knoweth our frame and remembereth that we are dust.”
The last contrast was in our Lord’s mind when He pointed to the flowers at His feet (Mat 6:30). Generations of flowers bloom and die in the broad expanse of nature—so frail, so beautiful, so transient. The generations of mankind are not more permanent. But the mercy of the Lord dates from everlasting and endures for ever.
The Psalmist’s voice is heard, “Bless the Lord, O my soul!” We are reminded of the conductor of a vast orchestra and choir, whose trained ear missed the note of the piccolo. So God will miss your voice if you refrain from His praise.
O Blessed God, ever engaged in giving Thy choicest gifts to us Thine unworthy children, accept the gratitude for which we have no words. May we rejoice in all the good Thou sendest us. Amen.