Praise the Lord!
“Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” – Psalm 103:2 NLT
Gratefulness to God begins with an awareness of all that He has done for us. Failure to recognize God’s activity in our lives makes it extremely unlikely that we will be grateful. It’s hard to praise Him for all that He has done for us if we don’t recognize it to begin with. In this Psalm, David seems to be reminding himself of God’s daily activities in his life. He even says, “May I never forget the good things he does for me” (Psalm 103:2b NLT). Then he goes on to list all those “good things:”
- He forgives all my sins
- He heals all my diseases
- He redeems me from death
- He crowns me with love and tender mercies
- He fills my life with good things
- He renews my youth
- He gives righteousness and justice
- He is compassionate and merciful
- He is slow to get angry
- He is filled with unfailing love
- He will not constantly accuse us
- He doesn’t remain angry with us forever
- He doesn’t punish us for all our sins
- He doesn’t deal harshly with us, as we deserve
- He shows us unfailing love that is immeasurable and unlimited
- He has removed our sins as for as the east is from the west
- He treats us like a father would his children
- He is tender and compassionate
- He knows and understands our weaknesses
- His love for us remains forever
- He rules over everything
That’s a pretty extensive list, and it is not unique to David. Every single one of these “good things” are available to us as His children. They are just as true of my relationship with God as they were of David. The problem is that we don’t tend to think about them. Instead, we dwell on all those things we believe God has failed to do for us. We concentrate on what we believe to be are unanswered prayers and unmet expectations. We may have some specific need we want addressed and, in our estimation, God has failed to deal with it adequately. In the meantime, we fail to recognize and appreciate His unfailing love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace He extends to us day after day – like clockwork.
One of the most amazing realizations David expresses in this Psalm is found in verse 10. The NET Bible translates it this way: “He does not deal with us as our sins deserve; he does not repay us as our misdeeds deserve.” This is another way of looking at God’s incredible mercy and grace. You see, mercy is God not giving you what you deserve (withheld punishment), and grace is God giving you what you don’t deserve (unmerited favor). David understood that God had every right as God to deal with us harshly due to the sin in our lives, but He chose to show mercy instead. Rather than give us what we deserve, God gives us what we don’t deserve – His grace. Until we come to grips with the reality of that statement, we will never truly praise God for who He is and what He has done. Christ’s death on the cross is the ultimate expression of God’s love and grace. His death made possible our forgiveness. His sacrifice allowed God to withhold our punishment because in dying in our place, Christ paid our debt in full. The righteous wrath of God was satisfied once and for all. As a result, God has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. We no longer stand before God as guilty and condemned, but as forgiven and redeemed. He sees us as righteous and holy.
So if we think about it, we have just as much to be grateful for as David did – even more. We have enjoyed the benefit of Christ’s sacrificial, substitutionary death on the cross. So, like David, we should be able to say, “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name” (Psalm 103:1 NLT).
Father, the good things You have done for me are real and deserving of my gratitude and praise. I should be praising You for who You are and all that You have done and continue to do on a daily basis. Open my eyes and help me see Your activity in and around my life. Give me an increasing awareness of Your grace and mercy so that I will praise You more. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men