Psalm 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…
What is the opposite of blessing the Lord? Here, the opposite is not cursing him but forgetting his benefits.
Remembering all the Lord’s benefits leads to blessing and praising his name. It is an inevitable outcome. If you are spiritually downcast, the solution is not to simply “cheer up” but to fix your gaze on that which will cheer you. If you are focused on the Lord and all his benefits, the wonder will follow.
Of course, it can still be quite the battle just to remember to remember. The people of God often forget what God has done, even just a generation after a round of great miracles (Judges 2:10). And the Psalmists frequently have to do some soul-talk self-talk, like we see here (also Psalm 42, 43). But if you can remember to remember, you will be strengthened, and praise will find its way to your lips.
This whole Psalm is devoted to this kind of soul-rallying discipline of remembrance, and my prayer for you would be that it encourages your heart to reflect on all the benefits of God.
One final detail is worth noticing in this verse.
The Lord has “benefits.” That may sound funny to say. It might sound like we’re talking about work benefits, things like insurance and vacation days. But the Lord, too, has benefits, and we are encouraged to think of these when we think of Him.
The Lord dispenses gifts. He hands out blessings. He distributes benefits.
The Lord is the Father who gives good gifts.
You will sometimes meet Christians who say we should want God for God alone, no strings attached, no additional presents needed. I know what they mean. Even in human love we sing things like “She likes me for me, not because…” By that we mean the significant other loves the core of us, with or without the add-ons. It is a love that endures in sickness and health, for richer and poorer. Certainly, there could be a temptation to get overly enamored with the gifts so as to never engage the Giver himself.
But God is Father, and fathers give life and benefits. It is the essence of being a Father to be giving (Reeves), and so while we can appreciate the caution to not get so caught up in the gifts that we miss the Giver, we can, nonetheless, note that the Bible often invites us to consider the Lord and His benefits, to view it all as one beautiful whole to be celebrated and anticipated.
So, remember today your Heavenly Father and all His benefits. He loves you!