Summary: Based on Psalms 103:1-5, five reasons why we need to gives thanks to the Lord based on His benefits.
Importance of Giving Thanks to the Lord
“Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Although we are supposed to be thankful at all times, I am thankful that we have a special Thanksgiving Day when we are reminded to be thankful to God and to express to Him our thanks. It’s important because it’s easy to forget all of the Lord’s goodness to us and instead of focusing on what He’s done and who He is to us, we can find ourselves focusing on what we don’t have, comparing ourselves with others and, if not careful, being ungrateful instead of being thankful.
The Psalmist reminds us that the key to be thankful is to think of His benefits, or, like verse 1 puts it, forget not His benefits.
It’s important to note who the Psalmist is speaking to – his own soul. There are in some occasions the Psalmist addresses people in general (117:1), other times he’s addressing angels (103:20), other times the saints (30:4), other times Israel (115:9), other times everything that has breath (150:6), etc. However, in this particular psalm, he’s addressing his own soul and commanding it to bless the Lord.
Although David might not have had a degree in Psychology, he knew by revelation the complex tripartite nature of man – spirit, body, and soul, intricately woven together so much that sometimes you can hardly tell the difference between these different parts of our being. David knew by revelation that we have a soul which encompasses our intellect, will and emotions, and that sometimes the soul doesn’t want to tow the line of God’s will. That’s why we need to command or speak to it to tow the line in agreeing with the spirit regarding God’s will.
David goes ahead and summarizes the five areas that we need to bless the Lord for:
First, The Forgiveness of our sins (1a).
He begins with what is important - above all: the forgiveness of sins. This is important because it affects all the other areas of our lives.
The Lord forgives all of our sins. At the cross Jesus paid it all. When he cried, “It is finished,” a term (tetelestai) in Greek that means “Paid in Full,” Jesus not only just paid our debt of sin but paid in full. He didn’t pay a deposit, or a quarter or half but paid in full. Did you notice the time Jesus uttered those words? It was all the way at the end of his suffering, when he was just about to give up His spirit. We read in John 19:30, “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” He completed the suffering and then shouted in victory that it’s PAID IN FULL. Hallelujah!
We normally have a hard time believing this or rather receiving this. We easily agree with the scriptures that say Christ has paid for all of our sins but we put a footnote on the bottom that says. “except this or that.” Many a times we live in the New Testament era but walk in Old Testament principles. What do I mean by that? I mean we live trying to please God by our performance, our obedience to the law and think that if we obey God we somehow earn His grace. This attitude will always make us miserable because we can never “perform” well enough to please God, leave a lone pleasing ourselves. We are always fall short and feeling miserable. Our performance is Christ who is our holiness, righteousness and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30).
It’s important to understand that Christ has forgiven ALL of our sins and all that we need to do is to receive His forgiveness. Yes, Christ has already paid for our sins in full and all that we need to do is to receive by faith, evidenced by repentance, the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 26:18).
Second, Healing (1b)
The second benefit is healing. Now, remember he’s speaking to his soul. So, to be true to the context, he’s talking about the soul’s diseases. What are soul’s diseases? The soul’s diseases or state of unhealthiness is like depression, fear, perplexity, distress, etc. In one of the Psalm (42:5,11), David actually speaks to his soul and asks it, “Why are you downcast within me, O my soul?” And he goes ahead and commands it to trust in the Lord.