Summary: We are instructed to give thanks. Some of us struggle to do that because we aren't sure that God has blessed us lately. Situations and circumstances cause us to wonder if God even deserves our thanks! The truth is that we are loaded!
Pt. 1- Benefit 1
One day a year we are reminded to be thankful. This reminder should not be needed since we are commanded to be thankful. Psalm 95, 97, 107, and then in Psalm 118, 1 Chronicles 16, and finally in one of the most interesting instances in Psalm 136. This is an interesting passage because it is almost like the needle gets stuck on the record. The Psalmist apparently knew that to catch something you often need to repeat it. In the first 3 verses he basically says the same exact thing and then after jarring loose from the command he comes back to it and ends the chapter with the same statement.
Psalm 136:1-3, 26
Oh give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good; For his lovingkindness endureth for ever. Oh give thanks unto the God of gods; For his lovingkindness endureth for ever. Oh give thanks unto the Lord of lords; For his lovingkindness endureth for ever: Oh give thanks unto the God of heaven; For his lovingkindness endureth for ever.
But even though we are commanded to be thankful there are days that seems to be very difficult to obey. Why? Most of us don't consider ourselves well off. One of the things that I discovered out of my research for our last series about money is that most Americans, even though they actually fall in the top 1% of the world's wealth earners, never feel like they are wealthy. Couple that with the fact that I often spend time with folks who are facing significant trials, hardships, heartaches, heart breaks and who have experienced unexpected pain, shifts in life path and tragedies. Therefore, being thankful, giving thanks and even believing that God is good can be a challenge. Our poor man mentality and then life's hardships make it very difficult for many of us to understand, comprehend, and remember that we are loaded.
When you ask my dad to pray over a meal or to start off the day one of the most repeated phrases that has been burned into my spirit is that he almost always prays, "thank you for the daily benefits that You have loaded our lives with!" Over the course of the next few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas we are going to examine the benefits we have as God's children. Hopefully, even in face of difficult or less than perfect circumstances you too will come to a place of thankfulness as you embrace the fact that you are loaded. In fact, let's get a little practice in . . . touch your neighbor and will a little attitude tell them "you many not know it but I am loaded!"
Text: Psalms 103:1-5
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sin 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.
a. Control your soul.
David takes control of his own soul. He talks to his soul and says, "My soul will praise Him". He says to himself don't forget. I think David understood that we have a tendency to be extremely forgetful. He knew that life would strike blows that would rattle our ability to remember and we would view God through the lens of the immediate. He is trying to get us to refocus and in spite of what you see now. . . remember that God is still worthy of praise and that we can't afford to forget His worthiness. Practice that this morning. Say to your own soul. . . I am loaded! I will praise the Lord.
Then as another tool to help him to remember David begins to list the benefits he has received as a direct result of his relationship with God. How many of you ever need to stop and rehearse the benefits of your job? On a bad day when everyone is driving you nuts it does us good to stop and remember the 3 week paid vacations, the 401K, the annual bonus, or the birthday lunch. The benefits need to be rehearsed. David does that here. He reminds himself that there are benefits to this relationship that he has established with God. It is here that I want us to land. In spite of everything you are facing or will face we have benefits that make it worth it.
b. We are loaded with forgiveness.
We can't afford to forget forgiveness. David begins his benefit list with the greatest benefit. He states we are loaded with forgiveness. What has He forgiveness us of?