“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 forgiveth all thine iniquities; who health all thy diseases;
Who redeemed thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies;” (Psalm 103:1-5) . There is a song that goes right with this Psalms and I would like us to look at it.’” When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost; Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done. Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done; Count your many blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see that God hath done.”
This hymn of praise is without a doubt a peer in all the world’s literature. It is the language of a man who has stirred by his soul to contemplate the goodness and faithfulness of his God. His words are untouched by sorrow, complaint, or selfishness.
From the beginning to the end, the stanzas cascade like a torrent of thanksgiving. Indeed, the psalm has been compared to a stream that gradually acquires strength and volume till its waves of praise swell like those of the sea. Underlying the magnificence of this poetic movement is the call to count our blessings day by day. The psalmist tells us that with thankful hearts:
“Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!” (verse 1)This is where every soul must start. Before we can thank God for his blessings we must thank him for his being; and this is what the psalmist commands us to do. He urges us to engage all our intellectual, emotional, and volitional powers in blessing and magnifying the holy name of God.
In these days that we live in people are encouraged to adopt unworthy views of God and of his Word, but Gods Word is both important and wholesome that we come to such a psalm as this one. Perhaps you aren’t feeling too blessed this morning, maybe you can’t see the gifts that God has given you, maybe the pain of life has overwhelmed you to the point where you don’t see anything more of how blessed you truly are. Like so many people today, maybe you have been so blessed, that even those blessings don’t look all that good anymore.
One of the evidences of the havoc which sin has caused in our lives is that we are such creatures of forgetfulness. Whether in times of failure or of success, we tend to overlook the constant blessings which God lavishes upon us. So the divine poet exhorts us not to forget all his benefits. William Law writes this, “Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world? It is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives most alms, or is most eminent for temperance, chastity, or justice, but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God willeth, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness, and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.”
How, then, can we overcome our mindset of apathy and more towards a true spirit of thanksgiving in a culture that teaches us to enter into the rat race and compete for status with a world of un-thankful people. Well, I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, but I do think we need to recognize God’s blessing in all of their many manifestations and give thanks to him even when it seems impossible to do so. Make an effort today to recognize the blessings you’ve come to take for granted.
Focus on what you have rather than on what you don’t have, and you will see if it doesn’t improve your attitude. It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. But, a life of true fulfillment can come to those who are also thankful for setbacks. As hard as it may be, find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.
As we look around us in the land of plenty in which we live, it is my prayer that you will see through new eyes each day the ways that God has blessed us and never take God or those blessing for granted. This year, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, may we each see God for who he really is and see ourselves as who we really are: People who have been blessed beyond measure and people who need to give thanks to the giver of all good gifts. We have been given the bread of life, we know this bread and have had our only lasting hunger state, may we now be truly thankful to God who deserves our thanksgiving!