Yesterday we talked about praise. This is where you acknowledge and meditate on what he is or what he’s done in general. This is in contrast to thanksgiving, where you talk about and think about what he is and has done for you personally.
To talk about that, there’s no better passage I can think of than today’s reading. Quite frankly, this is one of my favorite Psalms, and one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible (I know, I know, it’s all great to you, isn’t it, Keith?).
I know that the NIV translates it as “praise the Lord,”--and I’m not knocking the translation—but the verses immediately following it would fit into my definition of “thanksgiving” than “praise.” Anyway, literally it says to “bless the Lord,” (which is why the NASB renders it as such), but the NIV translators (along with translators of other versions) decided to try to capture the meaning instead of just the literal words.
This is what the Lord has done for me. If you’re a believer in Christ, then quite frankly there should be no room for “pity parties.” Here are my notes:
· · I’m sorry for repeating myself, but it’s just too great a reminder: I recall once when I saw a Preacher on TV speaking about this Psalm, and this was his point regarding vs. 2 (“forget not all his benefits”):
“Don’t forget all the things he’s done for you. Of course, there’s no way that you can remember all his benefits, but at least don’t forget all of them.” If I just started listing all his benefits, I’d do nothing else. In fact, I’d venture to guess that’s going to be one of our main occupations in Glory.
· Please note that first and foremost in his mind is that glorious truth that the Lord has forgiven all our sins. If you’ve been a believer for a while, maybe you've forgotten this benefit. Hopefully the Lord’s been making progress in your life concerning being like Christ. You should think more, act more, and talk more like Jesus than you did a year ago. If you’re not making any progress, that’s a sign that something’s seriously wrong. But maybe the wonderful (and necessary) truth of our progress in godliness has an inherit danger. We’re no longer involved in blatant and egregious sins like drunkenness or adultery or hatred of other believers. But I guarantee you that there’s still sin that he’s dealing with in your life. Here’s a clarifying thought: You deserve Hell no less right now than the moment before you received Christ. If we really want to get into the topic of what you deserve, he still owes you nothing but judgment. Anything other than you screaming in the Lake of Fire is pure grace. And he’s forgiven all of it. He’s given you the righteousness of Christ. He'll never ever ever bring your sins up again. Ever.
· Of course, we still live in a fallen world, and Christians get sick and die just like anyone else. But he will heal all your diseases, one way or another. If you do struggle with sickness or infirmity in this world, keep in mind that he’s not finished the work of redemption yet. He’s already redeemed your soul. But the day will come when the Lord Jesus redeems your body, and sickness and weakness will only be a fading memory, a bad dream from which you’ve woken up.
· He’s not only pulled you from the pit of darkness, death, the power of Satan, etc. That’d be wonderful enough, considering the pit was one that we jumped into. But he’s pulled us out of the pit, cleaned us up inside and out, and has crowned us with glory and honor. We’re the co-heirs of Christ. Everything that Jesus is as a human being, we will be.
· And in the here and now, he satisfies our soul with good things. First, he satisfies us like no one and nothing can. And he's satisfied us with good things, only good things. Even the best father in the world can’t claim that. I don’t know about you, but I have some pretty goofy ideas at times about what’s really “good” for me. But being the perfect Father he is, we can trust him to give us what we really need for our good and his glory (which are perfectly congruous).
· As the years pass and I’m getting older, I’m starting to appreciate passages like the last part of vs. 5: “so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Think about an eagle soaring majestically among the clouds. While we walk with him, he lifts our spirits, which can even translate into a “spring into our step” as we make it thru this dark fallen world which is passing away. And of course just like the reference above to healing all our diseases, this will be completely fulfilled in Glory at the renewal of all things, especially the renewal of our bodies to be like Christ’s.
Once again, I urge you to take this passage and personalize it, something like “Lord Jesus, you truly have forgiven all my sins, redeemed my life from the pit and crowned me with glory and honor. The phrase “thank you” has never seemed so inadequate.