Sometimes life can be hard, and as Christians we need reminding why we are Christians.
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 iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Let us look at the benefits from God which the Psalmist lists:
1. Forgives all your iniquity
Forgiveness of sins is essential for the Christian life, it is the way we become Christians, and is the greatest gift through Jesus Christ.
Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
2. Heals all your diseases
We may not have all our diseases healed in this life, but physical ailments can never attack eternal life. One day, you will be whole, and so will the nations.
But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.
When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
3. Redeems your life from the pit
Pits are deep and dark and you can't get out unaided. Joseph was thrown into a real pit, and God brought great good from it. Our greatest problem is the pit of sin.
So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the robe of many colours that he wore. And they took him and threw him into a pit.
Then man prays to God, and he accepts him; he sees his face with a shout of joy, and he restores to man his righteousness. He sings before men and says, "I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light."
I waited patiently for the Lord, he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
4. Crowns you with steadfast love and mercy
When an aircraft hits turbulence, the message comes for the passengers to sit down and fasten their seatbelts. When your life gets turbulent, fasten your seatbelt of prayer and leave it to the Pilot.
But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.
5. Satisfies you with good
God does not just give us the minimum we need, he satisfies us, fills us, with all sorts of good things.
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.
And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
6. Your youth is renewed like eagle's
There was a belief that the eagle moults and renews its life, but also eagles fly very strong and very high. In spiritual terms, we can fly high in the spirit.
You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
God's benefits to us are not a one-off thing. He looks after us continually. We may find at times that life is hard, but there are so many blessings that we take for granted. I said to a pastor once that it did not seem as if God was blessing me at that time, and he reminded me that I woke up that morning and I was still breathing. God had given me another day to be with my family, to deal with my problems, and to serve Him.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
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