The more you complain the less you will be thankful. The more you grumble the less you will bless the Lord for who He is. Psalm 103 is a call by way of example to call attention to the intrinsic goodness of God. If we are to do so as the Psalmist does, we must first of all be committed to blessing the Lord personally for all His characteristic benefits.
In the first five verses of Psalm 103 we are exhorted by way of example that we are to not forget all that God has done, but rather wholeheartedly call attention to His blessedness from which all good things flow to us. So far we have considered this:
- The Greatest of All Benefits to Recount: “Who pardons all your iniquities” (v. 3)
- Bless the Lord Who Heals and Delivers From Death: “Who heals all your diseases. Who redeems your life from the pit” (v.3-4).
- Bless the Lord Who Crowns Us: “Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion”
The final two reasons that the Psalm blesses the Lord has to do with the fact that He is the One that gives satisfaction in an unsatisfying world:
Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle (v. 5.)
Do you remember the last time you ate a really great meal and you sat back and thought or said: “Wow, that was really satisfying.” That is what God does for His children. He satisfies us with good things. He really satiates us with good things.
If you are a child of God, on the authority of Scripture I can say that God is doing good things in your life right now. Every good thing you have ever had, has come down from God the Father who is the Father of lights with whom there is no variation of shifting shadow (James 1:17). In addition, all things are working together for your good (Romans 8:28). In an unsatisfying world God satisfies His own with Himself as we worship Him Who is the giver of all good things to us as His children.
Why is it that as a child of God we may not at this moment be convinced that God is doing good things in our lives? Satiating us with His kindness? Why at any given moment is God not enough for us? Could it have to do with our grumbling naturally drowns out the beautiful symphony of God’s blessings flowing from His blessedness? Could it be that our complaining has blinded us to the gifts that have flowed our way from the intrinsic goodness of the Lord? Even in the worst of physical or relational troubles in our life we are in union with Jesus-which is the greatest good that God has satiated us with.
What is the result of all this satiation of goodness from the Lord? Our youth is renewed. The reason that the eagle is used as an analogy is not that eagles actually renew their own strength. Rather, eagles are a picture of youthful strength. Have you ever found yourself exhausted and started talking to yourself about God’s benefits and then suddenly felt like you had renewed strength in your heart?
Now that we have come to the close of the opening 5 verses we need to ask to concluding questions:
First, how do you bless the Lord? We have seen that it is by blessing Him personally for all His benefits.
But second, and probably very fruitful for us to consider is this question: “Why do we not truly bless the Lord more with all that is within us?” To answer that question we can turn to two Old Testament passages that illustrate the answer.
The Israelites were on the verge of conquering the Promised Land after 40 years of wondering in the wilderness:
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. 11 “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; 12 otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery (Deuteronomy 8:10-14).
Now consider 2 Chronicles 32:24-25 which records the mortal illness of Hezekiah:
In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill; and he prayed to the LORD, and the LORD spoke to him and gave him a sign. 25 But Hezekiah gave no return for the benefit he received, because his heart was proud; therefore wrath came on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.
Do you see the reason we are not blessing the Lord more and more for His characteristic benefits? It is because of our pride. So what is the answer for proud people who need to bless the Lord?
2 Chronicles 32:25 answers that question for us: “However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.”
Proud people do not bless the Lord. Increasingly humble people increasingly bless the Lord.
We have been exhorted to bless the Lord for His characteristic personal benefits. In order to do so we must focus on the benefits as coming from God. The Christian life is like a river. The waters are God’s blessing. And the river is full and overflowing with His blessing. What we need to do is follow the edge of God’s river of benefits toward us until we get back to the source which is God Himself. Then we will truly be blessing God’s holy name for His personal benefits.