A Song of Gratitude

KEY VERSE: “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” —Psalm 103:8


THIS PSALM IS a song of gratitude composed by David. All of us have much for which to be thankful. What a wonderful way singing is, for us to express our appreciation to God for his goodness! Note the deep feeling of gratitude that David had as he wrote: “Bless the Lord, O m y soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” (vs. 1) Every morning that we awake from a night’s rest we should remember, “My earliest thought I desire shall be, What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me.” (Morning Resolve) To be aware of God’s benefits is to feel gratitude for God’s great love.

Our environment is conducive to life—God has given us air to breathe, food, water, and all the necessities of life. But, above all, he has forgiven our iniquities. This we should never forget. One of the least expensive, but most highly valued offerings we can present to God is our thanksgiving to him for mercies past and present. “Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”—Heb. 13:15

Our forgiveness by God is conditional. As Jesus taught us to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us” (Matt. 6:12), so we must do. To be forgiven, we must learn to be forgiving, and thoroughly so. God is thorough in his forgiveness, as we read: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”—Ps 103:12

David listed many of God’s benefits toward us, in addition to forgiveness. After forgiveness he mentioned spiritual health. He wrote: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; … who healeth all thy diseases.” (Ps. 103:2,3) In God’s kingdom his forgiveness will be accompanied by actual physical health. Many seek such benefits today, but those who have been called to follow after Jesus know that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) Again, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” (II Tim. 2:12) Although we expect to have sufferings, we are indeed grateful if some of these are alleviated when it is the Lord’s will for us. But we are especially grateful for spiritual health—for having all our spiritual ‘diseases’ healed, which enables us to endure all the necessary experiences.

David reminds us that life itself is a wondrous benefit, and that eternal life is promised to us because Jesus died as our ransom. “Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.” (Ps. 103:4) It is because God is “merciful and gracious” that he gives us these benefits. He is “slow to anger,” and “plenteous in mercy.” (Ps. 103:8) “As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.” (Ps. 102:11) Such mercy and love is high, indeed!

God knows our many weaknesses which are due to our fallen condition. He is fully aware of our limitations. David said: “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear [reverence] him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”—vss. 13,14

When we recount all of God’s mercies towards us, past and present, it evokes a song of gratitude that comes deep from within our hearts. As we continue along our Christian walk, we sing:

“When all thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view,
I’m lost, in wonder, love, and praise.
Hymns of Dawn, #324

Dawn Bible Students Association
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