Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:2
“And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you-with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant-and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Deuteronomy 6:10-12
I forget stuff all the time.
I forget to buy dog food (how could I when I have so much affection for those two filthy curs – I mean, sweet little bundles of love). I forget to exercise (on purpose). Last week I forgot to take the trash out on the appointed day. Nothing like keeping your stinking garbage an extra week. Sometimes I forget to take medicine I’m supposed to take – good thing I’m such a paragon of health and vitality.
How easy it is to forget God’s benefits. God warned Israel that when they were enjoying the blessings of the Promised Land to take care lest they forget how he delivered them from Egypt. Really? How could they forget all the plagues, a pillar of fire and looking at the walls of water on either side of them as they sallied forth on dry land right through the middle of the Red Sea? If Pittsburgh was overrun by frogs, and even the Steelers had frogs in their bedrooms, I don’t think I’d forget that. But God knows our tendency to forget, so he warned Israel about forgetting his mighty deliverance. And you know what? They forgot.
We should try to develop the habit of regularly thanking God for his blessings. In everything give thanks. Give thanks continually. We should be the most grateful people on the face of the earth. Paul prayed for his converts to abound in thanksgiving.
A few suggestions:
When you pray begin with thanks. Enter his gates with thanksgiving. Before bringing all our requests to God, thank him for a few minutes. Thank him for the blessings of the previous day. For helping you on that exam. For protecting your child. For a great time in church.
Keep a prayer journal – write down things you are thankful for. Two or three times a week, before I begin my requests, I take a few minutes to write out my thanks. A few simple sentences. Nothing profound. But it helps me focus and remember to give thanks.
Thank God for all he did to redeem you. For Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension. For all Jesus endured to bring you to God.
Thank God for your spouse and children if you have them. For their lives and health and all God’s mercies to them.
Thank God for spiritual blessings. That he pardons all your sins, joins you to Christ, and adopted you as his child. For the Holy Spirit and power. For spiritual gifts. For transforming you into the likeness of his Son.
Thank God for his word and hundreds of promises. For promising to hear your prayers, and to be with you when you pass through flood and fire. For his promises to counsel you and give you wisdom. For his promises to bless our children. For his promise to complete the good work he began in you.
Thank God for your church. Your friends, your home group leader, Your children’s ministry teachers, your pastors.
Thank God for material blessings. For your health and strength. For your job and apartment or home. For your car and gas for it. For your computer and phone and all kinds of other luxuries and conveniences.
Thank God for how he treats you. For his patience and long-suffering, faithfulness, compassion and sympathy, and his steadfast love.
Thank God for as many mercies as you can discern in every affliction. For any relief and help. For somehow working your pain and sadness for your good and God’s glory. For humbling you through it. For his sympathy and compassion toward you.
Thank God for future blessings. That you will see Jesus face to face and worship and enjoy him forever. That God has prepared great rewards in heaven for you. That you will see loved ones again in heaven. That you will have a resurrection body. That Jesus will wipe every tear from you eye.
You get the idea.
Lord Jesus, thank you, thank you, thank you for all your benefits. Help us to abound in thankfulness.