It is especially easy to forget all his benefits when we are confronted with a season of trial never experienced before. Our trials and difficulties tend to overshadow the many past blessings received from the hand of the Lord. But we must not allow that to happen. The Word of God is clearly teaching us to remember His blessings. We must learn to give God praise even as we travel through the valleys of life.
As you know, the patriarch Job certainly qualifies to give instruction on the subject of sorrow, disappointment, and trial. It was after he lost all that was dear to him in life—including his health—that Job said:
“What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” In other words, when difficult days come shall we forget all of his benefits? Shall we expect that in this world we are only to receive good? Shall we expect the Lord to shield us from every tear and disappointment?
Job certainly understood that in this fallen world trouble comes. And when it comes we must be prepared to put the matter in the hand of the Lord who rules over all. Like Job, we should never charge God foolishly. Rather, we should maintain a thankful heart as we reflect upon God’s past goodness.
Furthermore, God’s promise of future blessings should rejoice our heart. The clouds of temporal sorrow must give way to a brighter day as hope in Christ takes hold of the heart. Such hope itself is cause for thanksgiving on our part. Indeed, bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits!
Now let me reflect upon some things I personally do not want to forget. Perhaps you would be wise to remember these and similar things that God has done in your life.
First, I do not want to forget the day Christ saved me. I am thankful that God’s Spirit came to me as a boy and showed me my need for Jesus Christ as Savior. And not only has he saved me, but he has taught me the gospel in such a wonderful way that I now enjoy the full assurance of my salvation.
The blessing of full assurance is something I have treasured now for many years. This is such a powerful blessing in my life that personal trials simply cannot move me away from the sustaining hope I possess in Christ. Simply stated, I will not allow any disappointment that comes in this life to put a dark cloud between me and my Savior. When I am sad, he makes me glad!
Although tears from a broken heart may for a moment cloud my vision, I will return to my secret place of worship with a “sacrifice of thanksgiving” for a Savior who has redeemed me, who has kept me, and who will never leave me nor forsake me. He has begun a good work in me and he will not let me go until he finishes it in heaven one glorious day! He has an undying, unchanging, unfailing commitment to me and all of his children! How glorious is our salvation. By all means, don’t forget the covenant he has made with you!
I assure you of this, when you stop to reflect again upon all that belongs to you in Christ your soul will soon rise to say, “Bless the Lord! Bless the Lord! Bless the Lord, O my soul!” This is exactly why the Lord desires that we count our blessings—the greatest of which is our salvation. And as we count them, a fresh batch of heart-felt worship will fill our hearts and become a sweet odor of praise received by our God as we offer our thanksgiving to Him.
Next, I don’t want to forget how he has fed me all of these years. The old patriarch Jacob was on his death bed as his Son Joseph came to see him for the last time. And the Scripture says that Jacob “blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day . . . bless the lads and let my name be named on them.”
And after Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people. But did you notice that even on his death bed Jacob was counting his blessings! He did not forget how God had fed him all his life. What about you and I? Do we forget? Shouldn’t we slow down long enough on a regular basis to count his blessings? Hasn’t the Lord been good to feed you and cloth you and even supply many good things in excess of your needs? Then bless him with your praise and bring your thanksgiving with a grateful heart. Forget not a single one of His blessings!
I’m going to finish with one more thought: I will not forget his retirement benefits. One of the attractions of certain jobs is the retirement package that comes as part of the compensation for taking the job and remaining faithful to the job for a certain amount of years. That’s nice, but you would do well to remember the Lord’s retirement plan. Don’t forget, or lose sight of what he has planned for you.
Let me tell you, the Lord has quite the retirement party planned for his own! In fact, he has told us that even now he is busy preparing a place for us and when our last day of labor is over this side of eternity it will be time to rest. John the Revelator said, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”
Let me tell you something else about this retirement party: the Lord has a very special list of guests that will be there. I was looking at my list and I noticed that my mom’s name was there, and my grandmother’s name was there, and I also noticed the names of several beloved aunts and uncles on that list, and then I saw the names of some dear friends that used to labor with me right here in this church. My, what a list of guests the Lord has in a book that he calls the book of life!
You know I think if our spirit ever gets a bit low all we need to do is get alone with the Lord and start thinking about all of his “benefits.” If you are low in spirit for whatever reason, focus again on all of his benefits. The good news is, He has all the details of our contract written down in this book! And if you have forgotten some of the details, then just get the book down and read again what the blood of Christ has purchased for you!
And as you draw some fresh water from the well of salvation your spirit will be revived, your soul will be lifted, and your eyes will be fastened once again on your long home. How sweet the music is there! How joyous is the celebration there! How pure are the people there! And you talk about “homeland security!” There is never anything but peace there and nothing can ever threaten the security of those who will walk the streets of that city! For the King is on his throne and nothing “will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord!”
I say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Indeed, bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name!