Psalm 103: 1-5 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 iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
As we approach 2019, I happened to be reading Psalm 103. In it, David is giving thanks to God for the blessings in his life. I find his order of thanksgiving for the benefits of God interesting. In math, there is a concept known as “order of operations”. When presented with an equation, there is a certain order that we must follow to solve the equation and arrive at the right answer. Many fail to respect the order of operation and end up with an incorrect answer, genuinely frustrated because they thought they had the right answer.
David follows an order of Thanksgiving here. It’s a flow, much like the mathematical order of operations. He starts with thanking God for the benefit of relationship and communion with Him. This is always the place to start with God. We must always start with heartfelt appreciation for the forgiveness and restoration of relationship that we find in Christ. Without this restoration, nothing else matters and we ultimately end up with an incorrect answer.
Next, David thanks God for healing him of his sicknesses. We too must thank God for our health. How many health risks has God removed from us, sometimes without us even knowing we were at risk? How many times has He healed without us knowing we needed healing? Ask any person struggling with health and you will quickly realize that health is a blessing. For those of us who wake up in health, whatever the state, it is a blessing that is denied others. We must be thankful for His blessing when we are able to rise in the morning and spend another day serving Him.
Next, David thanks God for redeeming his life from destruction. We too must thank God for redeeming our life from destruction. How many times has God redeemed us? Who knows? Some redemption takes place without us knowing we’re in trouble. How might life be different if God were not in our life? God restores and redeems. He is slow to anger and quick to redeem. The Bible states that pride goeth before destruction. God grants us humility, so we might avoid pride.
David continues to thank God for His loving kindness and tender mercies. We too must thank God for love, kindness, and mercy.
Finally, David thanks God for the good things that satisfy the appetite. Notice the last thing in this order of thanksgiving is earthly, physical, “body satisfying” things.
In the order of thankfulness, food and things are not worth much without love and kindness. Love and kindness don’t mean much when our life is in a state of destruction. An ordered life doesn’t hold much enjoyment when our health is failing. Great health and all the rest mean nothing without the highest order of the operation – a relationship with Almighty God through Jesus.
We spend so much time on the last operation. We focus so little on the first. Yet, the first is where all the others start their cascade. In 2019, let’s focus more on the relationship and communion with God and let the others flow from this first operation.