“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” (Psalm 103:1-2).
I was relieved recently to find out that I'm not the only one who forgets things. According to researcher Karen Bolla, everyone does at one time or another. These are the six things people most often forget:
• (6) faces 42%
• (5) what was said 49%
• (4) words 53%
• (3) telephone numbers 57%
• (2) where something is 60%
• (1) names 83%
In an effort to remember things, especially people’s names, I would invoke a technique that involved associating the person’s name with something with which I was familiar. It worked well, but it did require conscious effort on my part to remember the names of these people as I used this technique.
In Psalm 103 King David encouraged himself to use conscious effort to remember God’s blessings upon him: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2). As a man after God’s heart, David knew that he, as well as other men, had a tendency to forget about all the manifold ways in which God had blessed him.
Throughout Psalm 103, David reminds himself of how God physically blesses us: (1) God protects us and provides our daily nourishment to sustain our physical lives: “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. (Psalm 103:4-5), and (2) the Lord executes justice for the oppressed so we can live in peace: “The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed” (Psalm 103:6).
However, in the majority of Psalm 103, David reminds himself of how God has spiritually blessed us: (1) God is merciful and slow to anger in His character: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever” (Psalm 103:8-9), (2) God understands our weaknesses: “As a father pities his children so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14), (3) God has not given us what we deserved: “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:10-11), but, instead, (4) God has forgiven us of our sins, “Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases” so that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:3, 12).
Do you have a tendency to forget God’s blessings in your life? I do. I think we see great wisdom in David making a conscious effort to remind himself of all the manifold ways God had blessed his life. Today, I will remember to “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2).
“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7).