Lest We Forget
(H) Of David. (1) Bless Yahweh, O my soul, and all (that is) within me (bless) his holy name. (2) Bless Yahweh, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits. (3) He forgives all your iniquity. He heals all your diseases. (4) He redeems your life from the pit. He crowns you with steadfast love and compassion. (5) He satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (6) Yahweh works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.
Three repetitions mark the opening segment of this lovely psalm. First, we find the phrase, “Bless Yahweh, O my soul,” used in each of the opening two verses (vss. 1 & 2). Next, the word “all” is found four times (vss. 1-3) to emphasize how our worship should result from the countless ways God blesses us.
The final repetition is not so obvious, namely the six participial verb forms which are translated as indicatives in English (vss. 3-6). These catalog a wide range of “benefits” which Yahweh has bestowed on those whom he loves. He forgives...heals...redeems...crowns...satisfies...works righteousness and justice for all who are his.
I. Exhortations to bless Yahweh (1 & 2)
II. Reasons for blessing Yahweh (3-6)
Because of all the benefits he has bestowed on us we should continually offer to Yahweh our heartfelt praise.
The famous author, Rudyard Kipling, composed a poem for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 celebrating the glories of the British Empire. Entitling his piece Recessional, Kipling used a couplet which he repeated in several of the stanzas to remind his readers that when nations are raised to a position of great wealth and power, they all too easily fail to remember the true reason for their high status: “Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, / lest we forget – lest we forget!”
To keep from sinning against the Lord with a spirit of ingratitude, David exhorted himself (and us) with the words, “and do not forget all his benefits.” In similar fashion, Paul reminded the believers in Thessalonica to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes. 5:18). The chorus of a beloved gospel hymn, written by Johnson Oatman, effectively captures this same message: “Count your many blessings; name them one by one, / and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”