Why Does David Write "Forget Not His Benefits," and What Exactly Are They?
David, who was the king of Israel and Judah, wrote nearly half of the Psalms that many people read for comfort, hope, and encouragement. The Psalms invite readers to praise, reflect, lament, and cry out. Psalm 103, written by David, references the benefits of God.
“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2).
This particular Psalm is one of praise and worship as it reflects on and tells of the goodness of the Lord. In his praise and adoration to God, David wrote that he would not forget the benefits of God. The benefits of God are the good ways in which God blesses and takes care of those who follow Him, giving believers even more reasons to praise Him.
What Does This Verse Mean?
This verse is a good reminder to Christians of God’s goodness and compassion toward His followers. We can always praise the Lord because of His benefits, which are the ways He rewards or bestows goodness upon believers.
David experienced the goodness of God in his life, and in this Psalm, he recounted the benefits God extended to him. God is certainly holy and worthy of our praise. As we praise the Lord, we can remember all His benefits and faithfulness to us. These are significant promises about the character of God and how we can count on Him to take care of and provide for believers.
What Is the Context of Psalm 103?
The Psalms are a book of hymns written for the Israelites; it has many authors. The Psalms were written at different periods of time over the span of hundreds of years and generations. David, who was the king of the Israelites, wrote the 103rd Psalm where we find the mention of God’s benefits.
From the Psalm itself, not much is known about David’s life at the time he wrote it. Elsewhere in Scripture, we learn that David sinned and made mistakes; there were significant problems in his family, and he faced many battles – both spiritually and physically. Yet this Psalm demonstrates the great hope David had in God. No matter what he went through, David continued to trust in God’s promises of forgiveness, provision, and compassion. It is inspiring that even though David sinned and faced many tragedies in his lifetime, he still had great faith and offered fervent praise to the Lord. Surely, he experienced firsthand all these benefits of God that he wrote about.
This Psalm continues to speak to believers of every generation. Christians today can read this Psalm and be ushered into a moment of praise and worship. We are reminded of God’s goodness and faithfulness. We are taught of God’s character and that He is completely trustworthy and deeply loves us. We are motivated to praise the Lord because He is good and faithful. God’s benefits continue to impact our hearts and lives.
What Exactly Are the Lord's Benefits?
This Psalm is in no way an exhaustive list of God’s benefits, but in it, David mentioned profound ways in which God extends His goodness to those who follow Him.
“Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:3-5).
1. God forgives. We can imagine how deeply impacted David was by God’s forgiveness. We will all sin and fall short of God’s glory – this benefit of forgiveness is comforting and demonstrates God’s radical love and sacrifice. We praise God because He forgives.
2. God heals. He desires to see His children healed – physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We experience healing in this lifetime, but God has promised full healing to all believers in the age of eternal life after Jesus’ return.
3. God redeems. Humanity is facing death as a result of Adam’s sin, but God sent His Son to pay the debt of sin and death. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, believers are spared from eternal destruction and will be ushered into life everlasting.
4. God gives love and compassion. We are crowned with God’s love and compassion. He protects us and intervenes in ways that we do not even know about. In His great compassion, He spares us from evil and tragedies. God’s love for us is so deep and wide that nothing can separate us from it.
5. God provides. He meets our needs, He brings every good thing into our lives, and takes care of His followers. We know that every good gift is from heaven. God wants us to enjoy life and find satisfaction.
6. God offers renewed strength. With the good things God provides for believers comes renewed strength and energy. God will make it possible for us to endure and enjoy this life. Jesus promised that He has prepared a place for us. For those who profess faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they have an eternity with God awaiting them.
In the Bible, we read of many benefits of God. Scripture tells of promises and guarantees for those who believe in Jesus. Here are a few of the benefits of God that we find in the New Testament.
1. God sent the Holy Spirit (see John 14:16)
2. God gives peace, joy, and hope (see John 14:27 and Romans 15:13)
3. God offers eternal life in Jesus (see 1 John 5:11)
4. God provides added protection through the armor of God (see Ephesians 6:11-13)
5. God grants grace (see Philemon 1:25)
6. God forgives (see Ephesians 4:32)
7. God is present always (see Matthew 28:20)
8. God is our help in times of need (see Hebrews 4:16)
9. God restores (see 1 Peter 5:10)
Why Is It So Important for Us to Remember This?
When something goes wrong, when we are facing a hardship, or when we find ourselves in an overwhelming situation, it is common to doubt God, feel hopeless, and lack the strength to endure. Like David, we will experience the ups and downs of life. Even when life is going well, we can easily get distracted or caught up in our responsibilities and forget to keep our minds and lives focused on God.
It is important to remember the benefits of God – whatever our circumstances may be – so that we can continue praising the Lord and trusting in Him.
When we remember how good and faithful God is, we can rejoice in every season, be content in all things, and feel a peace that surpasses all understanding. If we are focused on the benefits of God, and dwell on those things, it leaves little room in our hearts and minds for doubt, confusion, and fear to take over. Adoration and recalling God’s benefits are important ways to combat both difficult times in life and spiritual lethargy. We have a God who has forgiven us, redeemed us, and guaranteed eternal life to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ! Truly, we have joy and hope in God no matter what is going on.
Praise the Lord
David praised the Lord for His benefits, and this is something Christians today can continue doing. We can praise the Lord for His faithfulness and all the ways in which He cares for us and rewards us. In this lifetime, we will have troubles and needs, but God will continue to make good on His promises. We can trust the character of God and that He will sustain us, protect us, and forgive us. The benefits of God are too many to number, and in them, believers find encouragement, strength, and hope.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Sakorn Sukkasemsakorn
Pamela Palmer is a writer, speaker, and the founder of upheldlife.com, the platform on which she produces devotionals and faith resources to inspire keeping faith at the center of life. She is in pastoral ministry and gets to share in the emotional and spiritual lives of others. She lives and thrives on Jesus, coffee, and music. She is the author of Living a Deeper Faith: Nurture Your Relationship with God and Live a Faith-Fueled Life. Pamela married the perfect man for her and they have two beautiful kiddos. She has been published on herviewfromhome.com, and you can follow her at upheldlife.com or on Facebook.com/upheldlife.