Psa 103:2 Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits–
I do not have a perfect memory. I may forget some of the things that God has done in my life over the years. I should never forget them all! God, help me to not be oblivious to what You are doing due to lack of attention on my part. When life gets messy around us, one of the first things that we forget is to give thanks to God. David is rousting his soul, that inner-most part of him that represents his whole being to acknowledge what God has done for him.
God in His unfathomable mercy ordained that I should receive good from His hand when I only deserved ill. His actions of salvation toward me have brought a myriad of benefits. Only those who have been redeemed from sin and self-destruction by experiencing His grace understand this psalm. It is a song of a saint, undeservedly crowned with loving kindness and compassion, in route through lonely shadowed valleys to the City of God. When we get to the end of our journey here on earth, we are going to be really surprised at the amount of ‘salvation’ God has heaped on our lives for our good. And we will have enough to praise Him for eternity.
My focus is to be on what God has accomplished in my salvation; not only past but present as well. I do not want to remember the puny self-efforts that I have tried or the haphazard opportunistic chances I took on events that ‘seemed’ right.
Jesus Christ pardoned all of my sins. Every last one of them He dealt with voluntarily on His cross. That payment is all-inclusive. God is still forgiving as I am tempted and fall into sin today.
My remembering in my soul, that place internally beyond the reaches of heartbeat and breathing, that directs from whence I came, where I am going and Who is leading the way, is an act of blessing. “Bless the LORD, O my soul.”
What does a saint look like? What characteristics would you ascribe to him? David asks that question rhetorically. “LORD, who shall sojourn in Your tent?” [Psalm 15:1 ESV] David is asking what character qualities does God expect for those who are members of his household? By extension, what characteristics do we want in someone we call a friend?
Life is a journey and ‘walking blamelessly’ is not about being free from sin but about living and acting the same before God and man. We all have expectations regarding our friends. We expect them to act in a certain way. The closer they are to us the higher our expectations. God wants to be friends with us but that means He too has expectations. He expects us to be just in our dealings with others in business, loving in our relationships with those around us and to walk humbly before Him. We, like God, are not satisfied with just outward talk and actions from our friends that can be hypocritical pretenses. Before God and men, our real character is revealed by what is seated in our hearts. A saint speaks to God and men with the same transparency.
I do not expect my friend to be a backbiter. I do expect my friend to stick up for me when someone tries to bring reproach on me. I want my friend to not expect the worse in me and not grab for gossip greedily. Our tongues are prone to kicking about like an old tin can on the street, the character of an absent person. A saint will bite their tongue rather than backbite.
One of the first things that I learned about Jesus Christ is that He does not change. His character can be counted on to be the same as it was in the past as it is now and will be in the future. He does not change. That is what makes Him so trustworthy. I can count on Him being the same no matter how I act toward Him. I wish that I could say that about myself consistently. God wants me to learn to be like Him; not a respecter of a person’s learning, rank or social standing. That is a gleaming hallmark of a saint.
Want to measure whether a person is a saint? Watch their money trail. Watch how a saint treats his brother, the one who is in the family of God with him. Does he take advantage of his brother. Are they willing to share the resources that God has given them with their brothers who are in need? Or do they act in a harsh, grasping, gripping manner with their money? Are they willing to protect or enhance their wealth by lying or taking a bribe? A saint is one who can never be moved because he has decided, determined and built his character on the Rock. Jesus Christ is always sufficient for him. A saint is one who exhibits the character of Jesus Christ in all they do or say before God and men.