“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 eagles. . . .” Psalm 103:1-5.
The past few days I have been meditating on the Lord’s goodness. I sometimes feel almost guilty when I see the suffering of others, and wonder why my life has been so easy. I sometimes doubt that the life I live is lived in the real world. Do you ever feel that way?
It is true that I do not have to suffer consequences for certain outward sins like drug addiction, fornication, or alcoholism. God has kept me from those, and I am thankful. A lot of suffering in the world is brought on by ungodly living. God reminded me that obedience brings blessing, and disobedience brings cursing. But it is only His grace that has kept me from walking down those paths. In myself I am perfectly capable of doing all those things. He has reminded me that it is okay to enjoy His blessings! That is what they are for. He has redeemed me from destruction and crowned me with lovingkindness and tender mercies.
As to having an easy life, that has not been so. I do not live in an ivory tower, protected from the troubles of life. But I feel so blessed despite the trials. I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week. God’s blessing does not depend on good or bad circumstances. He is the blessing. My heart is moved to tears as I meditate on this one thing. I do not live in an ivory tower, but the Lord is my Strong Tower.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear. The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me, to eat up my flesh, my enemies and my foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, in this I will be confident.
One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. For in time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavillion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock” Psalm 27:1-5.
The Book of Psalms is full of songs by men who knew that God was their blessing, their hiding place, their strength, and their shelter. Their suffering had turned them to God, and He had proven faithful. I’ve been enjoying reading through several this morning. But I remember when I was younger, reading them and wondering why people liked them so much.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through who also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” Romans 5:1-2.
Having peace with God, being able to come directly to Him and know Him–this is the blessing that is worth more than any other thing. Our trials drive us to Him, and make the other things that compete for our attention seem trivial–which indeed they are compared to Him.
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. . .” Philippians 3:7-10.
This special blessing from the Lord for the children of Israel is for us today, if we have been made part of His family–
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace” Numbers 6:24-26.