In our prior lesson, we issued the challenge of developing & maintaining a perpetual attitude of gratitude. Thus far we have noted one point from Psalm 103 - GRATITUDE INVOLVES PERSONAL EXAMINATION.
Let's now consider:
2. GRATITUDE INVOLVES COUNTING OUR BLESSINGS.
Psalm 103:3-5 proclaims many benefits from God - "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 eagle's."
Reading these verses, and pondering all of the things that Jehovah does for us, reminds me of the beginning of John 3:16 - "God so loved the world". There are six things which David here thanks God for and considers as blessings:
Without God, not a single one of these things can take place! Any one of these points is worthy of a lifetime of our gratitude & praise. Slow down friends & really reflect upon your blessings. Count them one by one!
3. GRATITUDE INVOLVES GOD'S GOODNESS.
Psalm 103:6-10 affirms:
"The LORD executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. 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. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities."
God's goodness is an excellent summary term for His righteousness, mercy, & grace. David was thankful and we should be thankful that Jehovah is a God of righteousness & justice. It matters not how one may be oppressed in this life, God will make things right on that Final Day; He will execute justice. David was thankful that God is slow to anger. Certainly if God had wanted to He could have zapped David after he committed adultery with Bathsheba or after he arranged to have her husband murdered, but God didn't! Let's be honest, if God had a short fuse--if He was impatient--how many of us would still be alive today? Dare I suggest: few or perhaps even none of us? Be thankful that God is slow to anger, but realize that there is a difference between being slow to anger and being impossible to anger. God does get angry; His patience & tolerance does have a limit. May we never forget that!
Directly related to the idea that God is slow to anger is the thought that He doesn't deal with His children according to their sins. That, too, is something to be exceedingly thankful for. He doesn't punish us like we deserve! He does not ignore sin but He gives us time to come to repentance. God is so good! May we always show our gratitude toward Him!
We will conclude this study in our next lesson.