Pastor Beny of the Indonesian church brought a great message at our joint New Year’s Eve service. The message was taken from Psalm 103, which you probably know (even if you don’t know you know). The first verse of Psalm 103 says this:
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Again, you probably know verse. I think it is the basis for this song:
The second verse of Psalm 103 says this:
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
That’s what it says in the NIV, anyway. That’s the version I knew. And I always questioned it. I always questioned that word benefits. To me, benefit refers to a financial kind of arrangement, to something you get for doing something you don’t want to do. It reminds me of something an HR lady said at one of the part-time jobs I worked during Bible college. She said, “This job isn’t great, but before you quit, remember the benefits!” You see that financial give-and-take idea right there: the job is not great, but you keep it because you want the benefits. It also reminds me of the climatic line of the song from the movie Music and Lyrics:
(Come on; you know that this is about; you saw it with your wife the same as I did.)
That’s what benefits always said to me. We were negotiating for things we wanted. God wasn’t that great but we stuck around because He dropped us a bone every once in awhile.
What Pastor Beny said, though, was that in the Indonesian version it is translated “forget not all His goodness“. I don’t know if this is a viable translation or not; I don’t know the Hebrew here. But I do see similar ideas in some English translations.
And I think that is what the psalmist was telling us here. He was not telling us we get benefits from God. He was telling us God is good to us. He was (and still is) telling us God is good to us. And that is something to remember. That is something to never forget. That is something that will change your life.