As I am preparing for a new preaching series through a portion of the Psalms, the Lord convicted me. I was reading Psalm 103, a psalm that I have read many times before, when he made something clear to me: I don’t remember to rejoice. I don’t mean that as a reminder. Rather, I don’t remember for the purpose of rejoicing.

In here David the psalmist is talking to himself:

“Bless the LORD, o my soul!

And all that is within me, bless his holy name!

Bless the LORD, o my soul,

And do not forget all his benefits!”

Did you notice the connection between remembering and rejoicing? My soul will rejoice in the Lord when my soul remembers the person and works of the Lord. Well, what should my soul remember, David?

  1. He forgives all your iniquity
  2. He heals all your diseases
  3. He redeems your life from the pit
  4. He crowns you with steadfast love and mercy
  5. He satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s
  6. He works righteousness and justice for all who are opporessed
  7. He made known his ways/acts– that he is merciful, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love– to Moses and Israel
  8. He will not always keep his anger
  9. He does not deal with us according to our sins
  10. He loves those who fear him with a great love
  11. He removes our transgressions irretrievably far from us
  12. He shows fatherly compassion on those who fear him, remembering our dustly frame
  13. He loves and justifies those who fear him and keep his covenant with an everlasting love

It’s surprising that the sovereign God of the universe (v. 20) would express such love on such obviously sinful people! It’s perhaps even more surprising that we who have been loved so greatly forget so easily! What do I do to remember such matchless love? Do I meditate on him and his love to the point that all that is within me blesses his name?

What are the implications here for those who don’t see a place for high emotions in the worship of God? Are high emotions necessarily mindless, based on this psalm? It is true that this forgiveness and mercy is connected to their obedience to the covenant (v. 18), but has God not given such mercy and forgiveness to us today apart from the law (Rom. 3:21-26)? High emotion is not unbiblical; rather, deep emotion is the proper response to deep theology! In this day where information travels so fast and so frequently that it is so hard to notice much less remember, how much more aggressive should I be to remember the mercies of the Lord on my life and the life of his people! Remembering, after all, is essential to rejoicing.