“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”
- Psalm 103:1-2 NIV
I heard from a dear lady recently who was going through some difficult times, and who was beginning to question the validity of the promises of God. She began listing her many problems, recounting them one by one, and in the process, she began sounding more and more doubtful, fearful, and bitter. My heart went out to this dear woman, and I spent some time in earnest prayer for her and her family, and I did my best to encourage her.
A few days later, when I was feeling discouraged about my own problems, the Lord brought this lady to mind. He warned me not to recount my problems the way she had, but to begin recounting His blessings and promises, instead. He reminded me of a passage in Psalm 103, where David said: “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5 NIV) What was David doing here? He was recounting the promises and blessings of God. Notice that David is talking to himself, and he’s telling himself not to forget any of the Lord’s many benefits. And he begins listing them and naming them one by one. That’s what “recount” means. It means to quote, recite, rehearse, or to take inventory of. We know that David had some serious problems, before and after he became Israel’s greatest king. But here, he’s not thinking or talking about them. Instead, he’s reminding himself of the Lord’s promises, and he’s rejoicing in God’s faithfulness to His Word.
The Lord showed me that by employing this strategy, David was getting into agreement with God and His plans for David, instead of with the devil and his plans. The Bible tells us that the Lord has extraordinary plans for our lives, but these plans are not automatic. We have to get into agreement with them by putting our faith and trust in God and His Word, and believing that what He says is true, even when our circumstances say otherwise. That doesn’t mean that we should deny our situation, but that we should look beyond our problems to the promises of God--knowing that He is faithful, and He is committed to causing us to triumph every single time. When the circumstances of our lives paint a negative picture, and we’re tempted to grieve or complain, that’s precisely the time to put our faith in God and His promises. By doing this, we are looking with the eye of faith to the good outcome that God has for us. (Romans 8:28)
In Psalm 9, David declared: "I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth (recount and tell aloud) all Your marvelous works and wonderful deeds! I will rejoice in You and be in high spirits; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High!" (Psalm 9:1-2 AMP) David is in the midst of intense affliction and persecution when he writes this psalm, yet instead of grieving or complaining, he vows to recount the Lord’s glorious ways and works. He recognizes that as he rejoices in God, instead of fretting about His problems, He will be in “high spirits”. And He knows that His praises will repel the enemy and his attacks, and will invite the presence and power of God on His behalf. (Psalm 8:2; 22:3) Each time you and I are in a trial, we must choose between rehearsing our problems, or the Lord’s promises. Ask yourself what you are recounting today, and decide to choose the better and more victorious way!
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times that I thought about and spoke about my problems, more than Your promises. When difficulties come my way, help me to look with the eye of faith at the glorious outcome You have for me. Help me to fully cooperate with You, so that I won’t have to miss out on Your best. Thank You that as I recount Your promises and faithfulness, You will pour on the blessings!
- J. M. Farro