“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.”
There is nothing in this text which would indicate that the psalmist had in mind a special day of thanksgiving—a day in which the church of Christ would assemble to bless the Lord for the benefits He so graciously bestowed on us as evidenced in an abundant harvest. Fact of the matter is, the text, on the very surface of it, leaves the impression that the psalmist conceived of each day as a thanksgiving day. And so it ought to be.
We are not interested at this point in discussing the propriety or impropriety of a special Thanksgiving Day, except to say that we believe it to be in the realm of consistency to continue our annual Thanksgiving Day so long as we also continue to keep our annual Day of Prayer. Consistency demands that if we gather in our houses of prayer to ask the Lord’s blessing upon the seed that is planted, it would be the height of ingratitude not to gather in those same houses of prayer after the harvest has been gathered to give thanks unto the Lord for having heard our prayer. But it should be abundantly clear to all that neither prayer for God’s blessing, nor thanksgiving for His blessings should be limited only to a day. As suggested above, the psalmist by implication suggests that every day ought to be a thanksgiving day, because daily the Lord loadeth us with benefits.
Moreover, it ought also to be observed that the psalmist looked upon those things he calls daily benefits only as they are related to our salvation. He does not exhort us to bless the Lord merely because we receive an abundance of benefits. Rather he sees all that with which the Lord loadeth us as benefits only because he sees the Lord making all things to be subservient to our salvation. Very plainly the implication is that the abundance of things we receive of the Lord are no benefits at all unless, they are related to our salvation.
With all this in mind, let us consider, first of all, what it means to bless the Lord.
The object of blessing is the Lord!
And the Lord, in our text, is He Who is Our Ruler, Master, Possessor, and Defender. Here is not an instance where the term “Lord” should be translated “Jehovah,” as the case so often is in the Old Testament Scriptures. But the term used in the text and throughout the Psalm, is ADONAI, meaning, Lord. It is evidently, then, the intention of the Psalmist to point to God as the most excellent One, Who must be submissively and reverently addressed, as well as humbly served and adored.
Blessed be the Lord!
The God of our salvation!
Here God the Lord is looked upon as the Strong One, the Almighty. Whose is all power, might, and dominion. Striking, it is, that no less than thirty times God is so named in this Psalm. The psalmist begins by saying: “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.” A little later he says: “The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God; even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.” And the psalmist closes the Psalm with: “Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds. O, God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.”
That He is the God of our salvation, means that He is the God of Jesus. And Jesus is Jehovah, Who alone saves. This mighty God of our salvation came down in the Person of Jesus, Who assumed our nature in which He saved us.
Blessed be the Lord, Who is the God of our salvation!
He Who is in Himself the most blessed One! Who needs not be worshipped by men’s hands as though He needed anything. The All-Sufficient God is He. Who is blessed apart from any blessing that may be ascribed to Him. Fact is that the translators have added to the text the copulative verb “be,” which appears in italics in our King James version, indicating that it does not appear in the original text. So that we may translate “Blessed the Lord, Who daily loadeth us,” And this would imply that the Lord is blessed in Himself. That God is blessed means that He is the good God, the All-Sufficient One; Who is praise-worthy because of His goodness. All of His attributes are indicative of His blessedness.
Just because of His blessedness, He is to be blessed!
When we bless the Lord, the ever blessed God of our salvation, it is that act whereby we humbly bow before Him and then point to Him as our Benefactor. One who blesses the Lord is deeply conscious of his own unworthiness, of his own insignificance. To bless Him is to say from the heart that we are nothing, and He is all. To bless the Lord is to acknowledge that we are empty, and that He, Who is the sole fountain of all goodness, must fill us. It means that we acknowledge that we can never remunerate Him, that we are most unworthy of the least of His benefits. It means that we are nothing, and have nothing of ourselves, but that all our fulness is of Him alone. And this is not a matter of a moment, or of a special day, but it is the purpose of creation, of recreation, of the continual preservation of all things, unto all eternity—that God may be blessed.
Blessed be the Lord!
Who daily loadeth us with benefits!
The term “benefits” also appears in italics in the King James version, which means that the original text has simply: “day by day he loadeth us.” The Revised Version has: “Day by day he beareth to (or for) us.” Both of these translations are acceptable. Both fit nicely with the preceding verse, where the psalmist declares: “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.” The apostle Paul offers us a commentary on this verse in his letter to the Ephesians (Eph. 4:8): “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Here he is no doubt speaking of Christ Jesus, Who had received gifts intended for men in His glorious ascension. Christ gives these gifts which. He received unto men.
This is the reason why the Lord should be blessed!
Daily He loadeth us, or beareth to us, benefits!
Oh, how many are the benefits He lavishly bestows upon us!
Like refreshing water that flows from an artesian well to the thirsty traveler. He slakes his thirst, yet the waters keep on flowing. They never stop. So the benefits continually flow unto the children of God. There is land, more than they can use. There is air, more than they can breathe. There is water, more than they can drink. There is light, more than they need. When they are cold, He clothes and shelters them from the blast of winter. When they are tired, He gives His beloved rest. Never are the righteous forsaken, nor is his seed begging bread. In our affluent times it becomes so evident that He gives us not only our bare necessities, but riches besides.
But as we suggested above, most likely the psalmist was not even thinking of these material gifts. He undoubtedly had in mind the spiritual gifts. That is why he hastens to add: “The God of our salvation.”
It appears that we could miss all the material things we mentioned, and still we would have abundance. Think of Lazarus who lay at the foot of the rich man’s table. Or, did you think that here was a case where the poor child of God could not sing: “He lavishes daily upon me His benefits?”
Understand well, shall there be a Thanksgiving Day, a day in which we bless the God of our salvation, it must be true that the rich and poor alike, that is, of God’s people, shall be able to bless the Lord and sing: “Bless the Lord, Who daily loadeth us with benefits.” And they should together sing, because God is the God of their salvation.
Thanksgiving and blessing is not a national virtue, nor is it an activity of all men without distinction.
All men may receive rain and sunshine, bread and water in abundance. God, in His providence, gives an abundant harvest to the wicked as well as to the righteous. Sometimes, as was the case with Asaph (Psalm 73), the Lord gives more to the wicked than He does to the righteous. But the Lord does not give unto the wicked His grace and salvation. Therefore the wicked with all of his abundance receives no benefits. Therefore also the wicked do not, nor can they bless the Lord. Without grace it is impossible to bless the Lord. Oh, indeed, the wicked can rejoice in things; but in their prosperity the favor of God is not upon them. His face is against them that do evil. He is angry with the wicked every day. In their prosperity He sets their feet upon slippery places to cast them down to destruction. The sacrifices of the wicked are an abomination unto the Lord. How shall they give thanks who taste not the Lord’s favor? How shall they give thanks who hold the truth under in unrighteousness, who care not for the Lord’s glory?
Shall there be anyone to bless the Lord, that one must first be blessed!
These are they who are addressed by the psalmist. They are they who in principle have tasted the Lord’s salvation.
On bended knee they humbly confess their own unworthiness of any of Jehovah’s benefits. With a deep sense of humility they acknowledge that the Lord is their Master and Sovereign. They point away from themselves to their Benefactor Who makes all things, prosperity and poverty, health and sickness, life and death, work together for their salvation. And in the center of all the lovingkindnesses of their Lord they see Jesus, the God of their salvation blessing them with gifts from on high.
Their Jesus, Who came to them of the Father, to assume their nature and to take upon Himself the curse that was due to them, and bear it all away before the tribunal of the righteous and holy God. Their Jesus, Whom God raised from the dead, because He was righteous, and had merited righteousness for all His people given Him of the Father. Him God raised unto the highest heavens and gave gifts unto Him, in order that He in turn might lade us with all His benefits. That Jesus Who pours out into our hearts the grace of God whereby they in turn may respond, exclaiming that He is blessed forevermore, Who is, indeed, the God of our salvation.
Blessed be the Lord!
The God of our salvation!
Amen, and amen!