“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”Psalm 103: 1-5
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Have you experienced recalling a memory with a friend or relative and finding that you remembered different things? This phenomenon causes us to wonder what differentiates what we remember from what we forget.
Brain researchers offers some insights. New learning or experiences become stored in short-term memory. Some information moves to long-term memory; some does not. Events that evoke strong positive or negative emotions are more likely to move into long-term memory. Music, melody, rhythm, rhyme, and sensory activities are stored in many different locations of the brain and benefit recall. Researchers report that smell is one of the strongest memory connectors.
So how can we not forget the great deeds that God has done for us, as the psalmist says in verse 2? It starts with the fear of the Lord.
The Lutheran Study Bible says, “ ‘The fear of the Lord’ is a key concept throughout the Old Testament. Unfortunately, the Hebrew noun yir’ah that is translated ‘fear’ (or the verb ‘to fear’) does not communicate itself through any single word in English translation” (p. 1001).
So, what does “the fear of the Lord” mean? It can mean to feel afraid, but it also has other nuances. In reference to a respected person, fear is the idea of standing in awe or reverence before them. This is the fear that God desires from us.
We feel awe when we consider all the things God does for us. This awe leads to a healthy reverence that “is closely related to trust because we can truly respect and reverence God only when we believe that He is truly everything that His Word, the Bible, says He is” (TLSB, p. 1001).
Peter experienced this awe when Jesus gave him and his fishing partners a great catch of fish. Seeing the huge number of fish, Peter fell down at Jesus’ knees and said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). If Jesus could do this, Peter knew He was someone to whom he owed awe, respect, and fear. Peter remembered that day, and many others as he watched Jesus’ ministry, life, death, and resurrection.
In Christ, we remember all the Lord’s benefits. Through Jesus, God forgives all our sins, heals all our diseases, redeems us from the pit, crowns us with steadfast love and mercy, satisfies us with good, and renews our youth like the eagle’s.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Quotes from The Lutheran Study Bible, copyright © 2009 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Used by permission.