The Gospel has an amazing benefits package. The one I get with my job isn't bad. It offers 'extended health'; but the Gospel offers an extended eternity without sickness or sadness. My employee package offers 'life insurance'; but the Gospel ensures everlasting life.

No wonder the Psalmist tells us to "Bless the Lord ...and forget not all his benefits" (Psalm 103:2).

Don't forget. So the Psalm functions as a reminder list so we can keep telling our souls about the gospel benefits package. The Psalm gives us long check list, but not an exhaustive one. There's plenty of room to add more. The very breath and brainpower required to take time to remember are benefits themselves.

But a benefits package is so much better than a benevolence fund.

In a sermon on Psalm 68:19,20 ['Daily Blessings for God's People'], Charles Spurgeon makes an interesting comparison between these two beautiful words in the English language. As many people think of God, the word 'benevolence' seems fitting. It comes from a couple of Latin words: bene (= good, well) and volens (= wish or desire). So, if applied to God, it refers to him as wishing us well. However, there are lots of truly benevolent people who genuinely desire the best for all but who are not able to do anything about it because they have nothing in the bank to give. Great sentiment; no substance.

Fortunately Psalm 103 does not exhort us to derive our confidence from God's benevolence. A less familiar, but even more beautiful, English word is the focus here: God's beneficence. This does not refer to God merely wishing us well, but actually doing us good. God is good. What Psalm 103 tells us is that his goodness goes beyond wishes and words and becomes acts and deeds.

God's benevolence fund is filled with untold wealth so he is not just well-intentioned. Rather than being an avuncular benevolent grandfather figure, he is our Fatherly benefactor. In the Gospel we become benefeciaries with a legal entitlement to all the benefits that he has bequeathed. Beneficiaries of our great benefactor's benefit package.

Aren't you glad that God is not just a well-wisher, but a do-gooder?

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