Six Things the devil Wants You to Forget
(but God wants you to remember)

Bless the LORD, O my soul
And forget not all His benefits.
(Psalm 103:2)

DAVID, the psalmwriter, is doing something very dangerous here, and the devil doesn't like it. He is instructing his heart to remember all of God's benefits. Generic praise is not nearly enough for him. He wants to detail all of God's goodnesses to him and "count his blessings." He wants to keep them at the front of his mind, in the center of his heart and on the tip of his tongue. He wants to offer extravagant praise to the God of extravagant grace.

Satan hates that! He knows that if you don't remember God's promises, you can't claim them. His plan is to make you forget, because forgetting is the opposite of praise. But God wants you to remember so you can live in all the fullness of life that Jesus died on the cross to bring you.

In this psalm, David is not just outlining his own experience, he is describing the way God is. God never changes, and He is no respecter of persons. These are promises that belong to all those who call on the Lord.

Nor is David speaking only of spiritual realities, or of the life to come. He is talking about this life, expecting the glory and blessing of the Lord to be made manifest in the nitty gritty circumstances of everyday physical existence.

Psalm 103 opens with six rich promises from God, set out in three Hebrew couplets. Note the continuing nature of the verbs in this list. As often as the need arises, that is how often God will move to meet it.

1. He forgives all your iniquities (v. 3)

The devil would like you to forget this one most of all, for it is the gateway to all the other benefits and blessings God has for you. To remember this promise is to counter one of Satan's chief strategies. The Book of Revelation calls him "the accuser of the brethren" (12:10), and he is always looking for opportunity to bring charges against you. He wants to rub your nose in every sin you have committed and remind you of all your failures. If he can get you to forget that Jesus took every one of your sins to the cross, so that you bear them no more, he can paralyze your effectiveness. He wants you to live constantly under a cloud of condemnation.

But God promises that He forgives all our iniquities. The Hebrew word for "forgive," nasa, literally means "lift." That is, the Lord lifts our sins, removing them from us. The word for "iniquities," avon, refers, not just to the sin itself, but also to its consequences. The word for "all" means "all" — give it full weight.

The extravagance of God's grace is such that, when He removes all our sin, he removes its results as well. It is an act of restoration.

2. He heals all your diseases (v. 3)

Jesus lifted our sin and its consequences from us, and carried them to the cross. This includes all our diseases, for they came into the world through sin.

The Hebrew word for "heal," rapha, means "to mend" or "make whole." "Heals all your diseases" is another act of restoration and a natural follow-up to "forgives all your iniquities." The one flows out of the other. God heals all our diseases because God forgives all our iniquities.

The devil does not want God's people walking in health and wholeness. He wants to keep us hobbled with sickness and lack. He doesn't mind if we think that the promise of healing is just for Bible times, or for when we get to heaven. He just doesn't want us to know that it is for us today. It's fine by him if we think of it in strictly "spiritual" terms, just so long as we don't claim it in any sort of practical way.

God removes all our sin with its consequences, and heals all our diseases. All of the broken places in our life — physical illness, spiritual need, emotional distress, disjointed relationships — God desires to mend.

3. He delivers your life from destruction (v. 4)

Or "Redeems your life from the pit" (NIV). The devil would love to see God's people bogged down in despair and fearing destruction. He will tell us that we deserve to be there, that we have courted disaster. He will try to make us think there is no way out, or that our only hope is to deliver ourselves. He lies.

While it may be true that we have brought destruction down upon ourselves, God delivers us according to His grace, not according to what we deserve. Further, it is only God who can deliver us, not we ourselves. And that is precisely what He has done through Jesus on the cross.

The word for "redeem" refers to the next of kin freely taking one's burden upon himself (the Book of Ruth presents a beautiful portrait of this). Today, the Lord Jesus is our Kinsman-Redeemer. He took all our burdens upon Himself and carried them to the cross. He Himself bore our destruction.

God will always deliver those who call on His name. He wants us to get that so deep into our hearts that when catastrophe looms we will not be stricken with fear. Instead, we will know that God has the last word, and that it is a good word — redemption!

4. He crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies (v. 4)

Not only does God deliver us out of the pit, but He lifts us up to a position of royalty. He crowns us! This is echoed in Psalm 113:7-8: "He raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the ash heap, that He may seat him with princes." And not just with princes, but with the Prince Himself, for "we sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6).

Look at the crown we are given to wear — lovingkindness and tender mercies. "Lovingkindness," the Hebrew hesed, is the steadfast love of God. It is a term of covenant faithfulness. It means that God has committed Himself to our good. All that He has promised, He will do. We can always count on His kindness to come through for us. "Tender mercies" is the compassion God has for us even if there had been no covenant. It proceeds from His graciousness and is what caused Him to enter into covenant with us in the first place.

The devil wants to distract you from your royal identity in Christ. For if you know that you are seated with Jesus in the heavenlies, and that Satan is under His feet, then you will realize that Satan is under your feet as well. He wants you to forget that you are in covenant with God, and that God has committed Himself to you.

5. He satisfies your desires with good things (v. 5)

The devil wants you to think God is a God of "just getting by." That He promises you only a bare subsistance level of existence. That He is not interested in your desires. In short, that He is a lousy father.

But our God is a God whose paths drip abundance (Psalm 65:11). He is our Shepherd, and we shall not have lack (Psalm 23:1). When we bring our need to Him, He keeps filling until it is met. When we come to Him with our desires, He satisfies. When we make known our requests to Him, He comes through with good things.

God gives only good things. Psalm 84:11 reminds us, "The LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly." The word for "good" is variously translated as "beautiful," "bountiful," "favor," "joyful," "kindness," "pleasant," "prosperity" and "wealth." When God says "good things," He really means good things! Deuteronomy 28:1-14 is a great example of this, being full of covenant blessing and goodness. God wants good things for all who receive Jesus Christ, for we are in covenant with Him.

6. He renews your youth like the eagle's (v. 5)

This is the reason God satifies our desires with good things — so our youth may be renewed like the eagle's. The devil wants us to get weary and faint. But God wants to continually supply us with strength and refreshing. It is pictured as an eagle, the emblem of freedom and long life, whose annual molting brings on a new growth of fresh feathers. Psalm 92:13-14 gives us another metaphor: "Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the LORD is upright."

Though we may break down at times and lose heart, God will revive and renew us. Though we may fall away, when we return to Him, He will rebuild and repair us, and give us fresh anointing. We shall bear good fruit, even in old age.

Put these promises in your mouth and speak them to your entire being. Declare them to the world and show forth the goodness of God. Shout them aloud in the daytime and whisper them at night. Let them rise up within your spirit and soak through all your thoughts and emotions. Do not leave a single one of them behind, but claim them all, for they are yours. The devil wants you to forget them. But God wants you to remember.

© 2001 Jeff Doles.
All rights reserved.

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“JEFF DOLES is a Christian author, blogger and Bible teacher. His books include The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth: Keys to the Kingdom of God in the Gospel of Matthew and Praying With Fire: Change Your World with the Powerful Prayers of the Apostles. He and his wife, Suzanne, are the founders of Walking Barefoot Ministries. Visit their website at”

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