Let Us Give Thanks

The book of Psalms is filled with expressions of thanks to God.  The words “thanks” and “thanksgiving” appear 30 times in the book of Psalms.  Nave’s topical Bible classifies 37 Psalms as Psalms which offer thanksgiving to God (9, 18, 21, 23, 30, 34, 36, 40, 46, 65, 66, 68, 75, 76, 81, 85,91, 98, 100, 103, 105, 107, 108, 116, 117, 118, 121, 124, 126, 129, 135, 136, 138, 144, 145, 146, 149,).  It subdivides this as follows: (1) Thanksgiving for goodness to (the nation of) Israel (21, 46, 65, 66, 68, 76, 81, 85, 98, 105, 124, 126, 129, 135, 149).  (2) Thanksgiving for the goodness to mankind (23, 34, 36, 91, 100, 103, 107, 117, 121, 145, 146).  (3) Thanksgiving for (specific) goodness to individuals (9, 18, 30, 34, 40, 75, 103, 108, 116, 118, 138, 144).  You will notice that some of the Psalms are placed into more than one subdivision.

Let’s consider these three points –

1.  National Thanksgiving. Israel was to be thankful because God chose them (Psalm 135:1-4).  He delivered them from Egypt (Psalm 66:6; 81:10; 105; 135:8-12; 136).  He protected them (Psalm 46; 124).  He brought them back from captivity (Psalm 85:1-2; 126).  He provided them with daily benefits (Psalm 68:19).  He provided them with food and water (Psalm 65:9-13; 136:25).

America is not God’s chosen nation.  We do not have the same relationship with God that Israel had.  Due to the nature of providence (cf. Esther 4:14; Philemon 15), we cannot with certainty know the role God played in founding this country; though, we do believe that He is providentially in control (cf. Acts 17:26).  There are many things we do not know.  However, we are told that it is He who “makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).  He gives us, “rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17).  It is “in Him we live we move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).  It is “in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17).  We should be a thankful people.

2.  Individual Thanksgiving. Individual Israelites, as well as Gentiles (cf. Psalm 117), were to be thankful.  God made man (Psalm 100:1-3).  He led His followers to good (Psalm 23).  He cared for them.  He was forgiving and merciful (Psalm 103:2-3; 117; 145:8-9).  “Bless the LORD, O My soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities…” (Psalm 103:2-3a).  He was slow to anger (Psalm 103:8).  “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10).  He was fulfilling.  “He satisfies the longing soul with gladness” (Psalm 107:9).

All of these points are still true for man today.  He is responsible for our existence.  He wants to lead us to heaven.  He is longsuffering toward us (2 Peter 3:9).  His desire is for “all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

3.  Specific Thanksgiving. Consider the following: “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness… I will give thanks to You forever” (Psalm 30:11-12).  “I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).  “I called on the LORD in distress, The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place” (Psalm 118:5).  “In the day when I cried out, You answered me and made me bold with strength in my soul” (Psalm 138:3).

God does not always give us what we request (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).  Moreover, when He does give us what we request, it may take time (Romans 1:9-10 cf. 15:22-24).  He always knows best.

He does answer prayer.  Do we thank Him for the good that we see Him working on our lives?  “Count your many blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, See what God hath done!  Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done’ (Song: Count Your Blessings by Johnson Oatman Jr.).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
This entry was posted in Appreciation, God's Providence, psalms, Thanksgiving and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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