November 23, 2017
“[[A Psalm of praise.]] Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5.
It’s good to be thankful unto the Lord. It’s more than good, it’s necessary. We have so much to thank Him for, but we seldom take time to say “Thank You, Lord”. Sometimes we are blinded by our troubles, but there’s always a blessing in every situation. Psalm 107 is a good place to start a study on being thankful to the Lord. “O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;” Psalm 107:1-2. This psalm begins by looking back on the history of the Israelites and their release from Egyptian slavery. They faced difficulties they faced as they wandered in the wilderness. Their wandering was caused by the fact that they didn’t trust God, but He never left them. “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!“Psalm 107:31. Christians we have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and taken from the hand of our enemy Satan. We will face many troubles as we walk along our Christian path, but how many times have our troubles been caused because we didn’t trust the Lord or because we made ungodly choices. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5. The word “conversation” is the King James word for the way you conduct your life. Christians need to be more like Christ and we need to give thanks to Him because He never will leave us nor will He forsake us. Even when we rebel against His ways He’s always there. That’s something we need to be thankful for.
The most beautiful words of thanks giving and praise can be found in the Psalms. David’s songs of praise didn’t always start with all the good things God had done for him, but he praised God in spite of the things that went wrong. David faced many trials but he always loved the Lord and was filled with thanks giving. “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; to the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.” Psalm 30:11-12. David wrote many of the psalms during dark times in his life and Psalm 35 is one of those. He wrote of people who were against him and asked God to come against them. Knowing that God will rescue him he writes “I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.” Psalm 35:18. It’s easy to thank God when things are going our way, but looking forward to God’s grace and mercy in times of testing is important. “And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.” Psalm 35:28. Be thankful in the good times and also in the bad times. Always rejoice and give thanks to God. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4.
Jeremiah was another man who had faced many troubles in his life. He was a prophet of God and a faithful man, but this didn’t exempt him from being afflicted by troubles. It can be easy to get angry with God when things don’t go our way, but Jeremiah saw his afflictions as a way that God disciplined him and helped him grow. A parent only disciplines their beloved child, and so God will discipline his children when necessary. Jeremiah took this as something to be thankful for. “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23. The word translated “mercies” means “goodness, kindness, faithfulness”. The Lord truly is merciful and there is no greater evidence of His love and mercy than the fact that He chose to sacrifice Himself for our salvation. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. Even in times of testing are you thankful for the salvation you have through Jesus’ shed blood on the cross? Don’t forget to thank Him.
Daniel was a man who had unwavering faith in God and thanked Him no matter what the circumstances. Some of the advisors to King Darius wanted Daniel to be removed and conspired to enact a law that they knew Daniel couldn’t comply with. They urged the king to issue a decree making it illegal to pray to any God or man except the king. There would be a strong penalty if a person was caught praying. They would be thrown into the lion’s den. What did Daniel do? “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” Daniel 6:10. Most of us know that Daniel was thrown to the lion’s den but unless you read the background to that event you don’t know why. Scripture tells us that we are to obey the laws of the land, but Daniel’s actions show that the law of the land is subordinate to God. Daniel didn’t stage a protest or change his routine in order to go against the law. He just continued to openly do what he always did…he prayed and gave thanks to God. God protected him, but things didn’t go so good for his enemies. Read the story and see how trusting God brings justice in His time and in His way. Many governments today persecute Christians and public prayers are outlawed. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6. The Apostle Paul spent a lot of time facing persecution because of his faith but he never compromised. He encouraged those who read his letters to pray and give thanks. “In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. There are things we cannot be thankful “for”, but we can be thankful “in” all things. The blessing may not be clear as you go through a time of sorrow or testing, but if you make a habit to pray with thanksgiving , when the troubled times happen you’ll automatically go to God and your faith will give you strength.
Praise and thanksgiving to God is not limited to this mortal life. The Apostle John was given a prophetic look into the future. Christians will soon be Raptured and the scenes he describes of the throne room of God are awesome. “And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 7:11-12. Among the words used here in praise of God is “thanksgiving”. When we get to Heaven we’ll see what we can only speculate upon now…the majesty of God. There’s only one way to spend eternity in Heaven and that is to place your faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross. Don’t wait until we’re gathered around His throne to begin thanking Him. Start today and don’t stop.
The United States of America (as well as a few other countries) has set aside a day to give thanks. We call that day Thanksgiving. This day was set aside to remember God’s blessings on the Pilgrims who travelled across the ocean to escape religous persecution and establish a community where God could be freely worshipped. It’s also to remember that God continues to bless us. Sadly, this day has come to mean very little as far as being thankful to God. Family and friends may gather together for a special meal of turkey, dressing, and all the fixings but it’s hard to pull the family away from the television. Football games and parades dominate the air waves and these things seem to be the main focus of the day instead of taking time to remember our blessings and thank God. Too often we take things for granted and forget to thank God for all He provides. We forget that all blessings come from God. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow”. His praise should always be upon our lips and we should honor Him with a thankful heart. “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45. God’s blessings fall on everyone, but not everyone is thankful to Him. In this day and age of secular humanism I have to wonder if anyone stops to thank God for the sun and the rain. Who does an atheist thank for their blessings?
Christians have more to be thankful for than anyone else on earth. We recognize that we are sinners but have accepted the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for redemption. Our eternity is secure and nothing can take it from us. Now there’s something to be thankful for. Honor Him with thanks giving.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.