EXAMPLES OF GIVING THANKS
from the Psalms
When I was a little boy I looked forward to my Uncle Leo and Aunt Frances coming to see my parents. You see, Uncle Leo owned a taxi cab and always had a pocket full of change. When he left, he would give my sister and I some money. In my anticipation and excitement quite often I forgot to say Thanks. My mother would say, "Jimmy, did you say Thank You?" And then, rather embarrassed, I would express my thanks. At this Thanksgiving season I suggest we could learn how to give thanks by noting examples given in the book of Psalms.
I. Example of Giving Thanks by Keeping
One's Vows. Ps. 50:12-15.
In this chapter the Psalmist expresses what God does not need. But then, seems to express that thankfulness is desired by God. In verse 14 the thought is one of paying vows in an attitude of thanksgiving. In verse 15 the writer seems to suggest that only then will we have the right to expect God to hear us. So the example is for us to give thanks for the privilege of paying our vows.
How can a person pay their vows? First, you can pay your vows by being obedient to the commitment you made to God when you committed your life to Him. The demonstration of moral conduct in thought and deed. Secondly, you can be obedient in keeping any vow of time, talent or possession and you can do this thankfully. Some don't want to make any vow to the Lord and only do it with reluctance, but this Psalmist suggests it be done with thanksgiving.
Last Sunday night when we arrived home and opened the garage door, there was a large dog in our garage. Since my wife was the last one to leave the house, I did as any good husband would do and said, "How did that dog get in our garage?" I then got out and made sure the dog was friendly and checked for identification. The dog had a rabies shot tag but we knew we would have to wait until Monday to check it out.
Monday morning I tried to get the dog to go outside, but she wouldn't. Christa phoned and got the owner's name and when the owner drove up into our drive way the dog began to bark and move toward the closed garage door.
The dog recognized its master's truck by the sound and perhaps the smell. She immediately began to let folks know she waned out of our garage. She was thankful to see her master and eager to be with them. The text indicates no less should be true for the children of God. We should be eager to and thankful to pay our vows. I think it is a pleasure to sign a commitment card for the tithe. I think it is great to sign a commitment card for Together We Build, and I thank God for the privilege of doing it. How about you?
The Psalmist also gave thanks for the name and nearness of God.
II. Example of Giving Thanks for the Name and Deeds of God. Ps. 75:1.
In this Psalm the writer expresses thanks for God. By way of contrast He is a God with a name and deeds far superior to any other. The psalmist reminds himself of God and His deeds thereby doesn't fall into Satan's trap of pride by giving thanks for himself and his deeds. The psalmist says, "to God be the glory, great things He has done."
Upon the death of his father, a young man inherited a company with a prominent name, the name of his father. The boy was not gifted in operating a business and soon the company was in financial need. Another company sought to buy out the company with the use of his father's name. Because this company had the reputation of making shady business deals, the boy refused to sell. He said, "I'd rather the company close than have my dad's name linked to such business practices.
Do you give thank for the name and deeds of God? Do you see the good He has done and is doing? Some seem to want to make God some kind of a genie that lives in a bottle and performs to their delight. The psalmist guarded against idolatry by giving praise to God for His deeds. Praising God and giving thanks for His name and deeds also guards against self praise.
Notice the third example of thanks as we turn to Psalm 106:1
III. Example of Giving Thanks for God's Goodness. Ps.106:1 (NAS)
The psalmist says give thanks to the Lord for He is good. This refers to the revelation of God's nature. The psalmist told folks to give thanks unto God for His goodness even if the immediate circumstances didn't look good. In fact, verse 2 challenges anyone to look over all the history of God's dealing with His people to see if they could even list His good works. God is good, therefore "all things work together for good to those who love God." Rom. 8:28.
In December of 1952 I was in a car wreck. Because of that accident I was laid up for almost 2 years. At the time I questioned why I was the one with the injury that took so long to heal. But today I can see the goodness of God as He worked through that experience to direct my life.
Do you give thanks today for the Goodness of God? The psalmist's example leads us to do just that.
Now turn to Psalms 107:1-3.
IV. Example of Giving Thanks for Redemption. Ps. 107:1-3.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, is a famous phrase of scripture. This particular challenge was given to the people as they returned from bondage. They were told to give thanks unto the Lord for the redemption He had given. Today you and I can look over our lives and thank God for many acts of deliverance. He has redeemed us from many difficulties. Hopefully, you can recall a time when the Lord redeemed you from a bondage of sin. That is, you can remember the redemption of your soul that began your Christian life. Give thanks for redemption.
During a testimony service at the close of a revival meeting I preached in Fletcher Mo., a man who could not speak or hear stood to give his testimony. This man smiled and clapped his hands.
Do you let the world know you are thankful for the Lord's redemption? The example is given for us to thank the Lord for redemption.
Now turn to Psalms 136 as we notice another example.
V. Example of Giving Thanks for God's Loving-Kindness. Ps. 136.
In this chapter all 26 verses end with the theme of God's loving kindness or mercy. The psalmist lists 26 reasons for thankfulness and after each one the theme of mercy. We today have a few thousand years of history to add to the awareness that God is a merciful God. We should give thanks for His mercy expressed as loving kindness.
Occasionally someone will ask, or I will ask, "Why did this happen to
me?", meaning, we didn't deserve such a response from God. We assumed we
deserved better treatment. But really God doesn't owe me or you anything.
If we got daily what we deserved, we would suffer tragedy every day. It
is only because of God's enduring kindness and mercy that we exist as well
as we do. Let's give thanks unto God.
Kris Kristopherson wrote a song in the late 60's or early 70's titled, "Why Me, Lord?" I heard him share how he wrote it. It seems he heard many people complain and say, "Why me, Lord?" As he reflected upon this thought, he reversed it and said, "Why me, Lord, What have I done to deserve even one of the good things you've done."
You can ask, "Why me, Lord," two different ways and with two different motives. The psalmist encourages us to give thanks for His loving kindness.
Today we sing an invitation hymn for you to respond in thanks to the
Lord. Please come and unite with our church by transfer of membership.
You who have not been redeemed, you come and acknowledge Jesus as Lord.
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And Beyond. Amen? Amen!