We celebrated thanksgiving this week and I thought a message on giving thanks would be appropriate. We need to give thanks more than once a year. Thankful people can greatly affect others. Unthankful people can do the same. Look at some common advice from the professional world:
Three types of people to stay away from: uninspired, unexcited, and unthankful.
Three ways to fail: blame others, complain about everything, never be thankful.
Other researchers have noticed the need for giving thanks and stated that what you think affects how you feel (both emotionally and physically). They say if you increase your positive thoughts, like gratitude, you can increase your subjective sense of well-being as well as, perhaps, objective measures of physical health (like fewer symptoms of illness and increased immune functioning).They view thankfulness as a key to being emotionally healthy; A lack of thanksgiving is an evidence of emotional sickness. The bible would agree that a lack of thankfulness is wrong and unhealthy.
Everyone probably thinks they should be more thankful, most people probably want to be thankful. But how do you cultivate it?
Thankful people are not the result of favorable circumstances but rather the intentional development of a grateful disposition despite circumstances. People don’t give thanks today because they are focused on getting the next thing. They focus on what they lack or what has gone wrong. If you are waiting for something before you begin to be thankful you will never be thankful. People are often lost on how to cultivate an attitude of thanks. I want to look at a Psalm that helps cultivate thanks. I believe as Christians we should be the most thankful and grateful people there are. We have a great God who is to be praised greatly.
1 A Song of Praise. Of David. I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. 2 Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. 3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. 4 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. 5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. 6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. 7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. 8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. 10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you! 11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, 12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works. 14 The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. 16 You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. 17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. 18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. 20 The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked
Three things to remember that will help you give thanks and praise.
● God is Great.
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised is the resounding theme of this psalm. God is great, and it results in the exaltation of God. David praises him, blesses him.
It’s good to be reminded who our God is. He is great and his work is mighty. We need that because we can often view God as being much less than he is. We see a broken world and we think it must have been designed by someone who didn’t know what they were doing. We see people bumbling around unsure what to do, lacking courage to do the right thing, or simply missing the knowledge needed to do the right thing. That is not God. He acts in complete knowledge, unchanging resolve, and absolute power. He has power to rule over all things. We see people make mistakes, and we can think that happens with God, but it doesn’ t. God is great in power, great in knowledge, great in authority. He doesn’t make mistakes or fail in achieving his plans. That gives us confidence in whatever situation we are in. The world is according to his design, and it brokenness is achieving a purpose we can’t imagine. A great God is at work in our lives.
Unsearchable means that it cannot be examined in full. It means there is always more to know. You can spend your whole life seeking to understand the outer limits of the universe. You will never finish that task. Such is God. His greatness expands every day. You will never know the fullness of it. What you know today will be stretched tomorrow.
We have taken time to go through the storyline of the Bible this year. We looked at the creation of the world, God brings order and goodness to the world, and creates a man and woman to have dominion. They are to live under his authority, but they rebel and disobey and hardship and death enter the world. We then looked at how Christ comes into the world, lives a perfect life, died for sin, and is resurrected. He brings forgiveness, power, and new life to people. At the end of the Bible there is a new heaven and new earth, its not just a man and woman in a garden, but there are nations and multitudes of people praising God in a perfected world. The story is complete and all the lose ends get tied up. It’s amazing to see what God is doing, has done, what he planned to do. We see God’s greatness in this story.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" 35 "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36 ESV)
His greatness is displayed in history. It’s displayed in creation, the world we see, looking at an oak tree and contemplating its design, looking at the bright fall leaves, and looking at our own lives and his design for them.
God is great and even the greatest of men should recognize this. DAvid here is the great king, and yet he bows before God and confesses God’s greatness. And we say well done, rightly done. You should recognize your limitations and bow before God. The most powerful man in the nation recognizes he is but nothing before his God. David didn’t design the universe, space, or how bugs crawl on the ground. He can’t sustain his life one second longer. David’s greatness pales to God’s greatness. God’s greatness invokes humility.
I will exalt your name. Qum. It means to lift up high. I will bless your name. We speak well of God. Often we want and need God to bless us with things. We can’t do that with God. It’s like buying a present for your parents. What do you buy for the person who already has everything. What most blesses them is for you to honor them, celebrate who they are and the relationship you have with them. That’s what david does here.
Verse 2. There is an emphasis on the time we praise God. “In every day” is fronted. We praise him on every single day. No exception.
“No day must pass, though ever so busy a day, though ever so sorrowful a day, without praising God. We ought to reckon it the most needful of our daily employments, and the most delightful of our daily comforts.” Henry, M.
● God Acts
God does not sit idle. He is not unable to move. He is not an overwhelmed parent! He is real. He is active. When he doesn’t show up when you want him to it is not because he is unable to come, or unable to take your call or lost wifi signal. He is not too busy with others to get to you. He acts and does so in his perfect timing.
The mighty Acts here could be the different deliverances that he brought to David. It could refer to God delivering David from the hands of Saul. Saul tried to pin him to the wall with a spear; he plotted to destroy David. David fought many battles. David may be remembering those personal deliverances.
More probably it refers to God’s great Acts of redemption. When he displayed his might and wonder over and against the mightiest ruler in the world-- Pharoah. This might is God’s power to Act according to what he has spoken and promised. DAvid is probably reflecting on these mighty Acts of God in the past and it give him faith for the future.
We experience God’s action in a couple ways. The personal deliverances we experience. Hopefully all of us can testify to how God has acted in our lives. How he has provided and protected. His greatest act is the salvation he brings in Christ. Through Christ we are delivered from sin, death. We are made son and daughters of the living God. We are promised an eternal inheritance.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16-17 ESV).
V4 Literally “generation to generation.” God’s work in one generation can be shared with another. What do you pass on? Your misery or your gratitude? Are you quicker to share your dislikes or your praises of God? Pass along knowledge of how good, great, glorious God is. Helping people focus on that is going to help you focus on it too. The reason we don’t evangelize more is because we are often focused on our problems. We see the problems but we need to see the God who reigns over those problems.
● God is Good
Verse 7. Recollection of your abundant goodness. Not just good, but abundantly good. His goodness pours out of his people. Not drips. But pours. God’s goodness is always there but do you see it? Some people only see problems. We need to see his goodness.
“God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.” Elizabeth Elliot
Verse 8 (Psa 145:8 WT) One of my favorite expression of God. The Hebrews associated anger with the flaring of the nose. You understand that if you ever see anyone get mad. What they are saying here is that God has a long nose, he is slow to anger. Its beautiful picture.
In the book of Ezra the people rebel against God and Ezra prays for the people. He says, “And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved and have given us such a remnant as this,” (Ezr 9:13 ESV). That’s thankfulness. God goodness in that he is patient and forgiving. He does not punish us as our sins deserve. You deserve judgment for your sin. Each day you do not experience that judgment is a day of grace. A day to be thankful.
God is good even when it does not seem so. David wrote this psalm. If you ever feel like you have a hard life read the life of David. He had many challenges, battles, failures, and yet he praise God with all his being. His gratitude was not a reflection of ideal circumstances, but rather his vision of God. Do you have that vision of God? Do you see God for being as great as he truly is.
David spent much of his life waiting on God. We will do the same. Notice it says “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.” (Psa 145:15 ESV). It doesn’t mean we get what we want right then. It comes in due time. When God sees it is time.
You don’t pick apples in the spring, pumpkins don’t grow in summer. You wait for the right season. So too you have to wait for God to provide in due time. Seeds have to be planted and then go through a process of growth; fruit that doesn’t mature is no good and so too God doesn’t want you to bypass the natural process of maturing.
Remember this as we celebrate the holiday. Thanksgiving was started by a group of people who fled their previous country because of religious persecution, they were in a howling wilderness with few permanent buildings, and they gave thanks on this occasion because they finally had a year of good crops, due to the kindness of some natives, and they could put what is by our accounts a modest meal on the table.
*God presence does not mean life without challenges, God’s presences means we have confidence in the challenges, it means he is with us through it all and those things will not triumph over us.*
V20 reminds the ultimate hope that we have. The Lord preserves all who love him, but he wicked he will destroy. When we oppose, resist and reject God we oppose the greatest being in the world. If we trust and follow him we can expect a complete preservation. God preserves us through death. Death is no longer the end but the gateway to heaven.
That is a great hope, and once again when we see the hope we have then we have to speak of it, v21 “my mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,” and “all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.”
God is great, he has a great plan for us, and it is only appropriate that we give thanks to him. Not just on this day, but on every day.
“We need to discover all over again that worship is natural to the Christian, as it was to the godly Israelites who wrote the psalms, and that the habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal.” J.I. Packer
People are seeing the need to be more thankful. Some connect it with the way to be emotionally healthy. I agree that we need to be emotionally healthy and expressing gratitude helps us get there. But God wants you healthy in every way. That health begins with a relationship with Jesus Christ. It begins with seeing God for who he is and living in light of what he has done for you. Once you have that the by product is joy, love peace, patience, kindness and yes thankfulness. It changes all of life. IT changes our disposition. If you have not trusted in Christ as your Lord and Savior I want to encourage you to start there. Talk with someone about who Christ is. Ask questions. Read the Bible. Figure out who Jesus is and what he has done for you.
If you are a Christian don’t think that you are done with turning to Christ because you did it years ago. Are you aware of his work for you? Is God’s grace amazing to you or have you moved on? If you are grumpy and bitter at life then you have forgotten who your God is. You need to look at God’s amazing grace that comes to you in a crucified Savior, a Savior who died for you sin, your bitterness, your lack of affection. He did not die so you could stay as you are, but so that you might, as 1 Thess 5:16 says, “Always be joyful.”