November 24, 2022 | by: John Lee | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
“Happy Thanksgiving!” A simple yet helpful phrase reminding us here in the United States that it is the last Thursday of November. It’s the time of year for many of us that is filled with the joy of family, food, and counting one’s blessings from the Lord. For others, this year’s Thanksgiving is extremely difficult. It has been a year of life challenges, hardships, loss of loved ones, and it may simply seem impossible to give thanks.
Yet, wherever you find yourself today, God’s gracious call for us to give thanks in all circumstances is not unprecedented. In a way, the imperative to give thanks is a reorienting grace. If you are like me, my heart’s giving of thanks often finds root in things that are quite movable, unstable, and shaky. We often learn the hard way that the wonderful and good gifts God blesses His children with are unreliable sources for lasting thanksgiving. So, I’d like to draw our attention to the wonderful eternal truths in Psalm 136, a reminder that our thanksgiving finds its source in something, or rather someone, immovable.
In this Psalm’s 26 verses, the psalmist lays forth the command to give thanks and the reasons for doing so. For this Touchpoint, we’ll hone in on the first 3 verses of this psalm. These first 3 verses frame the rest of this psalm. Let’s take a look:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever
A few things to highlight in this wonderful psalm of praise or thanksgiving:
1) The repeated call to give thanks to the Lord. The Bible’s call to give thanks is not primarily in the gifts we’ve received but in the One, the Lord, who gives. The Lord who gives is good (v.1) and superior to any possible substitute we could dream of or think of (v.2-3). As much as the blessings and gifts we experience in this life ought to result in lives that are thankful, these gifts ultimately serve the greater purpose of pointing us to our Lord. He is the gracious God who delights to give. He is not a God who hoards or withholds from his children, rather we are reminded that He who did not spare his only Son, but gave him up for us all, is He who also with him is the gracious giver of all things (Rom. 8:32). In light of who God is, let us give thanks!
2) The repeated assurance of God’s steadfast, no-end-in-sight love. God is faithful to remind us of the things we often need reminders of, namely, His steadfast, immoveable, covenant love toward us. An unending thanksgiving lies in the unending, steadfast love of God for His people. If you are in Christ, this very assurance can be said to be for you. It is a covenantal love not secured by us but in and through Christ Jesus for us. As sure as Christ’s blood has been shed and body broken for sinners, like you and me, and just as sure as Christ is risen from the grave—so too is the assurance of us having God’s steadfast love. That means even in the times when this feels to be untrue, we’d be better off to doubt our feelings rather than this objective truth and reality of God’s unchanging, never-ending, immovable, unshaken, never-revoked love for us in Christ Jesus. In light of God’s steadfast love for us in Christ, let us give thanks!
3) God’s love for us has no end, which calls for unending thanksgiving. God’s steadfast love is all the more heightened as we consider that He is the God of gods (v. 2), the creator and upholder of every molecule and minute of history and life (v. 4-9), the victorious deliverer of His people (v. 10-22), the One who knows and remembers us (v. 23-24), and the One from whom all blessings flow (v. 25-26). There are hardly enough words to describe the wonders of these truths! The God of heaven (v. 26) is not a “far off” God but is the God who, in His steadfast love, is for us and presently with us!
Take some time and meditate on the truths here in this psalm this week. May our hearts overflow in giving thanks to the God of heaven whose steadfast love endures forever. In light of these glorious truths and in Christ, Happy Thanksgiving!
Soli Deo Gloria,