I know it’s almost April, but I was thinking about Thanksgiving as I read this Psalm and thought I would ask you to think about your Thanksgiving traditions. What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Gathering with family and friends (something we’ve all had to curtail during this pandemic)? The food? Perhaps watching or playing a sporting event? Just taking a break from the normal routines of life?
What about the actual giving of thanks? Is that part of your Thanksgiving celebration?
Psalm 50 basically breaks down into three parts. At the beginning of the Psalm, the Lord calls the people and chastises them for their casual worship. The Lord tells the people that their formulaic worship is not what He desires, needs, or requires from the people. What the Lord wants is for their hearts to be centered on Him.
At the end of the Psalm, the Lord harshly condemns the wicked who have turned away from Him, but even then, the Lord calls them to return to Him.
And in the middle of it all, there is the focus on thanksgiving, and we learn that the Lord not only appreciates thanksgiving but values our “sacrifice of thanksgiving” (vs.14).
Thanksgiving to the Lord is awesome and there are three reasons why it’s important in our relationship with the Lord.
First, thanksgiving blesses the Lord and helps us to grow in our trust and relationship with the Lord.
Not so for the thankless person. They often live with little knowledge of who the Lord is and what He has done for us and as a result, they have no relationship with the Lord.
Thanksgiving then is a relational connection between us and the Lord in His goodness. And when we give thanks to the Lord, we acknowledge our relationship with Him and our dependence on His grace and mercy.
Thanksgiving to the Lord is an outward indication that our hearts are centered and entrusted to the Lord.
Second, Thanksgiving helps keep us faithful.
In our passage, thanksgiving is linked with doing what we should be doing and in verse 23 we read that our thanksgiving not only glorifies the Lord, thanksgiving also helps us to order our ways on Him. Our hearts and minds are centered on the Lord as we remember His love and goodness which helps us to remain faithful to the Lord regardless of our circumstances.
Finally, thanksgiving makes us whole.
Giving thanks reorders the perceptions of our circumstances, helping us to have a positive attitude and making us happier people. Thanksgiving has that wonderful effect of shifting us away from what we don’t have, to reminding us how we are blessed.
I know this sounds like oversimplified advice, but I encourage you to engage in thanksgiving every day. It’s so easy to focus on other things and just go through the motions with our worship and in our prayers especially these days with our cultural unrest, the pandemic, and our worries about the future.
But if we will just take the time to thank the Lord for who He is, for His goodness, for His constant presence with us, for the gift of His Son Jesus, and for all the ways that we are truly blessed, then the orientation of our hearts will stay true to the Lord and He will work through us to bring His blessings to our hungry and thirsty world.
How might you give a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord today?
God bless you and know that I am praying for you constantly.