This week we celebrate Thanksgiving Day here in America. The first American Thanksgiving Day was celebrated in 1621 when the Pilgrims gave thanks for the harvest and God’s provision.
Today, the holiday seems to be more about having a party and watching several football games, rather than being thankful to God for His provision in our life.
There are several thanksgiving day celebrations recorded in the Bible. Typically they were days of feasting and celebration, but all centered on being thankful for God’s presence, provision, or protection.
Psalm 118 describes just such a celebration of thanks to God. Many scholars believe David wrote the Psalm, perhaps marking the restoration of the walls and gates of Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles in 444 B.C. That would certainly be cause for celebration!
The first four verses of Psalm 118 begin David’s prayer of thanks.
1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the LORD say, “His steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 118:1-4 (ESV)
Let’s dig a little deeper into these verses to see when we should give thanks, why we should give thanks, and who should give thanks.
When We Should Be Thankful
“Oh give thanks to the LORD.” God has blessed us in many ways. We should be especially thankful to God for his blessings upon our lives.
Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, said, “Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Certainly, we should give thanks for the blessings that God has provided, but Paul says we should give thanks in everything—even through the difficult and trying times of life.
Why We Should Be Thankful
The Psalmist gives us two reasons to give thanks to God. He writes, “for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”
We should give thanks to God first because He is good, and second because He loves us and His love is eternal.
God is the standard of good. Mark records Jesus’ words to the rich young ruler, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18).
We should give thanks to God simply because He is good.
The second reason we should give thanks says the Psalmist is, “his steadfast love endures forever.” The Hebrew word translated steadfast love is also translated mercy. God’s love, God’s mercy, endures forever. It existed before time, through Jesus’ death on the cross that brought salvation to us, and will continue forever. Now, that’s worthy of thanks!
Who Should Be Thankful
The Psalmist writes, “Let Israel say,” “Let the house of Aaron say,” and “Let those who fear the LORD say His steadfast love endures forever.”
“Let Israel say” speaks of the people of Israel. The “House of Aaron” speaks of the priests of Israel. And “Those who fear the LORD” speaks of the Gentile converts who fear the Lord.
In other words, all of God’s faithful, Jew and Gentile alike should give thanks.
So this week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day here in America, let’s make this thanksgiving day a celebration of God’s grace and mercy, His great provision, and His many blessings poured out into our lives.
And if you don’t happen to live in America, will you join with us, thanking God, as Paul says, in everything?
Join the Conversation
As always questions and comments are welcome! How did you do today? Were you able to take a few minutes to reflect on God’s great blessings in your life? If you did, did being thankful to God, impact you emotionally?
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Category: Personal Development | Character