“Giving Thanks to Our Good and Wonderful God”
Thanksgiving is at the heart of the Christian faith. We give thanks to our good and wonderful God for the many ways that God has blest us. In our American culture, we give thanks to God in a special way for the blessings that God has given us as a country. God has blest us and we give heartfelt thanks to God for the many ways that God has blest us.
Vs. 1 “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.”
I believe that God gets a kick out of the noises that the earth and all the planets make as they orbit around the universe. God is even more delighted when those who have been made in the image of God give God glory and honor, thanksgiving and praise. God delights in the fact that human beings praise Him because human praise is a freely chosen decision. Human beings have the freedom to praise the Lord and human beings have the freedom to ignore the presence of our creator. Nothing else in all creation has that choice. The freedom God gives human beings to praise the Lord makes human praise special. The point is that human praise of God is our responsibility. This is what makes it valuable in God’s sight. As the first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism reminds us: The chief purpose of every human being is to glorify God and to enjoy the presence of God, forever.
For the Beauty of the Earth # 14 (verse 1)
Vs. 2 “Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.”
From the first of the Ten Commandments to the commandment of Jesus to love the Lord with all your heart, mind and strength, Christians are urged to put God first. There is no God besides God Almighty, the Maker and the Redeemer of all the heavens and the earth.
This is the JOY of worship! As human beings the JOY of worship is expressed in song and celebration. This is the essence of our Thanksgiving celebration. God has blest us, and in worship we come into God’s presence with songs of praise and thanksgiving. Thanks be to God!
For the Beauty of the Earth # 14 (verse 2)
Vs. 3 “Know that the Lord is God. It is He who has made us and we are His; we are His people, and sheep of His pasture.”
The psalmist urges us to a place of knowing, with certainty, that God loves us. There is not a wink of “I hope there is a God.” There is a calm assurance that God is the one who leads and guides us into the future with hope.
This is what having a deep assurance of salvation is all about. As the song reminds us: “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. O what a foretaste of glory divine.”
Two important traits of God’s glory are expressed in this verse:
- God is the one who made us and we are God’s people.
- As God’s people, we are like sheep. We are in need of the good and wonderful guidance that only God can give us.
For the Beauty of the Earth # 14 (verse 3)
Vs. 4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.”
The lifestyle of the Christian should be one of thanksgiving. The decision to give thanks to our creator is a human decision. No one can make it for us. Just as some choose to enter the gates of God’s house with thanksgiving and praise, some choose not to enter. They prefer to live far from the creator, not realizing that the creator is near no matter how far we run.
Our job, if we choose to accept it, is to give thanks to God and to bless God’s holy name. There is no higher human calling.
For the Beauty of the Earth # 14 (verse 4)
Vs. 5 “For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
It is said of Jesus that when someone called him good, Jesus corrected him and said that there is no one good but God. In like fashion, the psalmist calls God good. Why is God good? God is good because God’s faithfulness will never let us down. God’s faithfulness is forever. People, on the other hand, let us down. There are times when we let ourselves down. But God is different from the way we are; God is faithful unto all generations. As Paul tells the people in Corinth: God’s love never ends.
This courage to love is the basis of the Christian faith: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Thanksgiving reminds us of God’s amazing love.
Thanksgiving is a human, godly response to the love and care God that has for us.
Thanksgiving is a human response for the blessings God has provided us in this wonderful country, the United States of America.
But with thanksgiving comes responsibility. God wants us to work for a better world, a world filled with freedom and justice for all of God’s children. This kind of work is not easy. At times, we are asked to lay down our lives in defense of freedom. To give in to evil allows evil to grow, but with God’s help we are asked to stand against evil and live. In the end, good is more powerful than evil. In God’s providence good always wins out, but not without human effort, struggle, prayer and long-suffering.
God is good! With all our hearts we give thanks to God! God’s steadfast love endures forever! God’s faithfulness endures to all generations!
Thanks be to God!
**For the Beauty of the Earth # 14 (verse 5)
A TIME OF SILENCE AS WE GIVE THANKS TO GOD FOR OUR MANY BLESSINGS