In preparation for Thanksgiving, I’ve been looking up words such as thanks and thank, in my bible to see what I could learn from the contexts in which they are used. During my search, I came across two Psalms that I would have never associated with this holiday if it had not been for the guidance of my Bible’s concordance. The Psalms I’m talking about are Psalm 118 and 145. These passages are nothing less than lavish accounts of praise for God rooted in who He is.
So what does this have to do with Thanksgiving? Well, I know this year has been a hard one for a lot of people. With so much happening, it can be difficult to face a holiday like Thanksgiving. By the very nature of its name, Thanksgiving is a reminder to be grateful for the many blessings we have been given. Yet, under the crushing weight of our burdens, it can be hard to think of anything to be thankful for at all. But as I read these Psalms I realized that despite all the hardships we may face, we still have abundant reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving. Because even if we had nothing but the clothes on our back this Thursday, we would still have God. He is the greatest gift we could ever receive. So I could think of no more appropriate thing to write about on the week of this holiday then a post celebrating God and expressing thankfulness for all that He is.
In light of this reflection, I’ve taken the liberty of combing through Psalms 118 and 145 and compiling a list of what these passages say about God and who He is. And when all is said and done, these psalms give us 12 irrefutable reasons to praise God this Thanksgiving. Today, I will be sharing the first six with you, and I’ll be back tomorrow with the final six. I hope it will encourage you and inspire praise as you prepare for the holidays this week.
#1 God is a God of Abundant Goodness
Psalm 118 opens with this simple line:
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good…Psalm 118:1a
God is not some lawless, chaotic being poised over His mortal subjects with a lightning bolt like the pagan deities of Greek Mythology. He is good! In fact, Psalm 145 takes it one step further and proclaims that God’s goodness is abundant!
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness … The LORD is good to all and his mercy is over all that he has made.Psalm 145:7a, 9
#2 God’s Steadfast Love Endures Forever
Building on God’s goodness, the Psalmist continues with a proclamation of God’s love for His people:
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!Psalm 188:1
The fact that God could love us –broken, ugly sinners– at all is amazing. Psalm 118 reminds us, however, that not only does God love us, but He will never stop loving us!
#3 God Answers Us When We Call on Him
Sometimes it can feel like our prayers are rising up into an empty void, but these Psalms bring us the comforting assurance that our prayers to God never go unheard. Not only that, but they remind us that God is near to His people, even if we can’t always feel His presence.
The LORD is near to those who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.Psalm 145:18-19
#4 God is a Sure Refuge
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.Psalm 118:8-9
As the ESV study notes put it, these verses demonstrate that God is a sure refuge for all His people. In fact, it is better to turn to Him then it is to turn to anything else. Even princes, men of position and power, are not able to offer the security and safety that God offers His people.
#5 God Delivers Us and Helps Us
All nations surrounded me; in the name of the LORD I cut them off! … I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the LORD helped me.Psalm 118:10,13
In these verses, the Psalmist describes a desperate situation. He is completely surrounded by a massive army of multiple nations. Yet, even in such a bleak situation as that, the Psalmist is able to declare victory because of God’s help and deliverance. Though I would assume most of us today aren’t facing vicious armies, all of us have things in our lives that are difficult and often overwhelming. But no matter how hopeless our situations may seem to us, we can have confidence in a God who delivers and helps His people– even if we never see that deliverance fully until the next life.
#6 God is Righteous
Just as we have the comfort that we serve a God who is good, we can also have confidence that we serve a God who is righteous in everything that He does.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.Psalm 145:17
Praise the Lord that we serve a good and righteous God!
You may have noticed that at the beginning of this post I mentioned that I’ll be back tomorrow with the final six points. If you’ve been following my blog at all, you know that I usually post every other week. But I figured that for Thanksgiving I’d splurge a little and do a holiday special! So even though I’m closing out this blog post for now, I’m hoping to get part two up tomorrow morning.
Until then, I’ll end with what the Psalmist said in Psalm 118:1,
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!