“Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God. It is He who has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the LORD is good; His loving-kindness is everlasting. And His faithfulness to all generations” (Psa. 100).
Note that this brief but beloved Psalm, which calls on all men to praise and worship the LORD (Yahweh) because He is God (Elohim—vv. 1-3) and He is good (vv 4,5), distinguishes between thanksgiving and praise (v. 4). We are to give thanks for what God has done and we are to praise God for who He is. Thanksgiving and praise are a genuine part of faith, for they demonstrate our trust in the goodness and sovereign control of God, acknowledging that He works all things (good and bad) together for good to those who love Him, as He conforms us to the image of Christ (Ro. 8:28-30). Not everything is good in itself. Some things are cruel and evil and hurtful and hateful; but God weaves them together into a pattern that is to our eternal benefit. He has guaranteed it (Ro. 8:18; Heb. 12:9-11).
Giving Thanks for what God Has Done:
1. In Samuel’s farewell address to Israel, he challenged the people saying: “Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you”
(I Sam. 12:24).
2. The Psalmist, David, wrote: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons…heals…redeems…and Who satisfies…I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of thy wonders” (Psa. 103:1-5; 9:1,2).
3. Thanksgiving should accompany all our prayer requests. “In everything by prayer, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phi. 4:7).
4. True thanksgiving does not depend on circumstances and keeps our spirits sweet in the midst of adversity.
a. Paul and Silas were found singing praises at midnight after being beaten and placed in stocks in prison (Acts 16)
b. The prophet Habakkuk wrote: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines; though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food; though the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there be no cattle in the
stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 3:17,18).
c. When the three Hebrews faced Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace for failure to worship his gods and the golden image he had set up, they responded: “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace..But even if He does not…we are not
going to serve your gods or worship the golden image…” (Dan. 3:17,18).
d. When Daniel heard that a statute had been passed that he could only pray to to King Darius, “He entered his house…and continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had done previously” (Dan. 6:10).
e. The Apostle Paul, who faced tremendous adversity, wrote: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thes. 5:18), and to the Ephesian believers wrote: “Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ…” (Eph. 5:20).
f. In the most difficult circumstances, there are things for which to be thankful. If you can’t be thankful for anything else, thank God that you don’t have to pass through that trial alone, that He will be with you and not forsake you (Dt. 31:6-8; Isa. 43:2; He. 13:5). Knowing this, the
heart of faith can give thanks for all things.
Praising God for Who He Is:
1. Praise is an important element in prayer and worship. Note in Psalm 100 that the psalmist praises God for His goodness, His loving-kindness and His faithfulness (v. 5).
2. The song of praise must be related to the object of praise. When praising God becomes a mindless thing which is more influenced by evocative music than genuine heartfelt gratitude, watch out! Genuine praise must spring from Who God Is. Praise should be the natural response of Christians caught up in love and gratitude for the Lord and for all He means to us.
3. With our colleagues at work, with our family and neighbors, with our classmates, what our lives declare about our faith will either endorse or negate what our lips say. Does the way we live shout “PRAISE” ???
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the LORD is good”
(Psa. 100: 4,5a).
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving time and don’t forget to offer up your praise and thanksgiving to the One who made it all possible.