On this Thanksgiving holiday, I have been reflecting on what families should be grateful for as they gather together to give thanks and reflect within themselves on the many blessings of God. It’s safe to say that we live in a society that, even in our “thankfulness”, lends itself to a self-focus. And further more, we very rarely give thanks to the Creator and Giver of all things. However, for those of us who are believers this should not be so. Everything in life is seen as a mercy gift from our gracious heavenly Father who loves us. The Psalmist gives us a command to give thanks: “Oh give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: because His mercy endures forever [Psalm 118].” In verse three of Psalm 118, the Psalmist tells the “house of Aaron” to give thanks. As a household, we should be giving thanks and not just on this holiday week but each and every day. I encourage you to read the rest of the chapter because I want to take a look at just a few of the many reasons this Psalm compels us to give thanks.
1. He is Merciful
The Psalmist repeats this phrase five times. It must be pretty important if it is given this much repetition. But why? Because he knows that without the mercy of the Lord, all of us, even the wicked, would not know the blessings we receive each day. It is only of the mercy of God that anyone in this world receives anything he or she has. Remember this as you drive your car. Remember this when you put on your clothes. Remember this when you take a hot shower. Remember this as you feast on this Thanksgiving Day.
2. He Hears us
“I called upon the Lord in my distress: the Lord answered…v.5” Our God hears us. He is listening and answering. Live and pray as such. Pray often. Give thanks often. Ask often. Know He is and will answer. He will deliver you. He will be your strength. He will meet your needs. He desires to commune with you in prayer.
3. He Fights for us
The Lord will and is fighting for you. He has helped and guided you. He has been your strength. When you were surrounded by the enemy or compassed by much sorrow and fight, remember as the Psalmist says [v.10-12], “for in the name of the Lord I [destroyed] will destroy them…” Never give up, because the Lord has and will fight for you.
4. He is our salvation
Grace has been pored upon us in over abundance. Our God has lavished His grace upon us. The Psalmist knows and proclaims it with confidence: “I will praise Thee: for Thou hast heard me and art become my salvation [v.21].” This, of all things, ought to make us most thankful: grace so rich and free. Give thanks for God’s grace. For by it you have been saved, and by it you now live.
From the Psalmist perspective, he tells a story of hardship. He has been wearied and torn. The fight has been intense. Suffering and evil have compassed him on all sides. Yet, he knows he has been blessed even in the midst of it all, because his God has been at his side. So, maybe it’s been a hard year for you and your family. Maybe things have not gone as you thought or planned. But remember this: “His mercy endures forever”. This alone is reason enough to give thanks. At the end of the day, whether as a family or as an individual, we know that anything beyond God’s saving grace is more than we deserve. We, of all people, should be most grateful. What reasons have we to complain? Our souls are being saved; our lives are in the hand of a sovereign and loving master. So, as you sit around the table with your family this Thanksgiving, remember that you of all people are most blessed and therefore have much to give thanks for.
Thanking Him with you,