Give Thanks Unto the Lord

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High, to show forth thy loving-kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.” —Psalm 92:1,2

IT IS most commendable to give thanks—and especially unto our Father in heaven. At this time of the year the people of the United States and Canada are reminded of a holiday called “Thanksgiving.” It is observed in the United States because our pilgrim forefathers were reverential, and had cause for gratitude. The land that they found was not easy to cultivate, but they managed to bring forth a harvest of plenty. In appreciation, and with thankfulness, they had a feast of thanksgiving, which since has become a national holiday.

Psalm 92:4,5 states: “For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work; I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works, and thy thoughts are very deep.” Every day, as we encounter the Lord’s works, they should evoke thankfulness and praise from us. The hurry and scurry in our lives interferes with giving proper attention and scrutiny to these creative works of the Lord. God has indeed provided for our every need. All the sustenance for life has been made available by his power and grace. Yet if we should fail to praise the Lord for his wonderful works, the Psalmist David tells us that these works will speak for themselves: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it, and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.”—Ps. 19:1-6

The heavens indeed declare the glory of God. What a marvelous glory is the vastness of the heavens, and who can comprehend them? Who that serves him can fail to praise and acknowledge him who created all these things? At night we are able to see the stars and planets. During the day the sun shines, and speaks of God’s goodness that none of us could ever express in words.

Today the world is much concerned about the energy problem. There is an acute, growing awareness of the limitations of the supply of fossil fuels and the way in which our society has increased its dependence upon these fuels. The population continues to increase, and as backward nations continue to develop they, too, increase their needs. Suddenly the nations with large oil supplies such as the Arab states, Nigeria, Mexico, Iran, Libya, and Venezuela, have found themselves in a position of influencing the economic stability and growth of the industrial nations of the western world as these nations have become dependent upon them for their oil supplies. Oil is the most easily used fossil fuel for energy needs; it is an absolute must for gasoline and the automobile, and for many chemicals that are needed by modern society. Hence the need for oil impacts with greater force on the developed and advanced nations of the western world than it does on the underdeveloped countries. But even the under-developed countries look to their big brothers (the developed nations) to help them develop, which means an even greater consumption of oil.

Our scientists look up at the sun, as did David centuries ago, and know that there is all the energy we need. They know that the sun causes plants to grow, and that these plants supply us with food, shelter, and energy. They seek ways to convert these plants Into the fuels we need. But what scientists would like to know most of all is how to use the vast supply of the sun’s energy directly.

As we ponder the events in the world, it should make us more aware of the ways in which God has supplied all of our needs, directly and indirectly by the sun, and lift our hearts in thankfulness. We should recall how the Lord has used the sun as a symbol of the church that will shine forth in the millennial kingdom to provide blessings for everyone: “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. 13:43) “Unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” (Mal. 4:2) We cannot expect the world to be thankful for these blessings today, but in God’s kingdom they will rejoice in the sun, both literal and symbolic, even as David rejoiced in his day.

Today, those who are not aware of God’s great works will not try to understand his teachings. Those who do become aware will go on to the experiences recounted by David: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned, and in keeping of them there is great reward.”—Ps. 19:7-11

The knowledge of God should be treasured above all other knowledge; its possession will have all the effects described by David. Through this knowledge we are revived and made wise; our hearts rejoice and our vision is made keen. The value of this knowledge exceeds all the wealth in the world. It pleases us more than any physical delight we have ever experienced.

One way of expressing gratitude for the many benefits we receive daily from God is to thank him for our food at mealtime. Jesus did so during his earthly ministry. We may remember most of all the incident when he preached to the multitude by the Sea of Galilee as recorded in John 6:1-13. There were 5,000 people assembled and they were hungry. Jesus asked Philip how the disciples planned to buy bread for the people, and Philip said that if they bought bread for 200 denarii (probably all they had), it still would not be enough. Since they neither had the money nor the time to get the food, they searched for food in the crowd. Andrew brought a boy to Jesus who had five barley loaves and two fish, and said, “But what are they among so many?” (John 6:9, RSV) What was found seemed so inadequate for the task of feeding the multitude! But Jesus asked everyone to sit down, and he took the loaves, “and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.” (John 6:11, RSV) Thus the multitude was fed, and there was a surplus remaining.

Jesus always gave thanks to the Father. Before he passed the unleavened bread and the cup to his disciples to partake of the Last Supper, it is recorded that he gave thanks. (Luke 22:17,19) We also must remember to thank the Lord for his goodness whenever we partake of our “daily bread” or have solemn spiritual feasts.

Many parents teach their children to be thankful. When the children are young, the parents may have to prompt them to give thanks for gifts they have received. Later the child learns to do so on his own. How refreshing it is when a child spontaneously and with enthusiasm is thankful and expresses it when receiving a gift! It pleases parents so much. So, also, we must react to the goodness of our Heavenly Father, who daily loads us with benefits. Without prompting we should try to be aware of the wonderful gifts bestowed upon us by our Father in heaven. With the Apostle Paul we should say, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift.”—II Cor. 9:15

This unspeakable Gift—gift beyond words—is the ransom, the life of our Lord Jesus, a most precious thing to our God. And it is precious in our sight, too. We will never in this present life be able to appreciate enough this wonderful Gift and to thank God enough for it. Through this Gift we have the opportunity to receive eternal life. The apostle has well said, For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”—Rom. 6:23

Life should be appreciated by us, and we should give thanks for it, as David said: “For in death there is no remembrance of Thee: in the grave who shall give Thee thanks?” (Ps. 6:5) When a person dies, his thoughts and actions cease. He cannot thank God then. This could remind us of several situations. One is that we must remember to thank God now (today), for we cannot thank him from the grave. The other is that the Adversary has diverted the great majority of mankind’s attention away from acknowledging, thanking, and praising God. But God did not intend that they should have been blinded and never given a chance to know and praise him. We know that his plan calls for all nations to praise him, even as prophesied in Psalm 96:7-13: “Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall Judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.”

How, then, can this happen if all the people are in their graves? As David wanted God to spare him so he could thank God, so we know from other scriptures that God will bring from the grave all those who sleep there. Then they can thank him, too. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [crisis—judgment].”—John 5:28,29

When all the world returns from the grave, they will celebrate Thanksgiving as never before. They will thank God profusely, and say with David: “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endureth forever. O give thanks unto the God of gods for his mercy endureth forever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords for his mercy endureth forever, to him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth forever; to him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth forever; to him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth forever; to him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth forever; the sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth forever; the moon and stars to rule by night, for his mercy endureth forever.”—Ps. 136:1-9

May these sentiments be ours also, always!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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