“Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men!” Psalm 107:21 (NASB)
Giving thanks is an important activity in the life of faith believers. We’re commanded to be thankful for everything and that is not always easy. This week we have celebrated Thanksgiving Day in the USA. To the north in Canada, our friends have celebrated Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October. But whenever we pause for a national day of thanksgiving, it is good to think of the real reason we do that. We have reason to make every day a day of Thanksgiving. Today’s verse is just one of many that focuses on giving thanks to the Lord. He is certainly worthy of our thanks. He has done so much for each of us. He has loved us and because of His love He has brought us into His family. Some of us will be together with our earthly family and we should remember God’s help for each of our loved ones and let’s be thankful that God has brought us into His family.
“What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the Lord.” – Psalm 116:12-13 (NASB)
The benefits we faith believers receive from the LORD are more numerous than what we can count or list. They are poured out upon His children because He is a merciful God, loving and without change. God needs nothing and puts no price on His free mercy and grace. Although many believe and strive to “be good enough” to earn God’s approval, such acts do nothing to secure their salvation. The psalmist says something interesting “I shall lift up the cup of salvation.” This is the only place in the Old Testament where this exact phrase is used. It might have the meaning of ‘the cup’ in Psalms 16:5; 23:5; which speak of the circumstances God provides to the redeemed. In contrast may be Psalm 75:8 and the cup of God’s wrath. Drink offerings were part of thank offerings in: Exodus 29:40-41. More likely it refers to that part of the sacrifice included with his thank offerings. Both grain and drink both expressed thanks for having received salvation – which delivered them death. The cup is lifted up in praise to the LORD of Hosts. Others hearing are edified, which is one of the purposes of public praise.
“For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15-16 (ESV)
It is true that the physical bodies are by nature in a steady decay. There is no miracle or magical method that will arrest what the Apostle Paul calls ‘wasting away.’ That fact does not stop our unending search for renewal; attempting to find ways to slow the physical decline and maintain the vitality of youth. Our verses come in this chapter just after Paul has detailed what he has experienced in his body on account of his effort to bring the gospel and teaching of Jesus Christ to them. All that has happened has been for the sake of those who were served in Paul’s ministry. In other words, when the gospel enters the hearts and lives of an ever-increasing number of people, God’s grace abounds. These are fellow believers who begin to lead unbelievers to Christ. And as a result, all believers now live to please God and express their thanks to him. The effect of physical decay on Paul is that he does not lose heart and we shouldn’t either. We are promised that the eternal part of us which is within our soul and spirit is renewed every day.
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV)
Is it possible that the turmoil governments in many countries cause a certain amount of anxiety? Is it possible that we find ourselves wondering how to respond or pray for those in leadership of the government? So much seems bent on an evil course. Because Jesus always prays, we can always pray. Every sinner is in the reach of God’s grace, and no sinner is beyond the need for prayer. When the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, he gave these instructions for prayer. God desires all kinds of men and women to be saved. So he instructs us to pray for the salvation of all kinds of men and women. No boundary is set to limit our prayers for the salvation of the lost. We are to follow in obedience these instructions even though we know it is God who saves. He chose us even before the foundation of the world. It may seem like a contradiction or dichotomy we cannot resolve. In our limited abilities to reason and understand, it is just that. But it is what God has given us to do. Pray for all and exclude none as our Lord God has assigned to us this duty.
“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30 (ESV)
If looking to magnify something, how do we go about doing it? We have two options. Use a telescope which brings a really big things visually closer so we can see more detail clearly. The fuzzy dot in the sky called Saturn can be seen with its distinct rings. The other option is using a microscope which makes very small things⸺even those that cannot be seen with our eye, appear much larger than they are. A minute particle is made large enough for us to see detail clearly. In our verse today, David declares that he will “magnify God” with his thanksgiving. He does not mean that he will make a small God look bigger than he is. He does mean that he will make a big God begin to look as big as he really is. So, perhaps we are called not to be microscopes but to be telescopes. We magnify God and in doing that we bring him closer and more visible. John Piper says this; “The whole duty of the Christian can be summed up in this: feel, think, and act in a way that will make God look as great as he really is.”
Thanks to DesiringGod by John Piper https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-to-magnify-god
“It is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:15 (ESV )
Gratitude is a positive and joyful emotion and especially so when it is for what God has for us. We have a sense of joyful appreciation for his grace. Does that mean, in a sense, we are still the beneficiaries of the very emotion of gratitude. By its very nature, gratitude exalts the giver. When we feel thankful, we acknowledge our need and God’s fullness, the riches of his glory. Just as when we humble ourselves and exalt the service provider in when we say, “Thank you,” so we humble ourselves and exalt God when we even feel gratitude to him. The difference, of course, is that we really are infinitely in debt to God for his grace, and everything he does for us is free and undeserved. The wonderful thing about the gospel is that the response it requires from us for God’s glory is most natural and; namely, thankfulness for grace. God’s all-supplying glory in giving and our humble gladness in receiving are not in competition. Joyful thankfulness glorifies God. A life that gives glory to God for his grace and a life of deepest gladness are the same life. And what makes them one is thankfulness.
Thanks to Desiring God and John Piper for this contribution.
“ Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones. … To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, And call upon the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:15 & 17 (NASB)
The psalmist recalls how he faced certain death and God acted to save him. God extended his life of service. He vowed to acknowledge the Lord and to pay his vows in the temple. Psalm 116 is a personal song of thanksgiving for deliverance from impending death. While physical death is imminent in respect to the span of all time, we do not dwell on the thought so much. Until we become aware that it is looming. If we have not yet been in that situation we all likely know someone who has or is. The psalmist wrote this song because when he experienced the nearness of death, he cried for help, God pulled him out of danger of death. So, he promises to let all people know how thankful he is. His words of praise to God and the giving of a proper thanksgiving sacrifice are done publicly. Like he stood on the steps leading into the Temple and affirmed his thanks to God to all. We know God cares about each of us, even when physical death comes our way. Our promise is that our life, the life of every believer, is precious to God.
“ You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11–12. (ESV)
Do you ever consider how our thankfulness to God is a sacrifice pleasing to Him. Context is important in our selected verses. The Apostle Paul in this second letter to the believers in Corinth is encouraging them to be generous with what God has given them to live on. Paul was collecting offerings to help the saints in Jerusalem who were facing a pressing need under persecution. Paul teaches us two reasons for giving generously. First: A principle holds true in both the natural and the spiritual spheres: the size of a harvest corresponds to the range of the sowing. One can enjoy all their grain by consuming it, or they may reduce their store of it by sowing it and later reaping a bountiful harvest. Another reason for giving generously is that God loves us generosity. God esteems not the size of the gift but the giver’s attitude, sincerity (not reluctantly), choice (not under compulsion), and joyful willingness of a cheerful giver. The more one gives to others, the more they are enriched, and thus they can be generous in giving. Such a generous spirit toward others results in more and more people giving God the gift of thanksgiving.