The Who and Why of Thanksgiving (Psalm 136)

ww39Every November families get together. They celebrate the holiday known as Thanksgiving. Yet, how many families truly spend the time of reflecting on thankfulness? Consider your own life: Do you approach this season by think who you are thankful for? Do you stop to think why you are even thankful in the first place? My concern is that we do not, but I think we should. Reflecting on Psalm 136, I believe we can begin to let our hearts be softened to the who and why of thanksgiving. From the first three verses it is clear the One who deserves the most thanks is God. In that short span of three verses, the phrase “Give thanks to the Lord” is repeated three times. Surely, God is worthy of our praise. Moving from the ‘who’ to the ‘why’, the rest of Psalm 136 explain why God is to be thanked. A few instances reveal the multifaceted thankfulness of our hearts to God. God is to be thanked because…

  • He does great wonders and works (v. 4)
  • He is the Creator of the world (v. 5-9)
  • He brought Israel out of the land of Egypt (v. 10-22)
  • He remembers us and rescues us (v. 23-26)

The one true God has done great things in the world, creating it and coming into it. Most profoundly, though, we come to God, especially in this season of thankfulness, with joy because of His rescuing us and redeeming us through the gospel of Christ. Because Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, came to live the life we couldn’t and died the death we deserved, we can have the forgiveness of sins. Because He rose again and is now ascended, we can have the hope of eternal life. This is because “His steadfast love endures forever”. Will you thank God for who He is and what He has done as you reflect on His Person, words, and acts?

Reflection Time:

  • Spend time with your family this Thanksgiving holiday, sharing how God has worked in your life this year. What does this reveal about His character?
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