Friday (3/20/2020) - Lord God, by your Word fill me with a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving
1 Chronicles 16:7–36 -On that day David gave to Asaph and his fellow Levites this song of thanksgiving to the Lord: Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given, you children of his servant Israel, you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones. He is the Lord our God. His justice is seen throughout the land. Remember his covenant forever— the commitment he made to a thousand generations. This is the covenant he made with Abraham and the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, and to the people of Israel as a never-ending covenant: “I will give you the land of Canaan as your special possession.” He said this when you were few in number, a tiny group of strangers in Canaan. They wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. Yet he did not let anyone oppress them. He warned kings on their behalf: 22“Do not touch my chosen people, and do not hurt my prophets.” Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the Lord made the heavens! Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling. O nations of the world, recognize the Lord, recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong. Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!” Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he is coming to judge the earth. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Cry out, “Save us, O God of our salvation! Gather and rescue us from among the nations, so we can thank your holy name and rejoice and praise you.” Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting! And all the people shouted “Amen!” and praised the Lord.
It should be pretty easy to be thankful when things are going well, isn’t it? When there is money in the bank, security in our job and toilet paper on grocery store shelves it should be so easy to sit back and to be grateful. But that also seems to be the times we forget to be thankful. Maybe it’s because we think we deserve all the good things we have in life. Or perhaps we struggle to express thanks because we have forgotten what it’s like to be uncertain of tomorrow.
Then we often go the other extreme and things aren’t going so well. We are afraid we are going to lose our job or our retirement funds. We struggle with difficult circumstances and in our fear, we never remember to be thankful. After all, what do we have to be thankful for in times like that? Maybe I am unique in this (but I don’t think I am) – I am most grateful when I am coming out of the storms of life and starting to sense some hope. Then I am quick to tell those around me thank you; I remember to express my gratitude to God.
I am pretty sure as I read passages like our text today that this kind of sporadic thankfulness is not at all what God wants from us. His preference is that we are always thankful even when our circumstances are less than desirable. David said “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His faithful love endures forever.” This is the key to thankfulness. Our willingness to give thanks should not be based on our circumstances. Our gratitude should not be only be shown when we get what we want. No matter what problems we face, we know that God is always good and that his love will never end. Are you expressing thankfulness only when you get what you want? If so, you may have the wrong motivation for thankfulness.
Today, regardless of what you hear on the news and the circumstances you face, try giving thanks to God. Be motivated by the fact that his love endures. And then start expressing gratitude to those around you. They need to hear something good just as much as you do!