Thankful in All Circumstances
Sermon on Psalm 65
Theme: We call to God as our provider in all situations.
Goal: to encourage believers to look to God as the provider in all situations.
Need: We express our thankfulness to the provider after we have received.
Introduction: We express our thanks after the gift is given.
1. When there is sin: Holiness
2. When there is chaos: awesome deeds of power
3. When there is empty fields: Abundance
This Psalm leads us to think about three different parts of praise and thanksgiving. The Israelites were praising God in three parts. Three different items that they would give thanks for. And for us, they can serve us as a reminder for the different items of praise and thanksgiving that we can bring before God during our Thanksgiving celebrations.
You know even though some of us have already had the big turkey dinner with the family yesterday, thanksgiving isn’t a day, it’s a part of a relationship with God. So you can be thankful for these things even today. And tomorrow. And the next day. Maybe you can use your turkey sandwich today as a reminder of these things that we need to give thanks for.
The first part of the praise and thanksgiving of Psalm 65 is for an item we forget during our thanksgiving celebrations. We give thanks to God for holiness. Holiness.
Holiness is about purity and about being set apart for what isn’t pure. For the Israelites, they gave thanks to God that he has chosen to love his people regardless of what they have done. Verse 4 says, 4 Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
of your holy temple.
The Israelites were the only ones out of all the nations of the earth that God chose to love and forgive. They truly are blessed. And the Psalm even praises God that when he chooses his people, he listens to their prayers and he covers their sins.
Israel thanks God for Holiness. Choosing them. Setting them apart. Making them pure by forgiving them.
That’s a great idea for our lives of thanksgiving. Thank God that he out of his love still chooses to love his people. If we have faith in Christ, that is evidence, proof positive that God has called you to be holy through Jesus Christ. Through his blood he has made us pure and has set us on the path of learning to follow Jesus and be more godly every day.
Thank God for holiness.
The second part of the Israelites praise and thanksgiving is thanks that God’s power gives order to the world. Verse 5 still is giving thanks that God listens to the prayers of his people. Then it breaks out into this robust and powerful expression of thanks for God being the God who has the power to bring order into our chaos.Verse 6-8 say,
6 who formed the mountains by your power,
having armed yourself with strength,
7 who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.
8 Those living far away fear your wonders;
where morning dawns and evening fades
you call forth songs of joy.
Israel thanked God that he was not just the God who chose them, but the one has the power to lift up the mountains, to settle down the sea, and to still the upheaval in the nations of the world. The Israelites feared the treacherous terrain of the mountains. They feared the power of the waves. They feared the powerful nations. But God has the power to take every item of chaos in the world end it. Chaos listens to God.
The Israelites looked at the chaos of the world around them and thanked God that he as the one who controlled the chaos, listened to them and heard their requests. Thank God for control over chaos.
Couldn’t that make a great item for our thanksgiving as well? We look at Jesus and the way that he controlled the chaos during his life. Chaos listens to Jesus. The wind and the waves on the sea listened to Christ when he said quite be still. The devils listen to Jesus when he said come out. Even death listened to Jesus when he said little girl get up. Thank you Jesus that you have power over the chaos of life.
Even today, Jesus maintains the power over the chaos. When we sense the chaos in our life we can still give thanks that Christ is in control of the chaos. When we tell him of our pain he is the one with the power over the chaos. When we struggle with anxiety or stress or burnout, Christ is the one with the power over. We can give thanks to Christ that even here in our congregation we have seen people make amazing recoveries or been protected in amazing ways. When the economy was in chaos, God was still the God in control of all things. Even the chaos.
The third part of the Thanksgiving in the passage is a Thanks for abundance. Thanks for abundance. The last part of the chapter sounds like Thanksgiving passages. The people of Israel celebrate the harvest. In an agrarian society, the economy, and life really, depended on whether or not it rained. It depended on whether or not the food came up that season. The people of Israel saw the abundance that God had given to them and they could give thanks to God.
Our economy isn’t quite as dependant on whether or not the local harvest was any good. This morning you ate bread made in Toronto from grain grown in Alberta. Milk from cows in California fed by grain from Colorado.
But we give thanks to God for abundance still. None of us went hungry. None of us had to worry about food. In fact we live in abundance.
Give thanks for Holiness through Jesus Christ. Give thanks for Christ’s control over the chaos. Give thanks for abundance.
But that’s not all. One more thing for us to consider in our life of Thanksgiving and praise is the occasion that brings us to give thanks.
Today its because it’s a holiday. But in the life of people who are drawing nearer to God, Thanksgiving is a lifestyle. Thanks is something that we give to God both in the good times and the bad.
Paul tells us that he has learned to be content in whatever circumstance. That’s good. But how about giving thanks in the expectation that God is going to be the good God that he has promised to be.
I don’t know how you feel about it, but you might go to an event where they use a thank you as a reminder to do something. You know, the whole: Thank you in advance sort of thing. It seems a little bit patronizing doesn’t it. And I have done it.
“Thank you in advance for not leaving your bulletins in your pews.” “Thank you in advance for kindly putting all those lovely Tim Horton’s gift cards under my office door.” Thank you in advance for doing that.
Israel in advance is praising God for what he will do with the upcoming harvest. But its not so much that they are thanking him so that he will do it again. They are celebrating who God is. He is the God that deserves their praise during the good times and the bad. They give thanks with the expectation that God is going to be the god with the power to chose them for holiness. To control the chaos of life. To bring abundance. Here Israel is wondering about their harvest. Perhaps the season has been dry and they are wondering what God has in store for them. Yet the rest of the reality of who God is. And that he loves them.
How about us. Could we do that? Can we challenge ourselves to do that? It will involve giving thanks when thanks is the absolute last things we might feel like giving. Part of the relationship that we have with God is that in the times where we sin, we can say thank you God for your love. Make me better. In the times where chaos rules our life. Job- gone. What now. Health got a bad report. You might worry, but might it still be time to thank God for being who he is. The God with power over the chaos. Rebellion in the family. Broken relationships.
Even death. God. Thank you that even as I experience the chaos. I know you are beyond it all with the power to make it right. Somehow. You God are the one that we praise.
Thanks God for holiness.
Thanks God for your power over chaos.
Thanks God for your abundance
Thanks God for the past blessings and thanks in advance. We know you come through because of who you are.
Thanks God for being who you are.
And all God’s people say. AMEN.
 The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ps 65:4
 The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Ps 65:6-8