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2006-11-19_Give Thanks_Psalm 136.1_SL

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Give Thanks to the Lord

Psalm 136:1   |   Shaun LePage   |   November 19, 2006

I.      Introduction

A.    Frances Ridley Havergal (“Take My Life”) every day wrote down on her calendar at least one thing (no matter how small) for which she thanked God. Way of thinking about thanks.

B.    “Thank” originally meant “think”; Thankful people think about how God has blessed.

C.    FBC follow-up: Foundations of Prayer—broken heart; grace; today: gratitude—thanks.

II.    Body—Psalm 136:1

A.    Give Thanks

1.     Give thanks by speaking praise.

a)     OT no equivalent to “thanks.” Yadah means “to declare publicly”=spoken praise! “Spoken out-loud, usually in the context of the community.”

b)     Most common NT word eucharisteo. Eucharist/Lord’s Supper—thankful for Christ/Cross: 1 Cor 11:26: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

2.     Give thanks in everything. Yadah (Ps 136:1) is imperative.

a)     Ingratitude reveals a sinful perspective.

(1)  Luke 17:11-19; 9 shamed for their ingratitude.

(2)  “In 1860, a ship went aground on the shore of Lake Michigan near Evanston, and Edward Spencer waded again and again into the frigid waters to rescue 17 passengers. In the process, his health was permanently damaged. Some years later at his funeral, it was noted that not one of the people he rescued ever thanked him.” (Our Daily Bread, February 20, 1994)

(3)  Romans 1:18-21; 2 Timothy 3:1-2

(4)  King Lear (Shakespeare): How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!

b)     Gratitude reveals a mature perspective.

(1)  Luke 17:11-19; 1 honored for gratitude; Gratitude brings God glory.

(2)  Phil 4.6; Col 4:2: Gratitude is important aspect of a mature prayer life.

(3)  1 Th 5:18: Gratitude “in everything” reveals mature perspective:

(a)   Corrie ten Boom; lice; complaining; sister reminded her of 1 Th 5:18, “In everything give thanks,” challenged Corrie to give thanks for the lice. How? But she made a choice; Later found out lice protected her from Germans.

(b)  In 17th century, Germany wars and famine and disease. In the city of Eilenburg a pastor, Martin Rinkart. During especially difficult period, up to 50 funerals a day as plague and the Thirty Years’ War brought its terror on his people. Rinkart buried his own family members. Yet during those years, Rinkart wrote 66 sacred songs and hymns. Among them was “Now Thank We All Our God.” First Verse: Now thank we all our God With hearts and hands and voices / Who wondrous things hath done In whom His world rejoices / Who, from our mothers’ arms Hath blessed us on our way / With countless gifts of love And still is ours today.

B.    To The Lord

1.     Give thanks “to the Lord.”

a)     Of the more than 175 times thanks is given, only twice to humans.

b)     We often hear, “I’m thankful for…” but to whom are they thankful?”

c)     The point of the original Thanksgiving holiday was gratitude to God!

(1)  The first American Thanksgiving didn’t occur in 1621 when a group of Pilgrims shared a feast with a group of friendly Indians. The first recorded thanksgiving took place in Virginia more than 11 years earlier, and it wasn’t a feast. The winter of 1610 at Jamestown had reduced a group of 409 settlers to 60. The survivors prayed for help, without knowing when or how it might come. When help arrived, in the form of a ship filled with food and supplies from England, a prayer meeting was held to give thanks to God. (Today in the Word, July, 1990, p. 22)

(2)  George Washington, made this proclamation in 1779: “Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; Whereas, both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness!” Now therefore, I do recommend next, to be devoted by the people of the states to the service of that great and glorious being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be, that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country.”

2.     Give thanks “for He is good.”

a)     Why should we “give thanks”? “…for He is good…” What if He were not? Repeatedly, the Bible declares it: Ps 25:8; 86:5; 106:1; 107:1.

b)     Must embrace this fact; foundation of trust. People often question God’s goodness:

(1)  “If God is good, why is there evil?” Unless Ultimate Good, we can’t say anything is evil. Genesis (literal!) tells us evil is corruption of what was good.

(2)  “Why doesn’t God end evil if He is good?” If God is good, He will end evil. If God is all-powerful, He can end evil. Evil still exists. God is all-good and all-powerful, so He will end evil someday. Revelation!

(3)  “How can good God send people to hell?” Both loving & just. Justice: sin must be punished. Love provided Substitute. 1 Tim 2:1-4. Hell for those who reject.

c)     Romans 8:28. How can we give thanks “in everything”? God is good—we must embrace this fact for times we don’t feel it and see it.

3.     Give thanks “for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

a)     Why should we “give thanks”? “…for His lovingkindness is everlasting…”

b)     “Lovingkindness”—hesed. Describes a bond of loyalty in close relationship with family, friends, allies; it is love freely given (not due to obligation). He is Father!

c)     “Everlasting”—He Himself is eternal, so His lovingkindness is eternal; never run out! Again, He is our Father. Does the love of a father ever die?

d)     Any greater theme in the Bible? Any greater reason to “give thanks”? John 3:16; 1 Jn 4:7-10; 26 times in Psalm 136 alone!

III.  Closing:

A.    Who would like to “declare publicly” this morning something about God or something about what He has done—so that we can all give thanks?

B.    Pray for Thanksgiving celebrations.

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