Give Thanks To Him!
Levi & Brunhilda Brandt Anniversary
Fifty years of marriage is certainly something to celebrate. There are several why.
It is right to celebrate the joy you have in your children and grandchildren. Fifty years of marriage has given you a family, a family which you are proud of and you rejoice in and today you celebrate this family.
It is right to celebrate your faithfulness to each other. In a day when marriages often break up, you can indeed rejoice that after fifty years, you are still together.
It is right to celebrate your love for each other. There are couples who stay together for 50 years, by sheer determination and will power. They will not separate, even though their life is miserable. Today, you celebrate that you have enjoyed these 50 years and that your love for each other has grown.
All of these are good reasons to celebrate 50 years of marriage, but you have not asked me to talk about these things. We have already spoken of them. You have asked me to speak about another aspect of celebration on your golden anniversary. You have chosen Psalm 100 as a text for reflection. I believe you have done so because you want to praise God for His faithfulness in 50 years of marriage. This is a good thing and Psalm 100 is certainly a good text to help us do that. Read Psalm 100.
I. Joyful praise and heartfelt thanksgiving.
Psalm 100 is a wonderful psalm of praise to God. Songs have been based on this Psalm. “All People That On Earth Do Dwell” is one which expresses praise to God.
There is a great note of joy in this Psalm In the first three verses, we are told to shout, serve(or worship) and come, but the underlying theme of all of these is joy. Shout for joy, serve with gladness and come…with joyful song. Joyous celebration in the presence of the Lord is commanded to all the earth.
Today, you are joining in that joyous celebration.
There is also a note of thanksgiving. In verse 4, we are invited to enter and to give thanks. Here the theme is a call to thanksgiving. The invitation is given to enter into the presence of the Lord - with thanksgiving. Then there is a direct command to give thanks to Him and bless His name. Thanksgiving is the second thing we are told to do in this passage.
This is a highly celebrative passage with joy and thanksgiving as the theme.
II. Know The Lord
Today, as you celebrate your anniversary, you are in a mood to praise and to rejoice. But as we read Psalm 100, we notice that the direction of that praise is to God. Why not rejoice over the good earth, or because of each other or because of all those who have been our joy over the years? Why is rejoicing and thanksgiving directed to God?
The imperative in verse 3 is “Know that the Lord is God.” Joyful praise and thanksgiving are directed to God as we know God. You don’t come up to a complete stranger on the street and sing his praises. You praise someone when you know them. Someone has written, “knowledge is the mother of devotion.” It is as we come to know the Lord, that praise and thanksgiving are birthed within us.
As we think about God and what His Word says about Him, we have reason to praise and to give thanks. What are some of those reasons?
Verse 3 says that He is the one who has made us. You have heard the expression “self made man.” Pharaoh is described as a person who thought he was a “self made man” in Ezek. 29:3, but the passage warns that there is no such thing as a self made man. We are all created by God. Knowing God as creator, allows us to recognize His greatness and power.
The verse goes on to remind us that not only has He made us, but we also recognize that we are his. He has chosen us to be his very own people. We have the privilege of belonging to God.
Another image is that of being His sheep. The image of the shepherd, would of course mean more to a people who kept sheep. It still is a wonderful picture of care that can be depended upon.
In verse 5, it says “the Lord is good and his love endures forever.” If God were only powerful, it would not be much comfort. As we learn that He is our creator, we recognize His power, but when we are told that he is good and eternally so, then we are truly encouraged with hope.
These words are good ideas, but we are reading this Psalm not merely as an exercise in good ideas, but because they are your experience. You are celebrating today not because you know in your heads that God is the one who has made you and shepherded you, but because you have experienced His power, care and compassion in your 50 years of marriage.
We talked about your experience of the goodness of the Lord and I heard you express your praise and thanksgiving because of what you experienced. You told me that you couldn’t have chosen this theme at your wedding, but now that you have been through so many experiences, you have seen God’s love and how good he is. Now experience tells you the truth of these words.
You told me that you experienced his goodness in the birth of your children. With some of them, there were some health concerns that were life threatening but God saw you through them. You mentioned that in the jobs you had, there were sometimes dangerous situations and God protected you. You shared experiences in which your faith was stretched. Although they were very difficult, you indicated that they brought you closer to God. You acknowledge that He has guided you, taught you, protected you, provided for you and blessed you in many ways. You said that when you think about the things that did not happen that could have and when you think of all the good things that did happen, you cannot help but express your thanks to God for His many blessings.
It is right and good for you to stand up today and say, what Psalm 100 says is true. Not only because it is the word of God, but because in our life, you have found it to be true. Celebration then becomes more than an exercise of the mind, it becomes an exercise of the heart arising out of the experience of your life. It is right to praise the Lord in this way.
There is another benefit to it. The last line says, “his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Your praise today, is a declaration to the next generation that God is good. It is a statement to them to take note of God’s goodness in your life and to follow Him. You are saying, “we have been down the road with God and have found Him faithful, why don’t you also come down the road with God.”
That is why such an occasion of celebration is good. That is why it is so important to give glory to God today.
So I would like to express praise to God and thanksgiving to Him for all His goodness in your life.