Journal PS 107-109 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man. And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man. Let them extol him in the congregation of the people and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
Whomever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.” Ps 107:8-9; 21-22; 31-32; 43
Observation: There is a recurring theme, not only in the Psalms, but through the entire Bible: Thanksgiving to God no matter what the circumstances are.
Analysis: Lately, there are a ton of stories in the news. Evil seems to be rampant: Wars; atrocities near and far; financial mismanagement; attacks on police, men, women, children. Children being disobedient, elders being ignored in favor of childish selfishness…famine, disease—anybody can name even more than I have written here.
There are some that will place the blame on the enemy. Ok, not going to argue on that, but the OT reading yesterday says this, “Consider the work of God: Who can make straight what He has made crooked? God has made one as well as the other…” (Ecc 7:13-14a) All things are of his hand.
But why? I think that it is to elicit this response from man: “Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love!”
Further, if we aren’t thankful, declare gratitude, for what He is doing not only in our immediate lives but in the world today, we could be coming to God with a condition-based approach to worship the Almighty: “I will worship when you are good to me, and only complain when you are not. I will look for other remedies to soothe my soul (like golden calves maybe)” — the approach of the children of Israel when Moses went up to meet God on Sinai.
Is my soul longing for Him? Is my soul hungry? Are my declarations of worship sacrifices of thanksgiving—being thankful and singing songs of Joy when there aren’t worldly logical reasons to do so? Do I tell these to the congregation and to the Elders in hopeful acknowledgement of His future goodness? Am I faithful?
I have been asked “Why does God do this? Why shouldn’t I assign this to Satan, to the Enemy?” Succinctly, because God is Sovereign and is enacting his Plan of the Gospel. All things that happen is to bring about Salvation to the Elect and redemption to Creation.
Ok, theology happens. What is my responsibility? Cultivate gratefulness. Cultivate thankfulness. Pursue it fiercely. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES; for this IS the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit…” (1 Thes 5:16-19a)
To the astute: Remember none of us will approach the Throne of Grace with this response taken seriously by the Judge of All Things: “The devil made me do it…”
Prayer: Father, let me look clear-eyed at my circumstances today and, no matter what I see, give you sincere thanks and express gratitude for your mercy and grace. Many may do me wrong: it is your way of showing me where I am deficient in gratefulness. The world may be going to pot: it is your way of me reliably cultivating my dependence upon you.
I am reminded again of the good that you have brought into my life.