“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” David was King over Israel, the Philistines were defeated, the ark of the covenant was in Jerusalem, and the people of God were in the promised land. Israel had everything they ever wanted. Of course, things would not remain this way.
Life is full of ebbs and flows, hills and valleys, struggles and triumphs and we need not look any further than David’s own life for evidence of this. But praise be to God that his love is not defined by our circumstances, but his steadfast love endures forever! And if his love endures, then our thanksgiving has reason to continue as well.
David exhorts the people of Israel in this song of thanksgiving to be excellent rememberers of God’s grace in their lives. “Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgements he offered,” “Remember his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations.” So, why remember and give thanks? David offers three main motivations that should fuel our thanksgiving and praise:
- He is faithful. “‘To you I will give the land of Canaan, as your portion for an inheritance.’ When you were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it, wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, saying, ‘touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!’” David was launched into thanksgiving when he meditated on the goodness of the Lord to the people of Israel when they were in the wilderness with the covenant yet to be fulfilled. Despite their wanderings, rebellions and overall lack of faith, the Lord guided, protected, and fulfilled his covenant with his people! The Lord has done the same for us today. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We were aliens, rebels and God made us Sons and Daughters. Remembrance of this should launch us into thanksgiving and praise.
- He is worthy. “For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised.” We give thanks because God alone is worthy of our adoration and praise. The Lord is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, in whom there is, “no variation or shadow due to change.” If this is true, then he alone is worthy of our worship and he is worthy of it at all times and in all seasons.
- Thanksgiving overflows in evangelism. “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek me rejoice!” As we worship and praise the Lord, remembering his word, his promises, his faithfulness in our lives, it propels us to tell others of these things. A life lived in thankfulness to the Lord will display and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in both word and deed.
So, how do we impart a spirit of thankfulness to our children? How do we cultivate a spirit of thankfulness within our families? We remember to one another! We remember and recount:
- Scripture that we have hidden in our hearts
- How the Lord has created the Heavens and the Earth
- Our daily needs that he has provided
- Ways he has physically and spiritually protected us
- Where we were before we knew him and what he has done to wipe away our sin
- The incommunicable attributes of God (eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, etc.) that we cannot replicate
- Who God says God is! (King of Kings, Ancient of Days, Creator, Author and Perfecter of our faith, etc.)
Remember these with your spouse, remember these with your kids, it will not be perfect, it will almost certainly be awkward at first, but, “great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.”