Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
- Bible study tonight at the VanTubergen’s home at 7:00PM. Their address is 8803 Catawissa Drive, Houston, 77095.
- Attached is the devotion for this week – a reflection on thankfulness from Psalm 118.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“Oh Give Thanks to the Lord”
Psalm 118:1, “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”
The Christian is called to be thankful. The Apostle Paul tells us to give thanks in all circumstances – to give thanks always and for everything (1 Thess 5:18; Eph 5:20). And the Psalms are a wonderful place to go to learn what this thankfulness looks like. Throughout the Psalms we find the church lifting their hearts in thanksgiving to the Lord in a myriad of contexts and circumstances. In Psalm 118, for example, the psalmist opens with the common refrain, “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever” (v.1)! In fact, the psalmist emphatically calls on the entire congregation to give thanks to the Lord (vv. 2-4). “Let Israel say … Let the house of Aaron say … Let those who fear the LORD say, ‘His steadfast love endures forever.’” The whole church is to call on the Lord with thankful hearts. There is no one exempt from this command. Indeed, how could there be … for God’s steadfast love endures forever towards his church. But the Psalmist goes on to give further specifics as to ‘why’ we are to give thanks. That is, the Psalmist lays out several reasons we are to give thanks to the Lord. And there are two that I want to highlight.
First, we give thanks to the LORD because he hears our prayers: “Out of my distress I called to the LORD; the Lord answered me and set me free” (v. 5). God hears our prayers. Our Heavenly Father hears the prayers of his children (Psalm 65:2). As the Psalmist states in Psalm 116: “I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live” (vv. 1-2). Or as the Apostle John puts it, “And this is the confidence that we have towards him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14). What a glorious thought! Our creator and redeemer hears us! The creator of the universe – the one who hung the stars and knows them by name – the one who redeemed us from our sin and misery – he hears us – he hears our prayers – he hears us when we talk to him! How could this not cause us to be thankful!
And second, we give thanks to the LORD because he is with us and for us: “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph at those who hate me” (vv. 6-7). Our God is with us – he is for us – he defends us – he is near to us. Of course, sitting as we do on this side of the cross, we can see the ultimate expression of ‘God with us’ in the Incarnation of the Son. Indeed, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Christ is with us – Christ us for us. The Apostle Paul echoes the Psalmist when he writes in Romans 8: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all thing” (vv. 31-32). God is with us in Christ! God is for us in Christ! Be thankful dear Christian. This is how we can be thankful in all circumstances. If our hope is fixed in this world, then true thankfulness will always be fleeting. But with a hope fixed on Christ and his finished work for us and his continuing work in us, we can and must be thankful in all circumstances. Indeed, may we give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.