Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, and gathered out of the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.Psalm 107:1-3
Gratitude does not always emanate from my spiritual pores. Daily concerns and routine habits have a way of lulling me into an attitude “take it for granted.” To put it another way, my gratitude turns into an attitude of self-entitlement. My expectations of God is, I am His child therefore I expect certain things from Him. But my attitude can even worsen if I allow my immediate experiences to rule my heart instead of the Word of God. Let me see if I can explain this.
There are times I get the distinct impression that because things are going so well for me that I should expect the same consistency day in and day out. Even in a country divided, dealing with a unpredictable virus, and a struggling economy, life for me is… well, good. But the question is, am I grateful for what God has given me, or do I take it for granted and expect more of the same? After all I am a child of God, right?
In our hurried and busy lives do we take what God has given us for granted, dare say with an attitude of entitlement? How about when it comes to our daily quiet time with Him? Are we grateful that we have the opportunity to go before the King of kings in private fellowship or do we slip God into our schedule like we do a dentist appointment, something needful but not something we look forward to? It is my belief that we can become so self-absorbed with what we view as the good life that we stop being absorbed by His presence in our life.
But you and I know that it doesn’t have to be that way. And Psalm 107:1-3 is a clear picture of what we can do about ridding ourselves of a self-absorbed entitled life and restore a heart filled with gratitude. Now for some of you this rambling is just a cautionary exhortation, but for many of us it is a serious reminder of where our focus should lie.
FIRST—Let’s just call it what it is: The psalmist writes, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so…” Say what? We are to be a testimony to God’s goodness and mercy which lasts forever. I love the fact that God is good and that He is good all the time. Why? Because when bad stuff happens to me, I know that it did not come from Him. When was the last time you ever experienced wickedness from God? Answer—Never!!! God is good and as the saying goes, He is good all the time. The very nature of God is filled with an eternal and beyond measure of goodness. Whatever your vision of goodness is, times it by infinity for all eternity when it comes to divine goodness.
But goodness left to itself really doesn’t demonstrate what it is, even in divine terms. I can tell you I am a good person but if my actions do not back up my claim, my words should be met with suspect at the very least. So, we see the Psalmist proclaims that God’s “mercy endures forever.” God is, at His very core–merciful. For the believer we know that, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (ESV) Everyday I can count on God’s mercy being renewed. Even if I sleep my way into eternity and in the presence of God, I will know His mercy. So, it is I just need to “say so.” Declare it!
SECOND—We need to see Psalm 107:1-3 as a type of command to be obeyed rather than just a spontaneous expression of worship by the psalter. But speaking with candor, most of us don’t like to be told what we should do. But the Apostle Paul put it in more blunt terms concerning “let the redeemed say so” when he said, “Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” Although there is nothing wrong with a spontaneous burst of gratitude coming from a thankful heart, we also need to be sensitive to what God commands His followers to do. We need to verbally speak up when it comes to showing our gratitude by speaking to one another about our gratitude for all the things has done on our behalf.
TAKE AWAY—We need to speak up. We need to tell those around us whether they are believers or not, that God is good and that He is a merciful God. We need to tell those that don’t know Jesus that God’s divine mercy is seen in the pure manifestation of His Son. We the redeemed of the LORD need to just “say it’s so.” Proclaim it! We also need to be that same verbal testimony to one another. If I am having a bad day, I need to be reminded by you that God’s mercy is renewed each day, that His goodness is real even when I don’t think I am experiencing it. There may even be a time when you will have to rebuke me for complaining about things, that in light of eternity and what God is pouring out on me in the present life, are trivial.
Henry Ward Beecher once said, “Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” I like that saying. I think God loves it when we say things about Him that emanate from the very depths of our soul, a soul full of gratitude. But for that to happen we really need to be conscious of His goodness and mercy in our life, even when our experiences might be saying something different. Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew this all too well.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Theologian who came to grips with who God is when he faced real persecution during his imprisonment for speaking out against Hitler during World War II. As the allied forces where turning the tide of the war in their favor and the war was coming to an end, one of Hitler’s last acts as Fuehrer of the Nazi regime was to hang Bonhoeffer for speaking out and against him and his party. So, Bonhoeffer’s words concerning gratitude come with some serious weight. He said, “In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more thane we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
It’s my prayer today that we would not take God’s goodness and mercy for granted and that we would speak up for Him… Let the redeemed say so!!! Declare the Gospel! Be people that proclaim to those who live on the earth–to every nation, tribe, language and people–God’s Good News in Jesus Christ! Today is the day to start boasting about God’s goodness and mercy. Right?
This is Pastor Pat FROM BEHIND THE PEN wishing you Joy in Jesus!