Thoughts on Thankfulness
Tis the season to be grateful! And there's even a day to be thankful. So maybe a brief look at a thank-filled Psalm will quicken the pulse of your response to the Lord. Psalm 107 was written after the exiled began to return to their homeland, which explains the opening salvo of geographic praise.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. Psalm 107: 13 (ESV)
Redeemed people proclaim God's goodness. Why? The psalm writer illustrates the redeemed as four types of characters: the wanderers, the prisoners, the sick and the overwhelmed. In each characterization we see a repeated cycle of prayer, provision and praise.
Starting with the wanderers plight of being lost in a far country, hunger pangs capture their desperation which drove them to pray: ...hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble... (verses 5-6)
God answered and provided: ...and he delivered them from their distress.(verse 6)
His provision elicits praise: Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! (verse 8)
Prison, captivity, and hopelessness were the result of disobedience. We can feel the oppressive walls closing in as we read that Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God... (verses 10-11). Yet they prayed, God provided and they praised.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! (verses 13-15)
It happens again with the sick and again with the overwhelmed in verses 17-22 and 21-32. The pattern of prayer, provision, and praise is repeated in both sections. A cycle like this is significant for all of us. When we find ourselves caught up and moving toward despair, then we too need to seek the Lord and boldly ask for His provision. The psalm ends with a repeated description of God moving people from poverty to plenty. So this thanksgiving season where are you in this cycle? Seeking the Lord in prayer, seeing God's provision, or praising God for His blessing.