1 Chronicles 16: 8 Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people.’ Extra Reading: 1 Chronicles 16: 1-36
We thank God for everything He does for us. Some thank Him for health, wealth and happiness. Some thank God for breakthroughs. Some even thank Him for having good friends. The word ‘thanksgiving’ in Greek is called ‘eucharistias.’ This means that you thank God for hearing and answering your prayers. After asking God for something we need to go back to Him and thank Him. The Bible teaches us that we should ‘learn to count our blessings, name them one by one.’ Probably you have come across situations like the following: A man in hospital who was about to have his leg amputated. Thank God that you have both legs functioning well. You are able to run and walk. In the same hospital you saw a woman who had a constriction in her throat, and is fed solely on liquids. You have met a man at a mall who is deaf and only communicates through signs. Thank God that you are able to see and hear without difficulty. My own life has ups and downs, but thanksgiving that I practice on a daily basis, has seen me through setbacks and disappointments, and enabled me to extract value from them. William Law once gave this advice to his friend in England many years ago. He said, “If anyone would tell you the shortest, surest way to all happiness, and all perfection, he must tell you to make a rule to yourself, to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you.’
This is a hymn celebrating God’s faithful dealings with His people, particularly reflecting on episodes from the Pentateuch in which the people interacted with powerful foreigners who might have harmed them. v.1: ‘call upon His name’. This is an expression for seeking the Lord in public worship (cf. Gen. 4:26; 12:8). Make known His deeds among the peoples (cf. Ps. 9:11; Isaiah 12:4). 1 Chronicles 16:34 states “O give thanks to the Lord, for His steadfast love endures for ever! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 states, Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.”
Michael Ramsey once said, “Thank God carefully and wonderfully, for your continuing privileges, and for every experience of His goodness. Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.” Elizabeth Helme said, “Gratitude was surely implanted in our hearts by our great Creator, and to fail in its observance, is acting against the dictates of conscience and humanity.” God is always good to us even when we are indifferent to Him at times. Thanksgiving is a seed planted towards future blessings. Christ’s character was marked by gratefulness of spirit. Thanksgiving is the expression of both faith and gratitude. When we thank God we tell Him that we are dependent on Him and trust in Him. When we thank God we express a sense that every breath we draw is a gift of His love, and every moment is a grace.