Psalm 100:4-5: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.”
On Monday all our Canadian churches will have a Thanksgiving Day worship service. But “thanks” is not just something for the pastor, or the elders, or older members to do. Teenagers and 20 somethings have just as much reason to be thankful to our Triune God. Ask yourself: If my church didn’t schedule a Thanksgiving Day service, would I take the time to thank God on my own?
Elisabeth Elliot once said: “The mature Christian offers not just polite thanks but heartfelt thanks that springs from a far deeper source than his own pleasure. Thanksgiving is a spiritual exercise, necessary to the building of a healthy soul. It takes us out of the stuffiness of ourselves into the fresh breeze and sunlight of the will of God. The simple act of thanking Him is for most of us an abrupt change of activity, a break from work and worry, a move toward re-creation.”
And Psalm 100 helps us to do just that. It teaches us how to do thankfulness. How to exercise our soul. Verses 4 and 5 give us three reasons to be thankful:
1. He Is Good
First this: “Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good…” How many good things have you received from Him so far this year? Verse 2 says, “It is He who made us, and not we ourselves.” Those eyes that you see through, are the gift of a good God. Those hands that you have, are the gift of a good God. The soul that you have, is the gift of a good God. Each part of our body, alone, is a reason for us to stop and give thanks to God.
He is good. How often don’t we focus on what we don’t have, and we take Him and His goodness to us for granted. Imagine, if He wasn’t good. Imagine if God was a tyrant God, or an unloving God. What would it be like to live life under that kind of God?
O thank God, for He is good. He gives us every heartbeat, we have. He gives us every drop of rain, we receive. Every ray of sunshine. Every bit of food on your plate. Every friend. It all comes from God. He made us. He keeps us. While we sleep, who is awake? While we work, who is watching over us? (See: Psalm 121) He is good.
2. His Mercy Is Everlasting
Second: “Give thanks to Him… for… His mercy is everlasting.” Not only do we receive many good physical gifts but God also gives us many good spiritual gifts. And that is His mercy.
Every time we hear the gospel that is God’s mercy toward us. We should thank Him for giving the Lord Jesus, as a substitute, on the cross. We should thank Him for the message that there is forgiveness of sins. For the good news that if we believe in Jesus we no longer have to fear death; or fear standing before a holy God with all our sins on the last day. We should thank Him for His promise of sanctification. For the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the message of the adoption as son and daughters of God, through faith in Christ. For the message of hope for glory, that is given to sinners, like you and me! That gospel message is mercy that is everlasting.
A kind word from a stranger lasts for a moment, but we say “Thank-you.” A pay raise from our employer lasts longer but it too will end, but we say “Thank-you.” The mercy that comes to us through what Jesus Christ has done, will last forever. If we are saved, once we have been saved, there will never be a moment of our existence—10 billion years from now—that we’ll ever be able to say: It’s not all because of His mercy.
3. His Truth Endures To All Generations
“Be thankful to Him … for … His truth endures to all generations.” That means for you. For your generation too. All the promises that He gives in the Bible, are offered to you. And they will never fail.
Do we realize how wonderful it is that we never have to question God’s promises? As in, “I wonder if it’s still true?” That never crosses our minds. It’s just always there, as a solid rock beneath all the storms and shakiness of our life: That God’s Word still stands true. It’s our one solid. And He is our one unmovable constant. What a wonder! What a reason to thank Him! His goodness, will endure. His mercy, will endure. His word, will endure.
How can we be more thankful? We need to think more often on these three things. God’s goodness. God’s mercy. And God’s never-ending, never-disappearing truth, given to all generations.
Why not think of, or write down, three lists of things you are thankful for. “I thankful for God’s goodness, and I see it in…” And, “I’m thankful for God’s mercy, and I see in it…” And, “I’m thankful for God’s never-ending truth also to my generation, and I see it in…”
Fill up your heart full with thanksgiving, thinking on these things. Pray over them. And, as Elizabeth Elliot said, let our thoughts, “take us out of the stuffiness of ourselves into the fresh breeze and sunlight of the will of God.”