Archives For Thanksgiving


1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Remember the four-fold process from the last post? Let’s follow it through this psalm just to let you get a hang of how to organize it?

Introduction:

1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.

Report of Crisis:

Verse 2 – “Cried for help”

Verse 3 – “Sheol”

Verse 9 – “The pit” “death”

Verse 11 – “Mourning” “Sackcloth”

Deliverance as An Accomplished Fact:

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Conclusion: A Vow to Praise

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Do you see how this works? Remember, there are always nuances to this but you saw the format as it played out. This is an individual psalm of thanksgiving, meaning, it is a very personal psalm. We do not know the circumstances behind this psalm but it probably was during a time in David’s life where he experienced some type of physical illness or even some depression. Perhaps there was loss (“mourning”) somewhere but the thankfulness expressed to God was an accomplished fact. God did it and it was a time to rejoice.

Verse 11 shows just how joyful David was. His mourning was turned to dancing (If you have a legalistic background change the word “dance” to choreography if that makes you feel better :)). But the moment of joy came in God hearing his lament. Because of this, David will come to God with a gracious and grateful heart. David got a little cocky (vv. 6-7) with God trusting perhaps in his own riches rather than the riches of God.

“Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rom. 11:33).

You ever trust in yourself rather than in the Almighty? Do you trust in your strength? Do you trust in your intellect? Do you trust in your status? David said God made his mountain stand strong. Any strength he had came from God and God alone. Give thanks to God for his wonderful blessings.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss a time when your weeping/mourning was turned into joy/dancing?
  2. Has the Western mindset of “do-it-yourself” hindered our spiritual growth? How so?
  3. Why is it important to remember God’s deliverance and to be thankful for those times He answered?

 


We sing a song in our hymnals that have beautiful words:

For all that You’ve done, I will thank You
For all that You’re going to do
For all that You’ve promised and all that You are
Is all that has carried me through
Jesus, I thank You

and I thank You
thank You Lord
and I thank You
thank You Lord

Thank You for loving and setting me free
Thank You for giving Your life just for me
How I thank You
Jesus, I thank You
I gratefully thank You
And I thank You

Beautiful words that ring true in many of our circumstances. We are in a season now where being thankful is on the minds of our nation seeing as it is a national holiday. Gratitude though is not an American tradition but a tradition rooted deep in Ancient Israel. In 1 Chronicles 16:4 the writer shares with his readers that David, “appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel.” Imagine that you are given a task to do and your job is simply to thank God for what he has done. You might say, “Dude that seems boring!” But if you think about it for long enough you understand that at any given point we can be thankful for what God has done.

The category known as Thanksgiving Psalms is a particular category that has a specific formula:[1]

  • Introduction
  • Report of Crisis
  • Deliverance as an Accomplished Fact
  • Conclusion

The difference between lament psalms and thanksgiving psalms is that the thanksgiving psalms provide for us a window into God answering their lament whereas the lament psalms are offered with no foreseen deliverance. That does not mean there was no trust but the deliverance just could not be seen. Consider Psalm 30:

2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. (30:2-3)

Deliverance was realized in this instance. Rescue was seen. It was time for rejoicing but I time for thanksgiving to God who provided the deliverance. Like the lament psalms, the thanksgiving psalms are both offered individually and corporately. There is a time for thanksgiving in both circumstances and both are offered to God. We are going to journey through the thanksgiving psalms this week in an effort to experience gratitude on an individual and corporate level. In a time where we live in such an iEverything culture it is important to humble ourselves and express our gratitude for the one who created us. Bullock summarizes it better than I:

The psalms of thanksgiving tap one of the great spiritual resources of Holy Scripture and offer us a spiritual home where the passions of life can find their moorings in a source outside the human self. One of the great tragedies of the human spirit is to become a prisoner of ingratitude, for ingratitude shuts the human spirit up in a world lightened only by self, which is no light at all.[2]

Let us bow at the feet of our Master and learn the spiritual discipline of gratitude.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Define gratitude?
  2. What are some moments where you felt the most grateful?
  3. What are some moments where you felt the most ungrateful?

[1] Bullock, Encountering the Psalms, 152-53. As with all categories there are various nuances but for the most part the thanksgiving psalms will follow that 4-part formula.

[2] Ibid., 162.