Summary: This Thanksgiving we can use these three ways of looking at Thanksgiving to make "thanks" our best word.
Three Ways to Look at Thanksgiving
Rudyard Kipling, winner of the Nobel Peace prize in literature and author of “The Jungle Book”, at one time was so popular that his writings were getting ten shillings per word. [about $10!] A few college students, however didn’t appreciate Kipling’s writings. They sent him a letter and enclosed with it ten shillings. It read, "Please, send us your best word." They got a letter back from Kipling, and in big black letters across the piece of stationary it simply said, "Thanks." Now more than merely thanking them for their money, he was truly giving them the best word he could. A thankful and content heart will get you far in a world of ingratitude and discontent.
Daniel Henderson, the speaker at this past year’s Pastor’s Conference talked about prayer being a threefold expression-inward, outward, and upward. This morning I want to take that simple small outline and apply it to this Psalm. We’re going to change the order a bit though, to go with the flow of the Psalm.
An Upward Look Should Make Us Thankful.
An Outward Look Should Make Us Thankful.
An Inward Look Should Make Us Thankful.
I) An Upward Look Should Make Us Thankful.
1) An Upward Look Brings Thanks for the Presence of God. (5)
He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.
Psalms 46 1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. God is omnipresent, meaning He is always with us. He’s everywhere. There’s nowhere we can go where God can’t find us. Now, maybe that thought this morning may not make you thankful for God’s presence, it may make you think a couple things over. But I’m sure when we’re in trouble and we’re hurting, we’re thankful for the presence of God. We should be thankful that we have a God that is always there.
2) An Upward Look Brings Thanks for the Power of God. (4-7)
God is not only omnipresent, but He is also all powerful. I think of the song I learned as a little kid, My God is So Big, so STRONG and so MIGHTY, there’s NOTHING my God cannot do. God can do anything! You know we always hear the questions about the things that God can do. Can God create a rock so big that He can’t lift it? We try to give God human attributes to better understand Him in our human minds. God doesn’t have to use His hands to lift things. He can just speak the word and anything He wants will be moved.
He created the world and everything in it, just from speaking the word. Verse 9 in our text this morning 9 For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.
Read the first chapter of Genesis. Over and over you read “God said”…let there be light…let there be firmament…let there be beasts and birds…let the earth bring forth fruit…etc. The only time it doesn’t mention God speaking something into existence is when it comes to the creation of man. It says God created man in His image and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. God is so powerful, He created all these things with just His word, yet when it came to creating us, He took personal attention and formed us out of the dust and breathed in us the breath of life. That’s something to be thankful for, and also to stand in awe of the power of God also.
3) An Upward Look Brings Thanks for the Plans of God. (10-11)
The psalmist here contrasts the shaky plans of men with the sovereign plans of God.
Jeremiah 29 11 `For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, `plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
God’s plans are so much better than ours. Yet, most times we think our plan is best. We’d rather venture out on our own path than trust the God who knows and sees the future.
Isaiah 55 8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.