Summary: The basics of giving genuine thanks to God.
“ABC’s of Thanksgiving,” Part-1, Psalms 119:1-8
Abandonment: An Undivided Heart
i. Author Unknown
ii. Message Clear
1. Love for the Torah
2. Desire to live according to Torah
i. 22 Stanza Acrostic Poem, using Hebrew Alphabet
ii. The Law of God
1. 10 different words used synonymously.
c. Abandonment (Major Exegesis)
i. Honesty, no false pretense (v.5)
V. Key Themes: Scripture as a foundation for worship; a love for God’s law;
This is no ordinary rubber snake. Around my house it has a story. A few weeks ago I found this ordinary looking rubber snake beneath my pillow on our bed. I’m not that easy to startle by practical jokes though I must say it was a good effort on her behalf. I brought it to her while she laughed to tears and I explained that the joke had not had the full effect because it was just a little obvious. She enjoyed it nonetheless. I put the snake in my closet and waited a couple of days. Then I put it in our bathroom just beneath the laundry hamper, mostly under a heater vent so that its head and part of its body would be visible the next time she moved the hamper. A few days went by and then the scream came. I had gotten her but that’s not the best part of the story. You see, I put it back in almost the same location a day later. I got the phone call in my office saying “Way to go, that snake got me again!” But that’s not the best part. I put the snake in my closet and after a few more days I dropped it on the floor in the kid’s playroom sort of camouflaged by some toys and asked her to come in the room. I started talking normally about something or another and then jumped and yelled as though I had been scared by a real snake, she looked down, and it got her again!
You can bet that after all of that I am anticipating the payback… I know Christina well and it’s not that hard for me to scare her and I probably do it more often than I should. However, my aim in telling you this story is not to embarrass myself by telling you that I like to surprise my trusting wife.
In fact, it is probably in large part the depths of her trust for me which affords me the ability to so easily surprise her. She is safe so she is not on guard. When do we stop being surprised by the love that God has for us? When does life after knowing Christ cause us to become desensitized to the miracle of His love for us to the point that we are no longer surprised by His love and as a result, abandoned to His will?
When do we lose the awe that comes into every regenerate heart upon realization that the God of the universe, whose worth is infinite and matchless, has lavished upon me so great a salvation as this?
When does that revelation of the reality of His love dry up? When do we become so accustomed to diving in the depths of the ocean of His love for us that we prefer to sit idly in the shallows of the love that we offer back to Him?
C. S. Lewis once commented that “A man’s spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God.” I would go on to qualify that statement further that a person’s spiritual health is exactly proportional to their love for God and His ways.
In Isaiah 55:6-8 the word of God declares that we must “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.” (NIV84)
Our spiritual health lies in direct proportion to the extent that we turn to the Lord, jettisoning our broken thoughts and ways, and abandoning ourselves to love for God and a love for His precepts, His statutes, His ways.
For the next three Sundays – as we draw near to the celebration of Thanksgiving – we will look at the first three sections of Psalms 119 to learn the ABC’s of what it means to worship God in giving thanks, not merely for Turkey legs, but for who God is and for His love for us.