Summary: We are people who have been blessed beyond measure, and people who NEED to give thanks to the giver of all good gifts.
Thanksgiving Eve - Psalm 100:1-5
Harriet Martineau was an atheist. One morning she & a friend stepped out into the glories of a beautiful fall morning. As she saw the brilliant sun peaking through the haze, & the frost on the meadow, & the brightly colored leaves making their way lazily to the ground, she was filled with the beauty & burst forth with "I am so thankful. I’m just so grateful for it all." And her believing friend asked, "Grateful to whom, my dear?"
That’s a good question at Thanksgiving. If you’re grateful, if you’re really thankful, then the next question would have to be, "Grateful to whom?"
Psalm 100 answers:
"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, & we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture… give thanks to Him & praise His name.”
As far as I know, we are the only country in the world, except for Canada & the Philippines, that has a Thanksgiving Day? I wonder how our world would be changed if suddenly all nations would begin to observe Thanksgiving?
IRSHAD MANJI is a Moderate Islamic Scholar. She observed in the NY Times that there exists a large gulf in attitudes toward religion, between Europeans and North Americans. It’s seen interestingly in the Hijab- the headscarf that many Muslim women wear as a signal of modesty.
To a lot of Europeans, she said, still steeped in memories of the Catholic Church’s intellectual repression, religion is an irrational force. So women who cover themselves are foolish at best, and dangerous otherwise.
Not so in North America. Because it has long been a society of immigrants seeking religious tolerance, religion itself is not seen as irrational - even if what some people do with it might be, as in the case of terrorism. “Which means Muslims in North America tend to be judged less by what we wear than by what we do - or don’t do, like speaking out against Islamist violence.”
But there’s something else going on. The mass immigration of Muslims in Europe is bringing faith back into the public realm and creating a post-Enlightenment modernity for Western Europe. This return of religion threatens secular humanism, the orthodoxy that has prevailed since the French Revolution.
And so, from Amsterdam to Barcelona to Paris to Berlin, people incredulously ask me one type of question that I’m never asked in the United States and Canada: Why does an independent-minded woman care about God? Why do you need religion at all?
If we’re going to say "thank you" we must say "thank you" to somebody. Make sure that it is the right somebody.
"Enter His gates with thanksgiving & His courts with praise; give thanks to Him & praise His name. For the Lord is good & His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations."
Vs. 1, "Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth."
It means to "shout with the force of a trumpet blast," a shout of joy to the Lord that comes from the very depths of your being.
Maybe God solved your problem. Maybe He has given you the direction to go. Maybe He has provided a blessing, & you realize that it has come from God. So from the depths of your being you proclaim your praise.
ILL. Roland Allen tells about a veteran missionary who was a medical missionary for many years in India. He served in a region where there was progressive blindness. People were born with healthy vision, but there was something in that area that caused people to lose their sight as they matured.
But this missionary had developed a process which would arrest progressive blindness. So people came to him & he performed his operation, & they would leave realizing that they would have become blind, but now they were going to be able to see for the rest of their lives.
He said that they never said, "Thank you," because that phrase was not in their dialect. Instead, they spoke a word that meant, "I will tell your name." Wherever they went, they would tell the name of the missionary who had cured their blindness. They had received something so wonderful that they eagerly proclaimed it.
And that is what the Psalmist is saying. "Suddenly you realize that God has been so good to you that you can’t keep it inside any more. From the depths of your being you shout your joy unto the Lord."
"Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before Him with joyful songs." Another passage says, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord." You and I can do that!!