Summary: Thankfulness to God is a recognition that God in His goodness and faithfulness has provided for us and cared for us, both physically and spiritually. It is recognition that we are totally dependent upon Him; that all that we are and have comes from God.
TEXT: Psalm 69:30
Thankfulness to God is a recognition that God in His goodness and faithfulness has provided for us and cared for us, both physically and spiritually. It is recognition that we are totally dependent upon Him; that all that we are and have comes from God.
To fail to be thankful to God is a most grievous sin. When Paul recounts the tragic moral downfall of mankind in Romans 1, he begins with the statement in verse 21: “Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” To glorify God is to acknowledge the majesty and dignity of His person. To thank God is to acknowledge the bountifulness of His hand in providing and caring for us. And when mankind in their pride failed to give God the glory & thanks due Him, God gave them up to ever-increasing immorality and wickedness. God’s judgment came because man failed to honor Him and to thank Him. If failure to give thanks is such a grievous sin, then, it behooves us to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness that permeates our entire lives.
One of the most instructive passages on the subject of thankfulness I found in Luke 17:11-19 which I read this past Sunday night. Here were 10 men in the most pitiful of all human misery. Not only were they afflicted with a terrible and disgusting disease; they were outcasts from society because of their disease. But Jesus came along and healed them.
As these men went to show themselves to the priest and thus be restored to their families and friends, only one of them, realizing what had happened, turned back to give thanks to Jesus. Ten men were healed, but only one gave thanks. How prone we are to be like the other nine. We pray for God’s intervention in our lives, then congratulate ourselves rather than God for the results. When one of the American lunar missions was in serious trouble some years ago, the American people were asked to pray for the safe return of the astronauts. When they were safely back on earth, credit was given to the technological achievements and skill of the American space industry. No thanks or credit was publicly given to God. This in not unusual. It is the natural tendency of mankind.
“Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” Jesus was very much aware that only one returned to give Him thanks. And God is very much aware today when we fail to thank Him for the ordinary as well as the unusual blessings that come to us daily from His hand.
Listen to some Scripture that tells us of the seriousness of not honoring or giving God thanks:
Daniel 5:23 – “And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven [talking about Belshazzar]. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all you ways, you have not glorified.”
The result of this is found in Daniel 5:30 – “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain.”
Malachi 2:2 – “’If you will not hear, and if you will not take it to heart, to give glory to My name,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have cursed them already, because you do not take it to heart.’”
Acts 12:23 – “Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness so that he was filled with maggots and died – because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God.”
Thanksgiving is taught in the Bible by both precept and example. In 1 Chronicles, the Levites who took part in the temple worship were to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. The Psalms contain some 35 references to giving thanks to God. In 18 instances in his letters, Paul expresses thanksgiving to God, and there are 10 other instances in which he instructs us to give thanks. In all, there are approximately 140 references in the Bible to giving thanks to God. Thankfulness is no minor principle in God’s sight. It is absolutely necessary to the practice of godliness.
One incident from the life of Daniel shows us the importance that this man of God put on giving thanks. We all know the story of Daniel in the lions’ den, but do we remember how he got there? King Darius was persuaded by certain officials who were jealous of Daniel’s position to issue a decree that for thirty days, anyone who prayed to any god or man other than King Darius would be thrown into the lions’ den. When Daniel knew that the decree had been published, he went to his room and three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.