Summary: 1) A Communal Thanksgiving (Psalm 75:1), 2) A Careful Thanksgiving (Psalm 75:2-5), 3) A Contemplative Thanksgiving (Psalm 75:6-8), and finally 4) A Certain Thanksgiving (Psalm 57:9-10).
There are a lot of reasons why it seems odd to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. Not only does it seem that we just finished summer, but also in regards to what is going on in our world. We have witnessed tropical storms, earthquakes, terrorist acts and so many instances of suffering. For those who face challenges in their personal life, it just doesn’t seem to make sense to be giving thanks. For those who have been spared these particular difficulties, we wonder if it is appropriate to celebrate with so much suffering.
Yet, even when we live in a world of terrorism, crime, injustice and suffering, we can still give thanks because of the God who is sovereignly over all this. He can be praised because He is righteous and just. At the end of Psalm 74, the appeal has been made for God to rise up and defend his own cause (Ps. 74:22–23). In Psalm 75 the theme of judgment occurs, even in the midst of giving thanks There is no certain indication within the psalm of the historical setting, though the use of ‘Do Not Destroy’ in the title suggests it was composed in a period of impending danger for God’s people. The most probable date is the Assyrian siege of 701 BC. The language of this psalm borrows from earlier songs, especially the song of Hannah (1 Sam. 2:1–10). Authorship of this psalm is attributed to Asaph, a chief musician in Solomon’s temple (2 Chr. 5:12). It may come from him or from a guild of singers named after him. Commentators identify the form as a hymn of praise, or a mixed form of praise and prophecy or a prophetic liturgy. It seems unnecessary to speak of mixed forms, however, when God addresses those who address Him (Williams, D., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1989). Psalms 73–150 (Vol. 14, p. 33). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.)..
We can praise God and give Him thanks because He is in control of these apparent chaotic situations. For the people of God, we are not at the mercy of the evil that is around us. Regardless if we suffer ourselves or see the suffering all around us suffering is not the end of the story. Psalm 75 is a prayer of thanksgiving to God before the event even takes place! (McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: Poetry (Psalms 42-89) (electronic ed., Vol. 18, p. 143). Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
With confidence on the the righteousness and justice of God, we are able to be “Thanking God in Hard Times”. For the people of God this is seen in 1) A Communal Thanksgiving (Psalm 75:1), 2) A Careful Thanksgiving (Psalm 75:2-5), 3) A Contemplative Thanksgiving (Psalm 75:6-8), and finally 4) A Certain Thanksgiving (Psalm 57:9-10).
We are able to be “Thanking God in Hard Times” through:
1) A Communal Thanksgiving (Psalm 75:1)
Psalm 75:1 1 We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds. (ESV)
The opening song of thanks and praise is related to both the sense of the immediate presence of God with the people and to the knowledge that He has acted on their behalf in a mighty way in the past. This verse sets the context of the psalm in the worshiping community and shows by example part of the nature of worship. God has established his name in the place of worship (Deut 12:5, 11), and it is foundational to His relationship with his people (Exod 3:13–15). We thank the Lord for all He has done and we tell others about His wonderful works. Though God wants us to bring our burdens to Him and seek His help, worship begins with getting our eyes of faith off the circumstances of life and focusing them on the Lord God Almighty.( Wiersbe, W. W. (2004). Be worshipful (1st ed., p. 244). Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries.)
Please turn to Revelation 4 (p. 1030)
There is no better way to give thanks to God than corporate worship. Giving thanks to God is central and an eternal aspect of worship. Presently in the throne room of God, it is the function of the four living creatures which exhibit features of cherubim (full of eyes; lion; ox; man; eagle) and the seraphim (six wings; “Holy, holy, holy”) glimpsed by previous prophets (Isa. 6:2–3; Ezek. 1:10, 18).( Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2470). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.)
Notice this function of worship and thanks:
Revelation 4:8–11 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” 9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (ESV)