Summary: One of a series of sermons on Psalms. This one deals with thanksgiving psalms.
With Mildly Thankful Hearts
Delivered on February 12, 2006
The Rev. Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
I recently came across a list of several things for which we should be thankful.
· for smoke alarms. They let you know when the turkey’s done.
· for automatic dishwashers. They make it possible to get out of the kitchen before the family come in for their after-dinner snacks.
· (this one I found insulting) for husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house. They usually make them big enough to call in professionals.
· (this one you have to listen to very carefully) for children who put away their things and clean up after themselves. They’re such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents.
· for gardening. It’s a relief to deal with dirt outside the house for a change.
· for teenagers. They give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.
Well, those are some things for which we are thankful. But for the most part, many of us never even begin to make a list of things for which we are thankful. We simply don’t think about it.
We are continuing our study of the book of Psalms today and we can see on our banner that there are many different types of psalms – there is something for almost every area of your life. Praise, Confession, Laments, and today we look at the psalms of thanksgiving.
Psalm 100 is one of several songs of thanksgiving in the Psalter.
We need to use these types of psalms and prayers in our lives more often than we do – as it is we simply do not thank God nearly enough.
I-JOYFUL THANKS TO GOD IN WORSHIP
A little boy went to a birthday party. On his return, his mother asked, “Bobby, did you thank the lady for the party?"
"Well, I was going to. But a girl ahead of me said, ’Thank you,’ and the lady told her not to mention it -------- So I didn’t."
We all recognize that little Bobby broke a social rule – you always say thanks to your host or hostess. This is true for God too. When it comes to thanking God, we can’t remain silent and we must not remain silent.
But for some reason, thanking God is difficult.
In a television cartoon, Homer Simpson is praying desperately to God. A tornado is bearing down on his home and getting closer and closer. Homer prays, “Oh God, save us from this tornado. If you do, I’ll give up drinking beer, be a better husband and father, and will be in church every Sunday to give you thanks for saving me and my family and our home.”
In the cartoon, you can see the hand of God literally pick up the tornado and the wind dies down and the sun comes out. All is safe.
Homer Simpson responds to this by continuing his prayer, “Never mind God, the tornado died down on its own.” Thus he continues to be a heavy drinker, a questionable husband and father, and never gives thanks to God for saving him and his family.
The psalmist knows we ought to thank God for his gifts. Listen to what he says:
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs...
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
God wants us to thank Him. We should want to thank Him and, in fact, must thank Him as the Giver of every good thing.
II JOYFUL THANKS BECAUSE OF HIS GOODNESS
Now, one of the things that Thanksgiving Psalms have in common is that they all have a reason to give thanks to God.
Why do we want to give God joyful thanks? What has He done for us? Why are we to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise?
The psalmist tell us: "For the Lord is good ..." He talks about how God created us and guides us as a shepherd . The psalmist talks about how God’s love endures forever.
If you look at some of the other psalms of thanksgiving, you will not see these reasons for thanking God. You will see other reasons.