True Thanksgiving

As we celebrate Thanksgiving 2022 it’s important to think about what constitutes true thanksgiving to the Lord. Psalm 103 helps us, in light of the difficulties of this life, to fill our hearts with thanksgiving to the Lord. The Psalm begins, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all of his benefits”.

King David is thinking about the mighty acts of the Lord in both providence and salvation. This leads him to joyfully praise the Lord in full recognition of God’s fatherly care for him in this life.

There are five benefits that inspire true thanksgiving before the Lord from Psalm 103:

First, “He forgives all your iniquities”. This is the Lord’s most important blessing, from which every other good gift comes. In the fullness of time, God sent his Son to make full atonement for all of your sins. David encourages us to live in the joy of this benefit. Stand and look to the west, and then turn and look to the east. Can you measure that distance? Verse 12 tells us, “as far as the east is from the west, so far does [God] remove our transgressions from us”. Praise the Lord! We are forgiven and reconciled to God in peace, through the blood of Christ.

Second, “He heals all of your diseases”. Take this as it is intended to be: a blessing and general truth of what the Lord does for us. How many of us have faced health issues, and some very serious? We have cried and prayed, and the Lord has answered us. The Lord constantly hears and answers our prayers when we cry to him over sicknesses. I can’t begin to name all the saints I have prayed with in their affliction. The Lord has answered and helped each one; even when he chose to take them home! The Lord cares for us right now, body and soul. Praise the Lord for his care for our physical needs!

Third, “He redeems your life from destruction”. Everyone reading this post is going to die. But Jesus has disarmed death’s sting for you: “O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55). The consequence of this truth is that, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on” (Rev. 14:13). “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Ps. 116:15). Our Lord Jesus Christ has overcome death and hell for you, so that you can enjoy this blessing: your life is redeemed from destruction. Praise the Lord for overcoming death through the resurrection of Christ!

Fourth, “He crowns you with steadfast love and mercy”. The Lord has crowned us with all kinds of good gifts and mercies. He is always kind and loving toward us in his providence, and he is always ready to help us. The Lord is constantly patient with us; never giving us what our sins deserve. Our heavenly Father’s “good and perfect gifts” are never ending (James 1). When has the Lord ever left us in want? of anything? Praise the Lord for all his good gifts to us!

Finally, “He satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”. The Lord gives us good things to enjoy; even food. How many times have we sat at our tables and thanked him for our daily bread? Are we able to number the times he has provided and filled our mouths with good things? We are constantly refreshed by his provisions for us. Think about this tonight after you eat a meal and are strengthened again. Praise the Lord for giving us good things; even our daily bread!

This is God’s calling for you not only in good times, but also in seasons of adversity. We should be careful to demonstrate our trust in him to the world. Bless the Lord with your whole being today. Bless him and do not forget all he has done for you. Let any complaints be turned to praise as you remember these benefits, which are still yours even today in the midst of the difficulties of this life. The times and seasons, both good and bad, are always in his hand.