2016: Looking Back, Pressing Forward

As I closed out 2015 and began praying toward 2016, this verse kept resonating with me:

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! —Psalm 105:1

Thanksgiving is not an activity restricted to the month of November. It’s to be a daily practice in our lives and it has very real benefits for us. There is a direct correlation between giving thanks and our level of peace, joy, contentment and satisfaction in life. (Phil 4:4-6, 1 Thess. 5:16-18).

Psalm 107 reiterates what Psalm 105:1 instructs. Psalm 105 exhorts the reader to: give thanks, call upon the Lord and make known His deeds to others. Psalm 107 gives us some very real and practical examples of living out this verse. Take a few moments today to read through and examine Psalm 107.

Read through Psalm 107.  What can we learn from this psalm about giving thanks?

It begins with an exhortation — Let the redeem say so!  We are to say so!  As those redeemed from an empty way of life —from sin, from darkness and death—we are to express our thanks to God privately and publicly because of who He is and what He has done in our lives.  These verses tell us He is good and His unfailing love endures forever!

Unfailing love – hesedlove, kindness, goodness, mercy, faithfulness, love. Classic text for understanding this word is in Psalm 136 where it is repeated 26 times. God’s kindness and faithfulness serve as foundation for his actions and character. It is abundant, exceedingly great, without end and good.

Read through each of the following sections of Psalm 107 and note the descriptors of these people.  For what do they give thanks?  What do they learn about who He IS as a result of their experience and God’s deliverance? (Sections: Psalm 107:1-3, 107:4-9, 107:10-16, 107:17-22, 107:23-32)

In each of the sections of this psalm we find a group of people who were:

  • in need
  • in trouble
  • in distress

In each instance we find some common factors:

  • They cried out to the Lord
  • He delivered them from their distress
  • A repeated phrase to give thanks to the Lord
  • An attribute of God related to their need in that situation

We find that God:

  • satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with good things (v. 9)
  • shatters the chains of bondage and sets free from darkness and death (v. 14, 16)
  • sends forth His Word and heals and delivers from destruction (v. 20)
  • stills the storms and waves that rage and brings to a safe and desired refuge (v. 29-30)

Psalm 107 ends with an exhortation:

“Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.”

Psalm 107 exhorts us to attend to these things and consider the steadfast (unfailing) love of the Lord.

attend samarto guard, keep, retain, observe and celebrate

consider biynto perceive, to understand, to know, consider diligently

I love the above definition speaks to the idea of celebration. I am to celebrate all that God has done in my life. These words also speak of intentionality and focus — attending to, guarding, understanding, to consider diligently. This requires intentionality and focus on my part to look for ways God is working in my life and ways He is revealing Himself to me.

Say SO!  Do you make it a habit to give thanks to the Lord in all circumstances?

 He is unfailing love and He will use all things in my life for His glory and my good.

give thanks yadah ­ to acknowledge, to praise, to confess.  The essential meaning is an act of acknowledging what is right about God in praise and thanksgiving.  It can also mean an acknowledgement of self before God in confessing sin.  Often linked with the word hallelujah which in Hebrew is a combination of the words:

halalto praise, boast, shine, to shout and

Jah the contracted form of Jehovah or Yahweh, meaning He is. 

Hallelujah literally means, Praise He IS!  In Psalm 107 we see how God met their need with an attribute of His character, an aspect of who He IS.  He does the same in our lives. Think through your Psalm 107 story and spend some time in Hallelujah Thanksgiving —praising the Lord for who He IS!  And remember your story extends beyond your initial point of salvation.  God is writing your story every day.  You always have reason to give thanks to the Lord!

What would your Psalm 107 be?  Write your story of how God has worked in your life and reasons for giving thanks for who He is all His wondrous works. When you arrive at the end of 2016, what will be the snapshot picture of your life? Will it be characterized more by grumbling or gratitude? As we move forward into 2016, I invite you to join me in making praise and thanksgiving a daily habit in your life. Let’s consider. Let’s attend to it. Let’s celebrate who God is and all He does!

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©2016 Susan Cady, susancady.com