Today we are celebrating the Thanksgiving Day in America. Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks to God for the harvest and express gratitude in general. It is a holiday celebrated primarily in Canada and the United States. Though the earliest attested Thanksgiving celebration was on September 8, traditional “first Thanksgiving” is venerated as having occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621. The Plymouth celebration occurred early in the history in one of the original thirteen colonies that became the United States, and this celebration became an important part of the American myth by the 1800s. Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Thanksgiving dinner is held on this day, usually as a gathering of family members and friends.
While I was going through the Psalms in the Bible I found out that Psalm 100 is the only one titled “of thanksgiving.” Psalms are the prayers of the people of God. Psalms of Thanksgiving are expressions of thanks often with reference to celebration with friends or the assembly. The different psalms of Thanksgiving have different connotations and meaning. It was sung by worshipers in the temple as they entered into the gates and went into the temple for the service of thanksgiving. The Psalmist not only invites us to give thanks, but also encourages us to give thanks to God.
Basis of our Thanksgiving
V.3 says, “Know that the Lord is God.”Our knowledge of God is the basis of our thanksgiving. How we worship God and give thanks to Him depends on what we know of Him. We don’t worship an unknown God like the Athenians. So knowledge and understanding play an important part in our worship and thanksgiving. In this Psalm we see how important is our knowledge of God’s goodness which is the basis of our thanksgiving.
Four things about God’s goodness:
- The Lord is God…
- The Lord is good…
- His love endures forever…
- His faithfulness continues through all generations.
His goodness is demonstrated to us in three Relationships:
God’s goodness is demonstrated to us – Who God is to us.
- He made us – It is he who made us – He is the creator. What a tragedy to see the self-made man today.
- We belong to Him – we are his; we are his people – he is the owner
- The sheep of his pasture – He is our shepherd.
We should never forget the fact that we are living in God’s earth. We are breathing God’s air. We are drinking God’s water. We are eating God’s food. We are burning God’s oil. We are heating our home with God’s gas. We are eating God’s cattle, God’s fish. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything it belongs to him” (Ps. 24:1). We are actually just grazing in His field. Everything that we have, everything that we see, everything that we’re surrounded with belongs to God. So v. 4 says, “Let’s enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” In the Old Testament time, people of Israel were allowed to enter only the gates and the outer courts. Only the priests were allowed to enter the holy of holies. Now we as God’s people can come to the presence of God to see his face and worship him without the need of any mediator. That’s the greatest goodness and mercy of God that he has accomplished for us through His Son, Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. So along with the Psalmist, “Let’s shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”Now if we can’t worship the Lord with gladness, it’s better that we not worship Him. Now if we can’t serve the Lord with gladness, it’s better that we not serve Him. If we can’t give joyfully to the Lord, we’re much better off not to give. No one is to be pressured or forced to worship him or serve him. God doesn’t want our giving ever to be out of pressure, out of constraint, out of someone pushing us.
So let all people give thanks and praises to God for his protection and provision on our land today. Let’s thank for His goodness, His love, His mercy, and for His truth. May God just cause our day to be filled with thanksgiving and praise unto Him! We should also not confine our thanksgiving to a get together once a year, but every day must be a day of thanksgiving for us as God’s people!
Rev. Mathew Philip