This past weekend I got the privilege of preaching in Houston at Creekside Bible Church. We looked at Psalm 136, and talked thanksgiving as worship.

I love Psalm 136 because it is one of the Old Testament Psalms that was sung by the Israelites to remind themselves of God's work in their lives. This song imparticular reminded them of who God is, what God has made, what God has done, and what God has given.

I'm particularly fascinated by the middle of the Psalm that describes the salvation history of Israel. The Psalmist reminds the Israelites of God's salvation from the hands of the Egyptians following the Passover. Then he reminds them of their salvation across the Red Sea. Following that, he reminds them of their salvation during their time in the desert. All those times were magnificent times of God's salvation in Israel's life for which the Psalmist reminds them that they should "Give thanks" (v. 1).

The Israelites were thankful to escape from the hands of the Egyptians... for about thirty minutes. Then, if you remember, they began to gripe to Moses, asking "weren't there enough graves in Egypt? Have you brought us out here so we will die in the desert?" Then the Lord provided a way across the Red Sea by parting the water, and the Israelites were thankful... for a few hours. Then they began to get hungry and began to complain. So God gave them Wonder Bread from heaven to eat along with quail that He provided, and they were thankful... for a few weeks until they got tired of quail and manna casserole and wanted some water to go with it.

Israel had a history of seeing God show up in their lives and soon forgetting all about it. And the Psalmist points out that their griping was a poor reflection on God's character. What God has done is a reflection of who He is. But sometimes we need a reminder.

This Thanksgiving, as you go around the table and share all the things you're thankful for, remember that Thanksgiving is about more than just what God has done in our lives - it's about who He is.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.


Micky said...

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staffs were very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace Be With You