The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving


     When it comes to thanksgiving, Americans tend to think of a day, not a daily sacrifice.  This is not true of those who composed the psalms.

     Psalm 116, for example, connects being a servant of Jehovah with a daily sacrifice of thanksgiving.  Here, it is written, “O Lord, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have loosed my bonds.  I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call upon the name of the Lord.  I will pay my vows to the Lord, now in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.  Praise the Lord!” (vv. 16-19).

     This was the irresistible conclusion reached by the composer.  He had arrived at this mindset by doing the following:

  • He had reflected on Jehovah’s answers to His prayers. “I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications.   Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.  The pains of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow.  Then I called upon the name of the Lord: ‘O Lord, I implore You, deliver my soul!’” (vv. 1-4)
  • He had meditated upon Jehovah’s bountiful grace. “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful.  The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.  Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you” (vv. 5-7).
  • He had remembered Jehovah’s deliverance. “For You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.  I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living” (vv. 8-9).
  • He had considered his rightful obligations. “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?  I will take up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.  I will pay my vows to the Lord, now in the presence of all His people” (vv. 12-14).
  • He had recognized the blessing of death to those who are holy. “Precious in the sight of the Lordis the death of His saints” (v. 15).

     Psalm 116 provides a pattern that you can follow to transform your thinking about thanksgiving from being a day to being a daily sacrifice of your lips.

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Author: jchowning

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