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Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalms 107:8-9, 15, 21
Did you notice that one of those verses is repeated verbatim THREE TIMES? It’s noteworthy that the Psalmist thought it so important.
It’s easy to look at others and think, “Well if I had her life, it would be easy to be thankful.”
Comparison breeds contempt.
Never forget, even the people who seem to have it all together are going through something. God put you where you are for a reason.
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“Contentment is essentially a matter of accepting from God’s hand what He sends because we know that He is good and therefore it is good.” J. I. Packer
“But why does God allow bad things to happen?” You ask.
We cannot see what God sees, and we cannot judge as He judges. This entire Psalm speaks of the hardships of God’s people. And yet, the writer specifically says to give thanks.
Have you ever met someone who maintained a positive attitude and trust in God no matter what? I have a friend like this.
She is suffering through probably the hardest trial of her life, and yet she radiates God’s goodness. How does she do it?
She maintains a thankful spirit.
We can trust what we know from Scripture:
God is good
He is loving
He is compassionate and
He wants us to give thanks to Him.
Giving thanks changes our attitude
I love the way The Message describes Moses receiving the ten commandments from God. It took 40 days and 40 nights:
When the people realized that Moses was taking FOREVER in coming down off the mountain, they rallied around Aaron and said, “Do something. Make gods for us who will lead us. That Moses, the man who got us out of Egypt – who knows what’s happened to him?” Exodus 32:1
“When the people saw that Moses was taking FOREVER…”
I literally laughed out loud when I read it. It wasn’t forever.
It wasn’t even close to a year.
It was a little over a month and a week.
But that wasn’t what they had in mind. They thought he should have gone to fetch the commandments and returned in one day.
They were tired of waiting for
“That Moses, the man who got us out of Egypt”.
Poor Moses was long-suffering with this “stiff necked people”.
He waited on all the flies, the frogs, the lice, the plagues, the darkness, the killing of the first born of the Egyptians – before Pharaoh released Israel.
Then he parted the Red Sea and led them across on dry land (while they whined the whole time).
And now, they acted like “that Moses” was a stranger who hadn’t done a thing for them.
Because they weren’t thankful.
When life took longer than they thought it should, they forgot what God did for them.
They took it upon themselves to find a solution.
And it was NOT a good one – they paid dearly for it.
When God doesn’t answer according to our timing or do something the way we think it should be done, we become unthankful and go ahead on our own.
How can we even presume to know better than God?
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8
This excerpt from One Thousand Gifts by Anne Voskamp aptly describes how we view God’s goodness when things happen that we just can’t process as being allowed by God:
…I believe the Serpent’s hissing lie, the repeating refrain of his campaign through the ages: God isn’t good. It’s the cornerstone of his movement. That God withholds good from His children, that God does not genuinely, fully, love us.
There are two different spins on the word “goodness” in Psalm 107:
1. God’s goodness: kindness; beauty; favor; good deeds; mercy
2. Goodness from God: good things; beautiful, best, better, bountiful, graciousness, kindness
Because of God’s goodness, He extends His mercy. Freedom from sin can only come from our all-powerful God, and He has chosen to bestow that – if only we accept it. That one gift came in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ.
On top of that, God continues to be good to us because He IS good. He shows kindness, beauty, and favor.
God sees the end results, just like in Joseph’s case, where his brothers sold him into slavery:
You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
God used Joseph’s misfortune to save thousands of people later during a time of famine.
When we suffer, it does not just affect us – it affects others as well. You are not an island.
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It is impossible for God to be anything and not be completely, infinitely what He is.
It is possible for the sun to be bright, but not infinitely bright because it doesn’t have all the light there is.
It is possible for a mountain to be large but not infinitely large.
It is possible for an angel to be good, but not infinitely good.
Only God can claim infinitude.
When I say that God is good, that God has a kind heart, I mean that He has a heart infinitely kind and that there is no boundary to it.
When I say that God is good-natured, good and kindly of nature, I mean that He is infinitely so. ~A.W.Tozer, The Attributes of God
The Thankfulness Challenge
Ann Voskamp took up a challenge to list 1,000 thankful things, which is the basis for her book, One Thousand Gifts.
The color yellow, pretty designs of frost on the window, piles of laundry due to healthy kids, muddy footprints which meant she was not an empty-nester yet (ahem), the details of her life.
I read that book last year on our vacation to South Dakota in the mires of a depression I couldn’t seem to shake. I’d never experienced such hopelessness before.
But this book put me on the thankfulness path. I started making lists and ran across these verses in Psalm 107.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for:
- His goodness
- His wonderful works to the children of men
- He satisfies the longing soul
- He fills the hungry soul with goodness
This is how your longing, hungry soul gets filled with goodness.
And my longing, hungry soul was filled. It took some practice. It was a long road back, and it didn’t happen overnight.
But it happened.
- Write a list of 10 things you are thankful for and give thanks to God for those 10 things every day this week.
- Reflect on the past and what God has done for you, how He has worked in your life and give thanks.
- Start a “thankful” notebook.
- Keep post-it notes nearby your work space and when something pops up you’re thankful for, write it down. Enter it in your thankful notebook later.
- Or, start a “Thankful Jar”. Upon receiving answers to prayer, jot them down and place them in the jar. At the end of the month, take them out and thank God again for those answers! You can log them in your thankful notebook. Get other family members involved. You could save these answers for the Christmas season and pull one out each night of advent to remind your family of what God has done throughout the year. I am doing this! Join me!
“We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks. ~Anne Voskamp
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:8-9, 15, 21
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