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Oh, That Men Would Give Thanks to the LORD - Shepherd of Hope

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men” – Psalm 107:8        

 

The Thanksgiving Holiday is upon us. People everywhere will be giving thanks. We in America should especially be thankful. There is a new spirit of defending the lives of the unborn. More and more states are putting restrictions on the abortion of the yet to be born. Abortion should be a very last resort; if a resort at all with modern day medical advances. We can see that life begins at conception. We can see the life in the womb. For this we should be thankful.

There is a greater sense of someone in the highest governmental authority who is listening to us and has our best patriotic interests at heart. There is a growing sense of unity as a nation. The common man and woman are no longer an afterthought to their government. People who love this country are being heard. There is a move away from globalism that was tearing down our national sovereignty. For this we should be thankful.

More people are working today than have been in a very long time. That is especially true in our women and minority communities. People are thriving economically and depending less and less on government to get by. As a nation we are manufacturing again like we haven’t in a very long time. Economically we are breaking records for growth. Our veterans are being attended to. We are making better use of our natural resources so that we are less dependent on outside sources. Our military is stronger and we have reason to feel safer. For this we should be thankful.

The American Embassy was moved to Jerusalem. The threats in North Korea and Iran have been muzzled. Isis has been paralyzed and nearly put to death. As a nation we are once again taking the lead in the world while extricating ourselves from perennial conflicts that have been sapping the lifeblood of our nation. We seem to have a better set of priorities as a nation. Yes, we have reason to be thankful as a nation.

But there’s still a lot of work to do. Liberal controlled states are passing legislation to allow abortion up to and even after birth. That is a heinous development and depraved sin. Immoral sinful lifestyles are not only being accepted as viable but are being forced on us and our children. If you believe there are only men and women and not a hundred or more gender alternatives, you’re labelled a hater, bigot, marginalized or worse. Those who claim to be anti-fascist act the most like fascists. Our nation is in many ways very confused, and that confusion is being embraced and promoted as “normal.” That challenges our ability to be thankful.

We are in many ways more divided in many parts of our nation today than we have been in a very long time. This is in part due to an establishment class of government administrators entrenched in our system with an agenda seldom beneficial to its citizenry. They blindly promote socialism as though it came down from heaven to make everyone equal. They use “democracy” to promote their seditious social engineering. They play on the kindnesses and good will of people who want equality and fairness for all. They pander to those who would relinquish their freedoms to receive “guaranteed,” food, housing, medical care, education, and everything else at the behest of the State. The problem with all this free stuff is summed up well by the wise lady Margaret Thatcher who said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” The worse reality is that socialism frequently leads to communism, a godless system that oppresses people not frees them. The historical record shows communism is responsible for literally hundreds of millions of deaths. That this is being promoted and popularized by people deluded by this wolf in sheep’s clothing, is scary and threatens our heart of thanksgiving.

Our government, was once solid and stable, designed to free people up to feed themselves through hard work. Those days are slipping away. Government today has been commandeered by career politicians who strangle and fleece us more than free us. There is a “Deep State” of nonelected officials who have their own agenda.[1] This agenda is not in favor of our sovereign nation, or its constitutional principles. There is a move to take control of our nation regardless of who is elected by its citizenry. This web of spiders threatens to wrap us up and rob us of thanksgiving.

Collusion is a word that has been thrown around for the last few years. The idea is that foreign nations have played a role in interfering in our electoral process. But the real problem is interference from within to undermine the true electoral outcome of our nation. The true culprits of collusion detrimental to our nation, use the word to project their dastardly deeds onto those they oppose. They use things like “impeachment” to try and overturn elections that didn’t go their way. These swampy creatures aren’t easily cleaned out. It’s a messy business. And its very likely that the cleanup, (if it can actually be cleaned up), is going to get a lot messier. For all of this we ought to pray and be thankful there is One to hear our prayers in this regard. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). I pray that’s indeed true for us.

These are situation that put our heart of thanks to the test. These developments and unholy trends of our day might cause the saints of the Lord to be anxious, unsettled, unthankful. Instead of anxiety and unsettledness, there is an alternative for which we should be thankful. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Thankfulness is at the heart of the solution to our national ills.

Sinful society shaking trends should drive us to our knees in prayer. Instead of only signing another Face Book petition, we should bring our petitions to the Lord in heartfelt prayer “with thanksgiving.” That’s important. Don’t overlook that phrase. Being thankful in this verse implies as we pray, BEFORE the answer comes from the LORD, we are thankful. That requires faith; faith in the LORD. That requires faith in the plans and power of the LORD to fulfill them.

 How can we find anything to be thankful for in such dark depraved developments? We can and should be thankful that we know a God who is Holy and True and all-powerful and all-knowing, and ever-present. Do you know such a God? You should if you don’t. He’s only a prayer away. Let me tell you why you should know this all-powerful God. He is able to settle scores and make things right again. He is able to save us from ous sins. He is able to revive us. He is able to restore the years and losses the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25). He is able to give us peace, a peace that defies our understanding and overcomes our problems. Yes, because we know God with whom nothing is impossible, we should be thankful.

Nowadays we need to ask, “To whom will they give thanks?” More and more, in public schools and on various media, propaganda contends the first thanksgiving was aimed at Native Americans who helped the pilgrims survive a harsh wintery climate. Now while Native Americans were no doubt instrumental in helping the pilgrims, we should go deeper and thank the One who sent them, God Almighty. God providentially gave those early pilgrims favor with the indigenous people. To look horizontally alone in our thanks and not vertically too, is to miss the most important point of thanksgiving. Failing to look upward in thanks is akin to praising the scalpel instead of the surgeon for a successful surgery.

Previous administrations of the not too distant past, felt it their duty to assert we are “no longer a Christian nation.” There’s debate about whether the actual statement was meant to be more inclusive as in, “we are no longer just a Christian nation.” But the First Amendment has always guaranteed religious freedom. That First Amendment of the Constitution was written up by for the most part Christians and was meant to protect people from religious persecution. Such persecution was what the first pilgrims fled from Europe to America to escape. And the religion of the early Founding Fathers should not be so easily cast aside or minimized as I suspect the statement about not being a Christian nation any longer was intended to do. No, we should be thankful to God for our Christian heritage. It is foundational to who we are as a nation. And it is indispensable to maintain our freedoms as well as the unprecedented prosperity we have experienced as a nation, and that we have shared with the world. [2]

Governor William Bradford made a decree on December 13th 1621 that a day of feasting and prayer was to be set aside to thank God not only for His material provisions, but for blessing them with religious freedom to worship Him as the Spirit led them. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday of November as, “a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” In 1941 Congress established the fourth Thursday of November as a legal holiday to be called Thanksgiving Day. It isn’t until relatively recent times that the thought that there is a God and that He ought to be thanked has become societally and secularly blasphemous. It’s interesting that those who contend for freedom to promote filth are so antagonistic toward those who desire freedom to promote faith. Such a stance exposes the depth of depravity and debased reprobation in the world of these latter days. It will only get worse before the Lord Jesus returns.

Psalm 107 opens with the words, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, . . .” We ought to give thanks to the LORD! J. Vernon McGee comments, “We need more “say so” Christians. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Don’t go around complaining and criticizing. If you are a Christian, tell others how good God is. He is good, but He doesn’t have a good name in the world today. God’s reputation is bad—a reputation is what people think about you. God does not have many friends in court among the multitudes of people in the world—no champion, or defender, and few to testify on His behalf. There are few to take the witness stand and say a good word in His behalf. . . . If anyone is going to say that God is good, it will have to be His redeemed ones. God is good. That is not an axiom; it is a proposition that is subject to proof. It is not a cliché, nor a slogan; it is not propaganda. It is true.” [3]

Why should we give thanks to the LORD? “. . . For He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 107:1). God is GOOD! God is MERCIFUL! The Bible states, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10). And for that alone we should be thankful. We ought to in humility ask, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalm 8:4). And remember, “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). But also remember, and be thankful that,” He raises the poor out of the dust” (Psalm 113:7). Remember that while our, “soul clings to the dust” God answer the plea to, “Revive me according to Your word” (Psalm 119:25). For this we should be thankful to the LORD!

God is not a tyrant or mean. The word “good” means good in the broadest sense. Goodness is associated with beauty, grace, pleasure, joy, kindness, prosperity, sweetness, and wealth and God is a dispenser of such things. God is good all the time! Be thankful for that.

“Mercy” refers to lovingkindness, faithfulness or steadfast love. It is a beautiful word, one of the richest in scripture. God’s mercy is eternal. It is because of God’s goodness and mercy that we exist. It is because of His goodness and mercy that we are offered a way of salvation from our sin. And His goodness and mercy graciously invite us to enter an eternally blessed relationship with the God of the universe through faith in Christ. Our salvation and every good thing in existence come from God’s goodness and mercy. God is described in a wonderful way here, a way that should move us to bow before Him in thanks.

Who especially should thank the LORD? The psalmist goes on to exhort, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so . . .” (107:2). Have you been redeemed from your sins by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ? If so, THANK THE LORD! Remember that the price of your redemption was the precious blood of Christ, the Son of God (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Can you thank the LORD for that? I hope so. Don’t lose sight of your most important eternal redemption. This Thanksgiving, despite all the opposition the enemy can muster the redeemed need to proclaim their thanks to the LORD. Thanking God is not optional; it is the only reasonable thing for the redeemed to do.

For what should the redeemed thank the LORD? You may have had a really bad year. You may be going through a tough time. You may be brooding over a souring relationship, an illness, or some other trial or trouble. You may be in no mood to thank anyone, not even the LORD. But listen, a lack of thankfulness exposes a lack of proper perspective. Psalm 107 gives us five reasons to thank the LORD. Four times the psalmist pleads, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31). We will briefly touch on each one, but you are encouraged to make this Psalm a source of study for this Thanksgiving season.

First, thank God for His redemptive deliverance from the enemy (107:2-7). The psalm reads:

Psalm 107:1–7 (NKJV)

1     Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

For His mercy endures forever.

2     Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,

3     And gathered out of the lands,

From the east and from the west,

From the north and from the south.

4     They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way;

They found no city to dwell in.

5     Hungry and thirsty,

Their soul fainted in them.

6     Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,

And He delivered them out of their distresses.

7     And He led them forth by the right way,

That they might go to a city for a dwelling place.

The Psalmist recalls how God delivered His people from Egypt and through their wilderness wanderings. God heard the cries of His people and acted on their behalf. God will hear our cries, your cries, my cries, and act on our behalf, even today. No hardship or difficulty we are experiencing has caught the LORD off guard. God is in control. He makes a way to live victoriously in life now (Rom. 8:37-39). He defeated Satan on the cross (Col. 2:14-15). He is there for you. The good and merciful God of the universe is there for you. Trust Him. Pray to Him. He will answer. For that we should thank the LORD.

In the months and days leading up to the last national election, there was a sense among many that our nation was going in the wrong direction. There was a sense that something very precious was in danger. There was a very real threat to our nation. And many patriots and citizens of heaven came together and lifted their voices to God above. Judging by the results of that presidential election and the direction we are moving in as a nation, it appears the LORD has heard and is answering our prayers.

Oh, the one God allowed to rise to the presidency isn’t as diplomatic and accommodating as presidents have been in the past. But such congeniality got us abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, and a host of other dark developments. Maybe, just maybe, we have been given what is needed for a redemptive work of God. Maybe we need a fighter. Maybe we need a lion. Maybe we need someone who isn’t a politician. Maybe we need a street brawler more than a diplomat. Maybe we needed someone to trumpet the traditions of our nation’s past. Maybe, just maybe, President Donald John Trump is what we needed.

Those of you who continue to persist and resist the 2016 election results, step back a bit, take a breath, look at what is being accomplished, look at the redirection and realignment of our nation. Look at the facts and reality, not just clouds of blinding smoke and mirrors of misdirection. Seek the Lord for honest appraisal. Then I pray, by God’s grace, you will see what I believe God is doing. Then I pray, you will have something more to thank God about. And I will do and pray the same for myself. More prayer never hurt anyone. More prayer leads us to more thanksgiving.

Second, thank God for satisfying the longing soul and filling the hungry soul with goodness (107:8-14). The psalm continues:

Psalm 107:8–14 (NKJV)

8     Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,

And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

9     For He satisfies the longing soul,

And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

10   Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,

Bound in affliction and irons—

11   Because they rebelled against the words of God,

And despised the counsel of the Most High,

12   Therefore He brought down their heart with labor;

They fell down, and there was none to help.

13   Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,

And He saved them out of their distresses.

14   He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,

And broke their chains in pieces.

 Even when people experience darkness, bondage, and affliction as consequences to rebellion against God and His word, even when we despise His counsel, God doesn’t forsake us. He disciplines us and humbles us until we return and cry out to Him so He can save us. He does this because He loves us (Heb. 12:3-15). God will break our chains, even self-inflicted ones, if we will only repent and cry out to Him. For that we should thank the LORD.

Does your soul long to know the LORD? Do you know that’s possible, to know the LORD? I’m not talking about religion. Religion is backwards. Religions focuses on what we should do to get right with God. The gospel or “good news” begins with bad news. We are sinful and our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 3:23). God is just, and His justice demands that the guilty be punished for their sins. On our own, no effort, no work, not even religious efforts can offset our sins. The penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). This is very serious. It effects our eternal destiny. We are lost. But God, while holy and just, is also gracious and merciful. He has made away for us to be forgiven our sins through Jesus. Our sins demand a death penalty. Jesus went to the cross to pay our death penalty so that whoever believes in Him would be forgiven their sins and receive eternal life (Ephesians 2:1-9). Salvation from your sins is a prayer away. Here is a sample prayer:

Father in heaven. I come humbly to You in Jesus’ name. I admit my sins to you and turn from them. I ask Your forgiveness, not based on any effort of my own, but because I believe Jesus died on the cross for me; to pay my death penalty for sins. By faith in Jesus I accept Your forgiveness which You have promised me in Your word. [4] Holy Spirit please fill me and give me spiritual life. God, help me to live for You. Thank You for forgiving me. Thank you that I no longer have to fear death because I will spend eternity with You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, you have a lot to be thankful for. If you prayed that prayer, start praying and reading your Bible regularly. And find a Bible teaching church that will help you grow in your faith. If you can’t find one, let me know in the comments section of this blog and I will help you find one.

Third, thank God for His healing word (107:15-20). The psalmist states:

Psalm 107:15–20 (NKJV)

15   Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,

And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

16   For He has broken the gates of bronze,

And cut the bars of iron in two.

17   Fools, because of their transgression,

And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.

18   Their soul abhorred all manner of food,

And they drew near to the gates of death.

19   Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,

And He saved them out of their distresses.

20   He sent His word and healed them,

And delivered them from their destructions.

Again the psalmist speaks of those who, “because of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted.” The blame for our affliction is so often clear. We may deny our sin in self-deception (1 John 1:8). We may deny our sin and in effect call God a liar (1 John 1:10). The bottom line is that when we repent and cry out to God, He forgives us and sends His word to heal us and deliver us from our destructions. It is in His word that we see revelation truth; reality; and are directed on the path of life (Psalm 16:11). The volume of His Book speaks of Christ (Hebrews 10:7). In Christ we find abundance in this life and the next (John 10:10). For that we should thank the LORD.

Fourth, thank God for His protection in a fallen world (107:21-30). The psalmist states:

Psalm 107:21–30 (NKJV)

21   Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,

And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

22   Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,

And declare His works with rejoicing.

23   Those who go down to the sea in ships,

Who do business on great waters,

24   They see the works of the Lord,

And His wonders in the deep.

25   For He commands and raises the stormy wind,

Which lifts up the waves of the sea.

26   They mount up to the heavens,

They go down again to the depths;

Their soul melts because of trouble.

27   They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,

And are at their wits’ end.

28   Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble,

And He brings them out of their distresses.

29   He calms the storm,

So that its waves are still.

30   Then they are glad because they are quiet;

So He guides them to their desired haven.

These verses speak of the awesome rolling waves of the sea and how God preserves those who travel them. Did you ever think about the immensity of the world and universe? We are so microscopically focused on ourselves that we miss the incredible grace of God who created, sustains and sovereignly rules over the entire universe. Yet God bends down to help puny little us. We are so quick to point to and blame God for those who die in natural disasters or otherwise. There is an enemy at work in such situations but we quickly blame God or deny His power (cf. Job 1 and 2). We shouldn’t argue with the God of the universe who in His sovereign determination takes some and spares others. He alone can make those decisions from an omniscient and omnipotent position. We can argue and shake our fist at God. We can turn away in doubt and depression and forfeit all because our small brains and shrunken hearts can’t grasp the purposes of Almighty God. But it would be wiser and more blessed to trust our good merciful God and thank Him.

Fifth, thank God for His ultimate justice (107:31-43). The psalmist concludes:

Psalm 107:31–43 (NKJV)

31   Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,

And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

32   Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people,

And praise Him in the company of the elders.

33   He turns rivers into a wilderness,

And the watersprings into dry ground;

34   A fruitful land into barrenness,

For the wickedness of those who dwell in it.

35   He turns a wilderness into pools of water,

And dry land into watersprings.

36   There He makes the hungry dwell,

That they may establish a city for a dwelling place,

37   And sow fields and plant vineyards,

That they may yield a fruitful harvest.

38   He also blesses them, and they multiply greatly;

And He does not let their cattle decrease.

39   When they are diminished and brought low

Through oppression, affliction and sorrow,

40   He pours contempt on princes,

And causes them to wander in the wilderness where there is no way;

41   Yet He sets the poor on high, far from affliction,

And makes their families like a flock.

42   The righteous see it and rejoice,

And all iniquity stops its mouth.

43   Whoever is wise will observe these things,

And they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

 God is able to dry up a river or make water flow. He is able to discipline sinful authorities and preserve the poor and weak. He is able to bless and “multiply greatly.” He is able to make the righteous rejoice in the end and shut the mouths of those indulging iniquity. God is in control. The ultimate answer is not politics or government. The ultimate answer is not in military might, science, technology, or education. All those things will only bring us part way to where we need to be. The ultimate answer is the LORD! “Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.”

“The Lovingkindness of the LORD,” that is what we ought to thank God for, His lovingkindness. Look around you, all is not lost. God is in control. He has a plan and will carry it out. Indeed, if you are paying attention, you can see the prophetic word of God being fulfilled quite nicely. Jesus is coming back! Soon and very soon we will see our Savior and King of kings, our good and merciful God. For that we should be most thankful. “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD . . ..” Oh, please my friend, my brother and sister in Christ especially, let us give thanks to the LORD like never before this year. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

[1] https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/dan-gainor-even-ny-times-columnist-admits-theres-a-deep-state-but-he-says-members-are-the-good-guys

[2] I know critics of our nation who have been schooled (propagandized) in our “higher” educational institutions and media will object claiming our nation to be imperialistic. But I suggest those of such persuasion get a copy of Dinesh D’Souza’s book America: Imagine a World Without Her for the other (truer) side of the story.

[3]McGee, J. V. (1997, c1981). Thru the Bible commentary. Based on the Thru the Bible radio program. (electronic ed.) (2:830-831). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] John 1:12; 3:16; 1 John 1:7 and 9; Acts 13:38; 26:18; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14.

 

 

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