Giving Thanks to God for God

Thanksgiving is a time for us to give thanks to God for all that we have. But 2020 has been a rather tough year in a number of ways, and so it is understandable if some people do not really feel much like giving thanks after all. In fact, in some ways I’m sure that many of us will be more than a bit thankful when this particular year is finally in the rear-view mirror.

But there is still much to be thankful for, even in 2020. The Bible is practically filled with exhortations calling the people of God to give thanks to Him, and nowhere is that more evident than in the book of Psalms. Psalm 136 is a great example. In fact, giving thanks to God is its main theme.

In v.1-3 the Psalmist writes,

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;” (ESV)

Three times there (and once more at the end of the Psalm in v.26) we are exhorted to give thanks to God. The rest of the Psalm goes into some detail about all of the great things that God has done both in creation itself as well as in delivering His people from their enemies. And these are all set before us as reasons to give God thanks.

But look again at v.1-3 (above). What is the very first reason the Psalmist gives us for giving thanks? It is not just what God has done for us (as important as that certainly is), but rather who God is. Why are we to give thanks to the LORD? First and foremost because “he is good,” and because “his steadfast love endures forever.” That last phrase is repeated in each and every verse (a total of 26 times!).

The great Puritan Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, puts it this way: “Give thanks to the LORD, not only because he does good, but because he is good . . . .”

That is why the Psalmist tells us to “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good” (v.1). God is good. Do you ever just thank God because He is good? Not just because He has been so good to you (which is also a good reason to thank Him), but just because He Himself is good!

Are you not feeling all that thankful right now? Are you having a tough time giving thanks this year? It is certainly understandable, as I have said before. But may I then encourage you all the more to make it your aim to seek to know God better?

There can truly be no more important thing that you could do than that. The Bible goes so far as to say that knowing God (not just knowing about God, although it certainly includes that) is eternal life! John 17:3 says,

“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (ESV)

Certainly if you know the Lord and have eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, you of all people have every reason to give thanks to God. For it is in Christ that we have been given every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3).

Not only that, but the better that you come to know the God of creation, providence, and salvation, the more reasons you will find to give thanks in all things, even in 2020 and beyond. May we all learn to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His steadfast love endures forever!

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