Theme: Recounting God’s Goodness to Others
This week’s lessons help us to properly celebrate Thanksgiving by impressing upon us the importance of continually expressing genuine thanks to the Lord for all his blessings.
Scripture: 1 Chronicles 16:8-12
This past Tuesday night we had our regular session meeting of the board of elders. We begin with a half hour of prayer. We take a little bit of time to share some of the things that have happened that we want to pray about, and then we break up in groups and pray. Since this week is Thanksgiving, we decided to share some of the things we really have to be thankful for. Different people mentioned different things, and these are some of what people said.
We were very thankful for the wonderful spirit and the growth in attendance that we have had at Tenth Presbyterian Church this fall. It’s really amazing to think that a church in the city laboring under all of the problems that city churches labor under, and in our case a church that doesn’t even have a parking lot, not to mention a gymnasium and other kinds of attractive things, should be filled here Sunday after Sunday, morning and evening, year after year. That is a cause for great thanksgiving.
We mentioned our missions conference, which we just had this month. It was a wonderful missions conference, one of the best we’ve ever had. We were thankful for the quality of our missionaries. You could hardly escape that as they shared what God had been doing through them out of their own experience. We were thankful also for the life and careers of several who had retired just in the past year.
We were thankful for the success of the City Light program on Friday nights. It kept growing until it got to the point that we moved it to the sanctuary to be able to hold everybody who wanted to come. About fifteen percent of the people are new, and we are very thankful for what God is doing through this ministry as we try to reach out to people in the city.
I mentioned the increase of attendance at City Center Academy, our high school here meeting in the church. We’re very concerned about city young people. You don’t have to study the matter to realize that the city is in dreadful shape where the education of young people is concerned, particularly at the high school level. And yet that’s the critical age for the young teenagers in the city. We also have a marvelous staff of teachers. We are rejoicing in the existence of the school and also for the blessing that God has brought on it this last year.
If we have things to thank God for, we should get in the habit of doing that all the time. If you haven’t been in the habit of doing it, let me suggest that Thanksgiving is the best of all possible days. When you’re sitting around the Thanksgiving table and you’re enjoying the meal, talk about the goodness of God, and the things that he’s done for you for which you’re thankful. That’s what the day is all about.
Verse ten gives us a new idea. The sixth thing our passage says to do is to “glory in his name.” Now the word glory means worship or praise of God. And since that has already been said earlier in verse nine (“Sing to him, sing praise to him,”), we would think perhaps that what we have in verse ten is merely repetition. But I don’t think so. I think in this context the emphasis is upon exalting in God in an emotional and very personal sense.
The reason I say that is that this psalm of thanks follows a very interesting moment in the life of David that we find at the very end of chapter 15. The ark of the covenant had not been in Jerusalem during David’s early career. It had been kept in the house of Abinadab and later a man named Obed-edom, and David wanted to bring it up to Jerusalem. And as they brought it up the final time David was so thrilled and glorying in the God who was represented by the ark that he danced literally before the ark as he made his way up into the city. He was literally reveling in God, glorying in God.
But when David’s wife, Michal, the daughter of Saul, saw him dancing, she despised him for it. She thought he was misbehaving before the people. Imagine the king of Israel acting like that, dancing in the streets. But David was right! He was showing something of what it means to glory in the name of God. We should be more like David and we should learn to revel in him a lot more than we do.
In our offering of thanks, what attributes of God are brought to mind?
Verse ten tells us to “glory in his name.” What does glory mean, and how does this differ from singing praise in verse nine?
Reflection: Make a list of blessings you have received throughout this year, including among your family and your church. Use them as a guide to daily offer thanks, to go along with those requests you regularly bring before the Lord.