Thursday, March 03, 2016
Psalm 75:1 We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near.
I find that one of the hardest commands of Scripture to obey is this – “give thanks in all circumstances.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Many times it seems unreasonable to be thankful. Tragedy doesn’t stimulate thanksgiving. News that rocks our confidence in the future does not generate gratitude. Circumstances that disappoint our expectations do not arouse an attitude of appreciation. How are we supposed to be thankful when the things happening to us really stink?
We have the answer to the issue of thankfulness in Psalm 75. Thanksgiving is not motivated by circumstances; it is motivated by the nearness of God.
The simple truths of thankfulness are these:
- God never changes
- God is always faithful
- God has a plan
- The closer I am to God the more I trust Him
- The more I trust Him the more thankful I am in all circumstances
Very quickly, Asaph, the author of this Psalm, teaches us that giving thanks depends on understanding the following things:
- God is near – vs. 1
- We remember the great things God has done in the past – vs. 1
- We remember the declaration of God that He will bring a just end to all things – vs. 2
- We remember the guarantee of God that He is in absolute control of all things – vs. 3
There is one huge lesson I learned from this Psalm. It is in verses 6 and 7.
For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.
Our natural tendency is to look around us for the solutions to the circumstances that grieve us. We desire to be lifted up from the pain and fear generated by our circumstances. So we begin a search for a new doctor, a new diet, a new direction, or a new deliverer. We believe that the only way to be able to give thanks is for us to resolve the problem.
But Asaph tells us the truth that we will not be lifted out of the quicksand of our circumstances by any human hand or human wisdom. We are guaranteed, however, that God will lift us up in His appointed time. In that truth lies the motivation for giving thanks. Deliverance is coming. God will accomplish it in His time. His name is near. He has done it before, and He has assured me that He is working with the same power and authority in this case as well.
We give thanks to you O God. Not for what is around us, but for the fact that you are in us and your love never fails!