A Thanksgiving Meditation
It's early morning. The sun is just beginning to peek through the once-night sky, and its beams cause the frost on the rooftops around me to glimmer and gleam. It paints a lovely picture, for now anyway, and I find myself thankful for the peaceful quiet of the dawn.
I have a steaming cup of coffee within reach, and a kitty who threatens to be a bit mischievous pretending to sleep by my feet. The smell of pumpkin pie, freshly baked just last evening, still lingers in the air. This is a good time. This is a good day.
Not every day is like this. Some mornings are hurried, others are filled with a bit of dread at the promise of another stress-filled workday. Some are essentially benign, save for the inevitability of rain, clouds, and gloom, which bring with them their own collection of grumbles.
But today is good, and I am thankful. This gratitude emerges not simply because the rain has graciously opted to hibernate another day, and not because there is pie beckoning me from the kitchen counter. No, this gratitude exists because of one simple, magnificent truth: God is good. He is good, not because He has given me all of these things and more, though He has (James 1:17; 1 Timothy 4:4); rather, He is good because that is simply who God is.
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (Psalm 107:1)
Says Charles Spurgeon of these lines:
[H]is is no common goodness: he is good by nature, and essence, and proven to be good in all the acts of his eternity. Compared with him there is none good, no, not one: but he is essentially, perpetually, superlatively, infinitely good. We are the perpetual partakers of his goodness, and therefore ought above all his creatures to magnify his name. Our praise should be increased by the fact that the divine goodness is not a transient thing, but in the attribute of mercy abides for ever the same, for his mercy endureth for ever. The word endureth has been properly supplied by the translators, but yet it somewhat restricts the sense, which will be better seen if we read it, "for his mercy forever." That mercy had no beginning, and shall never know an end. Our sin required that goodness should display itself to us in the form of mercy, and it has done so, and will do so evermore; let us not be slack in praising the goodness which thus adapts itself to our fallen nature.
(Charles Spurgeon, Treasury of David)
The goodness of God does not wax and wane with the seasons, like the fickleness of the human heart. His goodness, and consequently His lovingkindness, or mercy, as Spurgeon references it above, is everlasting. It never runs dry. This is because it is part of His very nature. God cannot not be good, and this, dear friends, is a merciful truth that we ought never forget.
Note the two verses that follow the opening call to praise in this Psalm:
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary
And gathered from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south. (Psalm 107:2-3)
Though God is good by nature, and He is good to all of His creation (Psalm 145:9), it is those who have been redeemed who can truly offer Him heartfelt praise and thanksgiving. Says John MacArthur, "It's not just Israel's song; it's our song, for we have been redeemed by mercy and by the goodness of God, and we have every right to sing this same song."
Psalm 107 can serve as a song of the redeemed, all of the redeemed, throughout the ages. Indeed, is not our redemption the greatest reason we have to be thankful? Is not the shed blood of Jesus Christ, our Savior, the greatest gift ever bestowed upon us, especially in our wanton, undeserving state?
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. (1 John 4:7-14)
By the grace of God, and by the Holy Spirit that He so graciously granted to dwell within us, thanksgiving is an active attribute of every Christian. It ought to characterize, and even define, our lives. Of course, we still sin, and even with all the gifts given us from above, we find ourselves failing to offer Him the thanks we should. And yet our sin in this gives our King another opportunity to exercise His goodness, for if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive them (1 John 1:9).
We do not give thanks simply for His forgiveness, but for the means He has given us to oppose and overcome our sin while we fight a Romans 7 fight. But most of all, we praise and thank Him for the gift of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and we thank our precious Savior for His humility, obedience, and love, in giving Himself so that we may live.
May you have a blessed and peaceful day. Happy Thanksgiving.