Going Deeper 7-24-19

The Psalm for Pentecost 7...
Psalm 138    I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods, I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything.  On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul. All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth.  They shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord.  For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away.  Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me.  The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

For most of us, the training was fairly simple.  When we were children, whenever someone gave something to us or did something for us a parent would remind us: "What do you say?"  And in such a manner we learned to say "thank you."

Psalm 138 is one of several "Psalms of Thanksgiving" from our Scriptures.  When God gives something to us or does something for us, what do we say?  "Thank you!"  In this Psalm, attributed to David, the gratitude expressed is in response to deliverance from enemies.

Most of us, somewhere along the line, learned another important thing from our parents and from experience: words can be cheap.  People often say things they don't really mean, and we learn to judge the sincerity of words by the actions which follow... or fail to follow.  It is easy to say thank you, but if our actions do not demonstrate our gratitude our words ring shallow.  As someone once quipped, "Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."

In our lives as children of God learning to say "Thank you!" is absolutely fundamental.  When we understand that "Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights..." (James 1:17), we see how our whole lives ought to be lived out as expressions of gratitude.  It is good and necessary to express our gratitude in songs and psalms and prayers of thanksgiving, but we need to also demonstrate our gratitude by seeking to live more and more fully in accord with God's good and perfect will.

Like David, God has also delivered us from our foes... those most dangerous enemies we know as sin, death, and the devil.  The cost of that deliverance was astounding.  We also believe that God can bring good out of all things, which gives us even more reason to be grateful.  Remembering God's goodness and grace is what stirs gratitude within us, and in both word and deed, we can demonstrate just how thankful we are.

With You in His Grace,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."