Psalm 118:29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures for ever.
In Psalm 116, the Psalmist reflected on the goodness of the LORD, and realised there was nothing at all he could do to repay him for all the countless ways in which he had blessed him. He poses the rhetorical question “How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?” (verse 12), and then suggests an interesting answer: “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.” (verse 13). He was really acknowledging that all he could offer was ‘Thanks’ – after all, ‘the cup of salvation’ was all God’s work, from beginning to end, and is only available for our benefit by HIS GRACE alone. It would be a thousand years before it would become clear what this ‘cup of salvation’ meant and involved: it would be the cup of God’s wrath that Jesus would drink for us by giving his life as an atoning sacrifice for our sin on a cruel cross. The psalmist might not have known the details, but he DID know that it would involve the gracious outpouring of God’s love for sinners.
It is in this light that Psalm 118, after extolling God for his great love, finishes with the words: “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures for ever.” There is nothing else we can GIVE to our God, our Saviour, but heartfelt THANKS. Do you still give thanks to God at meal time? If so, why not take the opportunity to express your gratitude to God for all the blessings he showers upon you and your family, and perhaps even for the many blessings you’re not even aware of yet, but will come to appreciate in hindsight some time in the future!
Remember the Gospel account of the time when Jesus healed ten men of their leprosy? They weren’t healed on the spot, but Jesus sent them away to show themselves to the priests, which is what they would be required to do according to the Mosaic Law before they could be accepted back into the community. They set out in faith, and while they were on their way they were fully healed. Luke then tells us, “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and THANKED him – and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no-one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well’” (Luke 17:11-19).
What lesson does God want us to learn from this account by including it in his Word? Is he showing that even though we might receive physical healing of disease, the real, deep spiritual healing from sin of the soul only comes to those who have a humble, thankful heart? Is there some significance in the fact that the only one who thought to give thanks was the Samaritan – i.e. the one who was most aware of his basic problem of separation from God? I like the way all this is expressed in Matthias Claudius’ old hymn (We plough the fields and scatter): “We thank thee, then, O Father, for all things bright and good: the seedtime and the harvest, our life, our health, our food. Accept the gifts we offer for all thy love imparts, and what thou most desirest: our humble thankful hearts.”
– Bruce Christian