Give thanks to the LORD! Call on his name! Make known his accomplishments among the nations! 2 Sing to him! Make music to him! Tell about all his miraculous deeds! 3 Boast about his holy name! Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! 4 Seek the LORD and the strength he gives! Seek his presence continually! 5 Recall the miraculous deeds he performed, his mighty acts and the judgments he decreed.”
Psalm 106:1, 7, 12,13, 20-25, 29, 35-45
Praise the LORD! Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, and his loyal love endures! 7 Our ancestors in Egypt failed to appreciate your miraculous deeds, they failed to remember your many acts of loyal love, and they rebelled at the sea, by the Red Sea. 12 They believed his promises; they sang praises to him. 13 They quickly forgot what he had done; they did not wait for his instructions. 20 They traded their majestic God for the image of an ox that eats grass. 21 They rejected the God who delivered them, the one who performed great deeds in Egypt, 22 amazing feats in the land of Ham, mighty acts by the Red Sea. 23 He threatened to destroy them, but Moses, his chosen one, interceded with him and turned back his destructive anger. 24 They rejected the fruitful land; they did not believe his promise. 25 They grumbled in their tents; they did not obey the Lord. 28 They worshiped Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead. 29 They made the Lord angry by their actions, and a plague broke out among them. 35 They mixed in with the nations and learned their ways. 36 They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. 37 They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons. 38 They shed innocent blood – the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan. The land was polluted by bloodshed. 39 They were defiled by their deeds, and unfaithful in their actions. 40 So the Lord was angry with his people and despised the people who belong to him. 41 He handed them over to the nations, and those who hated them ruled over them. 42 Their enemies oppressed them; they were subject to their authority. 43 Many times he delivered them, but they had a rebellious attitude, and degraded themselves by their sin. 44 Yet he took notice of their distress, when he heard their cry for help. 45 He remembered his covenant with them, and relented because of his great loyal love.
The saga of the broken down cars began to ebb away on nerves yesterday. I confess I had a pity party. Alright, I grumbled. We are all entitled to a little grumbling every now and then, right? Hmmm . . . maybe not. I was praising Him in the storm on Monday and ready for the trial to be over by Tuesday. Patient, aren’t I? This morning I was so thankful for a correction in my attitude from a loving God. His Word is just as effective and able to speak to us from a message spoken thousands of years ago to some other grumbling spirits . . .
The sea was parted for them to cross and God defended them like no other, but they were bummed over the food God provided. While I have judged them in the past, the same whining and ingratitude can flow in my veins, IF I let it.
We were made to praise God. Our hearts need to praise the living God, the One Who is far greater than ourselves. We need to thank Him, sing to Him, boast about Him, seek Him and remember all that He has done for us. This thankfulness expressed to God changes us. But what if we don’t? What if we choose to complain about what God has allowed in? This passage truly is a sobering one and injects the fear of God in me. When we do not praise God, we are not doing what we were created to do, but the consequences of ceasing to thank God at all times are devastating, as well.
The destruction of a people began because they failed to appreciate what God had done. That simple. They also forgot God – the One who made them. They chose to focus on what they felt were unfair circumstances and replaced the glory of God for complaints about things that don’t matter in all of eternity. Ultimately, they forgot how important it was to be a grateful people. How do we fail to appreciate God?
Thinking we deserve more than what He has allotted to us is perhaps one of the chief causes. I remember being caught off guard by a brother who, when I asked him how he was doing, he said to me “better than I deserve”. I recognized in that moment the humility and grace to be able to say such a statement. Could I say that with the same sincerity?
It is easy to be religious and say the typical statements associated with ascribing glory to God, but God knows our hearts. The words fall flat when my being is not completely about bringing Him glory but is distracted, instead by bitterness, unforgiveness or irritation over our discomfort.
The root sin long ago and today is the same – a lack of thankfulness and not purposing in our hearts to be faithful to acknowledge the God Who gave us everything. Like Jonah, who grumbled when God took away the vine He had previously provided, we must hold all that He gives us loosely and be thankful for all he has given and done for us, even when He chooses to remove the blessings He has provided, too.
God help us to see our need of Him. How quickly our spirits can go from worshiping Him to making our worship a thing of mere duty. Slowly time with Him can be crowded out and before you know it, gratitude is replaced with a distrust in God, if we are not careful.
The enemy is ready to take us down the lane of ingratitude. He knows the ending result – our demise. But we do have a choice, as powerful as emotions can be. To be thankful even when the chips are down, to love even when someone has hurt us and to forgive as we have been forgiven. These actions are catalysts for sincere worship and gratitude to our God, Who is so very worthy of our praise!
Lord, we take so much for granted. Please forgive us for the many times we have chosen grumbling over gratitude. Spur us on to worship You in all circumstances.