Thankfulness

Day 3: I am thankful for God’s steadfast love.

This post is part of “30 days of Giving Thanks” To read more within this series, click here.

his steadfast love endures

For the past two days, I have been listing reasons why I am thankful for a particular thing, but today I’d like to do something a little different. I am thankful for God’s unfailing love, but there are such a vast array of scriptures on this attribute of God. It would take me a long time to discuss all the aspects of God’s great love. Even then, I’d surely miss something. So for this post, we are going to focus on one particular passage: Psalm 107.

What does it mean to be steadfast? It is defined as “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.”  Does that describe God’s love? Yes! His love is unwavering, unfailing, and dutifully firm.

He is faithful even when we are faithless. He is merciful when we deserve only justice.

Who knows how many millions of words we shall speak and write in our short lifetimes. What percentage of those words will be spent praising and speaking of our Lord? How often do we give thanks for His great love? It should be in my daily prayers, but often forget to thank Him for his love. I thank Him for his grace, my salvation, and the blessings of this life, but I need to remember to give thanks specifically for His unfailing, steadfast love.

Psalm 107:

Verses 1-3

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
    whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
    from the east and from the west,
    from the north and from the south.

Has the Lord redeemed you through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ? Give thanks!

Have people come to serve the Lord from all over the world? Give thanks!

(I want you to notice something as we look at Psalm 107. There are two repetitive themes or phrases: “they cried to the Lord—He delivered” and “thank the Lord for his steadfast love.”)

The Lord shows His love in the Wilderness.

Verses 4-9

Some wandered in desert wastes,
    finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
    their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
    till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Have you ever been in a “wilderness period” in your life? It could be a time when you are in a holding pattern or a time when there was no one to worship with. It’s a lonely time, but one in which we become more dependent on the Lord. We understand more fully the breadth and width and height of his great love. Give thanks for those times!

When you sought the Lord and longed for Him, did He leave you hanging? No. He satisfies us with his unfailing love (Psalm 90:14).

The Lord showed His love while we were still sinners.

Verses 10-16

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    prisoners in affliction and in irons,
for they had rebelled against the words of God,
    and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
    they fell down, with none to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
    and burst their bonds apart.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he shatters the doors of bronze
    and cuts in two the bars of iron.

So many pictures come to mind in the above verses, but I will focus on this: We were prisoners of sin and darkness. Through Christ, the bonds of sin were broken. Thank God for His Son and freedom from sin!

It also brings to my mind this song:

“My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.
My God, my Savior has ransomed me.
And like a flood, his mercy rains.
Unending love.
Amazing Grace.”

~ Chris Tomlin

Give thanks! We are set free. We have been given mercy instead of justice!

The Lord shows love through healing.

Verses 17-22

Some were fools through their sinful ways,
    and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
they loathed any kind of food,
    and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them,
    and delivered them from their destruction.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
    and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

This section brings to mind the Israelites in the wilderness. They complained to God about their plight in the wilderness and he sent fiery snakes. Many died and were near death. They asked Moses to pray to God to remove the fiery serpents, and the Lord did. How often does our greed or our complaint bring greater trouble? More often than we care to admit! And yet, God is patient with us because, like a good Father, he loves his children and remembers that we are but dust.

I also like this section: “offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!” How much time do we spend speaking and singing of all the wonderful things God has done for us in this life compared to how often we complain about all the things going wrong? I am going to try something and I hope you will join me. (If you are around me regularly, please remind me of this if I start to grumble about some inconvenience). When you get ready to complain about something, find something to be thankful for instead. Instead of grumbling complaints, let’s shout our blessings.

The Lord shows His love in the storms of life.

Verses 23-32

Some went down to the sea in ships,
    doing business on the great waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord,
    his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
    which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
    their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men
    and were at their wits’ end.[b]
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He made the storm be still,
    and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
    and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
    and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

What New Testament account does this remind you of? Read Luke 8.22-25, Mark 4.35-41 or Matthew 8.23-27. I will put Luke’s account here:

One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he [Jesus] fell asleep.

And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”

Luke 8.22-25, ESV

Is Jesus in the boat with you? Is He dwelling in your life? When the storms of life are raging about you, does He bring tranquility to your heart? Give thanks for the peace that passes understanding! I am so thankful for these accounts and these Psalms because life so much like an ocean—unpredictable and ever-changing. Sometimes there is calm and peace; other times the waves threaten to crush us. Only God has power over our lives. I can have peace knowing He is in control. I am thankful that He loves me so much and brings such reassurance.

The shows us love by providing for us.

Verses 33-43

He turns rivers into a desert,
    springs of water into thirsty ground,
a fruitful land into a salty waste,
    because of the evil of its inhabitants.
He turns a desert into pools of water,
    a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry dwell,
    and they establish a city to live in;
they sow fields and plant vineyards
    and get a fruitful yield.
By his blessing they multiply greatly,
    and he does not let their livestock diminish.

When they are diminished and brought low
    through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
he pours contempt on princes
    and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
but he raises up the needy out of affliction
    and makes their families like flocks.
The upright see it and are glad,
    and all wickedness shuts its mouth.

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
    let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Be wise with me and consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Where would we be if God did not love us? What would life be like without God? So many people think that bad things happen because God doesn’t care. They are looking at things backwards. The terrible things of this life happen for a reason. The first reason—there is evil all around us in the world. Countries full of poverty are usually destitute because of the greed of other men. Women are raped because of the lust of men. Men are killed because of the violence of humanity. What about “natural disasters?” Let me ask you this: is this world meant to be our eternal home? Natural disasters remind us of God’s great power and our powerlessness. When has a scientist ever stopped a storm? The destruction, the brokenness, the heartache remind us that this is temporary. They draw us closer to a far better country with a ruler who is always fair and just. A King, a father who loves us with an unfailing love.

Give thanks to the Lord. His steadfast love endures forever.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Day 3: I am thankful for God’s steadfast love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s