Lutheran Spokesman

"…the Scriptures cannot be broken." John 10:35


“Oh,Give Thanks to the Lord…!”

Written by Mark Gullerud | November, 2013
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Post Categories Lead Story,Thanksgiving

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever! is a familiar prayer expressing our thankfulness to God for the food with which He has blessed us and reminding us to give thanks to God.

Such reminders are always in place because, quite frankly, we don’t always remember to return thanks to God. I am not just talking about thanking Him for food, but also for the countless blessings He graciously pours out upon us every day. Because of our forgetfulness and our tendency to take things for granted, we are apt to be like the nine lepers who, after being healed by Jesus, did not return to thank Him (see Luke 17:12-19). Lord, have mercy upon us for not thanking You as often as we ought!

The prayer  “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” is found in a number of psalms (see psalms 106, 107, 118, and 136). Please take your Bible and read Psalm 136. Do you notice how many times the psalmist encourages his readers to give thanks to the Lord? Why is this? Is it perhaps because we need to be repeatedly reminded to give thanks to the Lord for all His goodness towards us?

A striking feature about this psalm is the refrain at the end of each verse. The worship leader would speak the first part of the verse, and the congregation would respond with “For His mercy endures forever.”

I am not just talking about thanking Him for food,
but also for the countless blessings He graciously
pours out upon us every day.

God the Holy Spirit’s decision to repeat this refrain so often was no doubt intended to drive home to the worshipers—and to us—that all our blessings from God are due to His
undeserved lovingkindness.

The psalmist’s recounting of God’s merciful hand at work from the beginning of the world up to the time of Israel’s taking possession of the promised land helped Old Testament believers be mindful of the Lord’s great power, wisdom, love, and faithfulness in attending to their every need in both good times and trying times.

How helpful to keep in mind that God not only created the world and everything in it, but that He is ruling over all things for the benefit of mankind. Contrary to what many suppose these days, it is not a fickle “mother nature” but the Creator who is governing nature. God blesses us with favorable conditions for a bountiful harvest or He sends weather that can have a devastating effect. In both cases God in His infinite wisdom knows what is best for us, for we often need the chastening hand of God to humble us and draw us ever closer to Him.

Let us keep these things in mind as we make our way through the wilderness of this world. God is faithful in attending to all our needs of body and soul until, by His grace and mercy in Christ Jesus, we cross over into the promised land of heaven.

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever!”


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