By Lynn Jones
A man told a friend, “I guess my singing is worse that I thought. When I opened my hymnal last Sunday, someone had stapled the pages together!”
For many of us, it may seem like someone has stapled shut the hymnal. We let long periods of time pass before we offer to God a song of thanksgiving.
So, I would like to commend to you Psalm 118, a song of thanksgiving that was first offered to God over 3,000 years ago. We should pay close attention to any song of thanksgiving that has been used for so long.
This psalm reminds us we should be thankful for God’s unchanging love. The psalm opens and closes with this reminder–“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (vv. 1-4, 29). What a wonderful thing to celebrate–God’s unchanging love!
We live in a changing world. Many of the changes are sudden and unsettling. Do they ever make you feel insecure? In contrast to these constant changes, here is something that will never change. God loves you! His love endures forever!
We all face crises in our lives that threaten to overwhelm us. The psalmist faced such a crisis in his own life. In the middle of this crisis, however, he made a wonderful discovery. He said he discovered that, “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid” (v. 6).
It would be nice to have a bodyguard, wouldn’t it? This bodyguard would be some big guy who walked around with us all the time. Think of all the prestige and protection that would bring! We may never have such a bodyguard, but we have something better. God walks with us. Because of that, we can join the psalmist in singing, “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid!”
We need to join in the song with a verse of thanksgiving for the gift of life. Verse 24 is one of the most treasured verses in the Book of Psalms. In it, the psalmist declares, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Our tendency is to face the day with complaints about all that is wrong or to think of some wonderful day in the future when we will be happy and can offer thanksgiving. We need to counter this tendency by reminding ourselves that, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
A grandfather taught his grandson the Doxology, and they often sang it together. On the little boy’s first day in Big Church, the choir began by singing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!” As they sang, the little boy tugged on his grandfather’s sleeve and said, “Poppa, Poppa! They’re singing our song!” The song of thanksgiving should be our song as well!
Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.