Get Your Thanks On

A post-Thanksgiving psalm: 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 humdrum lives and gathered in from faraway towns. Some traveled on the highways, lost and ready for pumpkin pie; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He gave them the right directions. He led them by the straight way till they reached the lights of home. Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to us all! For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things.

As the good things you’ve been filled with settle into their places, I hope you heave a long, life-filled sigh of gratitude. Your holiday may not have been filled with bad directions or hungry stomachs on the road; that’s okay. The beauty of Scripture is its adaptability (which, when paired with its original intent, is absolutely stunning). Your Thanksgiving psalm may run more along the lines of “The Lord has redeemed me from embarrassing family stories that take away my dignity and purpose” or “The Lord has redeemed me from yet another angsty political battle over turkey” or “The Lord has finally redeemed me from the kids’ table.” We each have a seasonal song, and God loves to hear them all.

Psalm 107 can be savored in a variety of ways. So far we’ve used a redemptive lens, a systematic lens, and a contemplative lens. The chance for it to sink down into our bones, though, comes through an experiential lens. (This is also the most active, so if your food coma requires some energy to kick in, you’re in luck. Something else to give thanks to the Lord for.)

Reading the Word experientially is simply asking, “How does this text touch my life? What does God want me to do?”

In a broad and personal sense, this text touches my life through emotions—I can be enthusiastic about my praise to the only One who deserves it. I’m called to be a Peter Pan, crowing about victory over the enemy. But the name I cry isn’t to be my own. I’m meant to revel in the Lord and in His power.

Our church uses an acronym to help process potential action steps we can look for as we read Scripture: SPACEPETS.

Is there a Sin (to confess)? Promise (to claim)? Attitude (to change)? Command (to obey)? Example (to follow)? Prayer (to pray)? Error (to avoid)? Truth (to believe)? Something (to praise God for)?

Let’s dig in to Psalm 107 together. Go ahead and pull out your Bible. I’ll wait.

The sins listed are pridefully trying to do life apart from God, rebellion against His words, foolishness, spurning His counsel, and generally “sinful ways.” A huge, repeated promise is that God’s love endures forever. Attitudes to change include pride and foolishness, ingratitude and orphan thinking. This text gives quite a few commands: give thanks to the Lord; let the redeemed say so; offer sacrifices of thanksgiving; tell of His deeds in songs of joy; extol Him in the congregation of the people; praise Him in the assembly of the elders; attend to these things; consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Examples to follow: those crying out to God when they’re lonely, trapped, hungry, lost, or hopeless. Lots of thanksgiving prayers are assumed, as well as pleas for God’s rescue. Errors kind of go back to the sins to confess and attitudes to avoid. But the amount of truth here is crazy: the Lord is just and able, kind-hearted and quick to act on our behalf. His love really does endure forever. Finally, we can praise God for redeeming us from trouble (and ourselves); for gathering us in; for delivering us from our distress; for leading and satisfying us with good things; for bringing us out of darkness and the shadow of death, bursting our bonds apart; for setting us free from bondage; for healing us; for His mighty power; and for blessing and protecting us.

Which of these really grabs your attention? How can you internalize it and then let it work its way out into your everyday life?

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