No. 290.The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving that Opens the Door.

Colours of the Rainbow > Thanksgiving > No. 290.The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving that Opens the Door.

Before we leave Psalm 50 there is one more thought to encourage us. We mentioned yesterday that the Lord is delighted every time one of His children thanks Him for something, and how it is just so important for us not to downplay how much our thanks means to the Lord. We also recognised that thanksgiving in challenging circumstances costs us something. That’s the meaning of ‘sacrifice’, and although we usually think of saying thank you when we are given something, a ‘sacrifice’ of thanksgiving is akin to ‘paying it forward.’ It’s gratitude in advance and a sign of our faith in God’s commitment to us. It is not emotional blackmail or an attempt to make God do what we want! {i.e. If I keep thanking God enough in this situation, He’ll just have to do what I want.}

Looking at Psalm 50 verse 23 again, we read “He who sacrifices thank offerings honours me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God” (NIV). In this instance salvation is not so much about having our sins forgiven as about deliverance from difficult circumstances. Giving sacrificial thanks in a difficult situation opens the door for the Lord to come and show us His way out, or His way of moving forward. It is not about Him being a ‘helicopter Dad’, coming to extract us from difficulty without us necessarily doing anything ourselves. (Although at times He will.)

These verses remind me again of Psalm 24:7,8, ‘Lift up your heads O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of Glory may come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty in battle, the Lord mighty in battle.’ We have spoken in previous blogs about the rejoicing, praise and joy, which heralded the King’s arrival, with his retinue, at the gates of Jerusalem, and at which sound the gates were opened to welcome Him in. In the same way I believe us, throwing back our heads in laughter, praise, and thanksgiving, when we find ourselves in a difficult situation and in need of our King, ‘mighty and strong in battle’, ‘opens up’ the doors of our heart, mind and spirit, by faith, to welcome the Lord to come and fight for us, and with us, with His might and power.

As we welcome Him with our thanksgiving, His mighty and powerful presence may manifest itself in different ways, and always the choice is His. Sometimes, as with Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, He goes with us through the fire. Daniel 3:24,25. At other times, as with Paul, the prison we are in bursts open and we are free. Acts 16:22-29. Sometimes He comes giving us wisdom as He did with and through Solomon, 1 Kings 3:16-27, and at other times he gives us grace to hold our ground in the face of persecution and even death like Stephen. Acts 7:54-59. (N.B. Death can come in many forms not just physical, like the death of our reputation, or our way of doing something.)

Another way in which His presence may become manifest is that He may use that same situation to change us one more degree into the likeness of Jesus!!! “Corinthians 3:18. Sometimes God doesn’t deliver us immediately because He is working some good things into our lives through that situation. James 1:2-4 would encourage us that giving thanks, like ‘considering it pure joy’, would help us not to fight the Lord over His dealings with us, but to cooperate with Him and the change that He wants to bring in us, before the situation itself changes.

Returning to verse 23 of Psalm 50, when we are in need of a deliverance let us make our sacrifice of thanks, and thereby open the doors for the Lord ‘strong and mighty’ to come in and show us how that deliverance is going to look. This can happen for us as individuals, and it is also true for us as communities. When Israel were in trouble, and the armies of Moab, and Ammon were circling, it was the time when they sent the singers out before the army. The song that they sang was nothing too complicated. It was simply ‘Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His love endures for ever’. 2 Chronicles 20:20-23. And God moved powerfully on their behalf.

So indeed the sacrifice of thanks and praise is, far from being a manipulative thing, in fact an act of great faith and surrender, and hence something that brings great delight to the Lord. It is saying to the Lord, “We love you, we believe that you love us and are with us, and we are welcoming you in to deal with this situation, in whatever way you choose, and we give you thanks now because you are faithful and you are good”.


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