Reading Psalm 105 recently I felt it had something important to say to us about thanksgiving as we move on into the new year of 2022, and come near to the end of our 365 days of looking at the power of thanksgiving. It had to do with the value of keeping a journal, and how that could be good for all of us, not just the natural writers and journal keepers.
Psalm 105 starts as you would expect from one of our blogs “Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name” (verse 1). Let us see this not a call to some sort of religious duty, but as an invitation to a conversation within a relationship. This is really important in all our consideration of thanksgiving over the year. It is not seeing it as some magic key, but as a really important foundational part of our living, dynamic, ongoing, growing relationship with our Lord. Of course, like all of God’s truths, it is also true that gratitude and thanksgiving will do every human being good, whether they have saving faith or not. God knows how human beings tick and what is good for them. Thanksgiving is one of those things that, just like having a Sabbath day, does everyone good, atheists included.
Back to Psalm 105! Verses 1 to 4 expand how thanksgiving and praise are part of a conversation and relationship with our Lord which includes seeking Him, looking to Him and His strength daily, as well as talking about Him and what He has done, to others. But it often starts with thanksgiving as this Psalm does.
But how does the Psalm continue? Verse 5 “Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles and the judgements He has pronounced….” And then the next 40 verses detail lots of the things God had done for them and His ways with them. It’s like a journal of all God’s goodness, faithfulness and working, in and around their lives, over many years.
In a previous blog we have shared how God and the bible make clear that we are prone to forget (and that leads to trouble). We noted that remembering and not forgetting is so important to our faith and ongoing walk with the Lord. I would like to suggest that Psalm 105 points us to the thought that keeping a journal of all that God is doing and speaking to me, all that has come alive to me as I have read the bible, and all He has done and said last week, last month and last year will greatly aid my ongoing journey of thanksgiving and faith through 2022.
I also believe that an important key to my journaling, thanksgiving and flourishing faith is found in Zechariah 4:10. The context is important. The temple has been destroyed, Jerusalem plundered, there has been 70 years of exile and now they are back starting to rebuild the temple. The foundation has been laid. It’s a small start, nothing like the glory of Solomon’s temple. God’s word is “For who has despised the day of small things” And note also the preceding context of this ‘day of small things’: it’s about the Holy Spirit “’not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit”, says the Lord Almighty” (verse 6), and about grace: ‘He will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it,”’ (verse 7)
You and I may read about Wesley’s revival, Azuza Street, the book of Acts, what is happening in church X or with sister Y, and then feel that we have very little to shout about. I think that they felt like that in Zechariah’s day (read his contemporary – Haggai 3:2). In fact some of them wept (Ezra 4:12). Let us take on board God’s word through Zechariah. Do not despise the day of small things, fill your journal with “small” blessings for which to praise and thank God; ‘I found a parking space today’, ‘I had a lovely lunch’, ‘I saw my neighbour and had a friendly chat’, ’God showed me wonderful encouragement in the Psalms this morning’. I am sorry for an unpleasant illustration, but machine guns are powerful and effective because they fire lots and lots of small bullets, small things, not one big boom. Lots and lots of little thanksgivings day by day are likely to lead to an explosion of grace, an increasingly passionate love for our wonderful Lord Jesus, deeper rest in our Father’s love and growing confidence in the Holy Spirit in us.
Finally I think that the Lord Jesus’ words encourage us in this: “He (or She) who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful in much….” Luke 16:10. Let us stop saying ‘all I have is small’ and discounting ourselves and our experience of the Lord. And let’s get writing all those “small” and “little” things in our journal with thankfulness. This will greatly facilitate our ongoing growth in the Lord, and help us to keep remembering and not forgetting, as I think Psalm 105 suggests.