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FIVE THANKSGIVING COMMANDS

  • Command #1 is in vs. 1, “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.”

It means to “shout with the force of a trumpet blast,” a shout of joy to the Lord that comes from the very depths of your being.

Maybe He solved your problem. Maybe He has given you the direction to go. Maybe He has provided a blessing, & you realize that it has come from God. So from the depths of your being you proclaim your praise.

ILL. Roland Allen tells about a veteran missionary who came up to him one day after he had delivered his sermon. The missionary introduced himself & said, “I was a medical missionary for many years in India. And I served in a region where there was progressive blindness. People were born with healthy vision, but there was something in that area that caused people to lose their sight as they matured.”

But this missionary had developed a process which would arrest progressive blindness. So people came to him & he performed his operation, & they would leave realizing that they would have become blind, but now they were going to be able to see for the rest of their lives.

He said that they never said, “Thank you,” because that phrase was not in their dialect. Instead, they spoke a word that meant, “I will tell your name.” Wherever they went, they would tell the name of the missionary who had cured their blindness. They had received something so wonderful that they eagerly proclaimed it.

And that is what the Psalmist is saying. “Suddenly you realize that God has been so good to you that you can’t keep it inside any more. From the depths of your being you shout your joy unto the Lord.”

  • Command #2 is, “Serve the Lord with gladness.”

It doesn’t say “serve the church.” It doesn’t say “serve the preacher, or serve the leaders, or serve the organization.” It says, “serve the Lord.”

The Bible teaches that if we witness on behalf of the Lord, if we feed the hungry, if we clothe the naked, if we do the work of the Lord, whatever it might be, we are serving the Lord.

Jesus said, “Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.”

I’m not sure that we grasp that. Maybe we serve at times out of a feeling of obligation or a fear of guilt if we don’t serve, or maybe even because we want to draw attention to ourselves. It’s natural for us to desire appreciation when we do something that is worthwhile. But the Psalmist says, “In whatever you do, serve the Lord with gladness.”

  • Command #3 is, “Come before his presence with singing.”

Have you noticed? In these first 3 commands, God has said, “I want you to be happy. Shout with joy, serve with gladness, & come with joyful songs.”

ILL. Now just take a moment & look at the people around you. Do they look happy? Or are they just sitting there with scowls on their faces?

The Psalmist says, “Come before Him & serve Him & sing His praise with joy in your heart.”

  • Command #4 is, ” Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”
  • God took every bone, every joint, & He welded them together with sinews & muscles & covered them with skin & gave us eyes that see, brains that think, & fingers that can pick things up. God made us, inside & out. He made you the way He wanted you to be. And He made me the way He wanted me to be.

ILL. That is a mystery, isn’t it? I don’t understand why, but somehow in God’s providence He decided that He wanted a medium sized man, not too good looking, not outstanding in anything, but just a normal or not so normal person. So He made me. Someplace along the way He had you in mind, & He made you.

And He is still making us. He’s not satisfied with the unfinished product. He’s not satisfied with your temper. He’s not satisfied with the weak areas of your life where you are giving in to temptation. So He’s still making us. He’s still working on our lives.

  • Then He says, “We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” Most of us want to be shepherds, not sheep. “It’s not any fun being sheep,” we say. But the problem is, we don’t know where the still waters & green pastures are.

And every time we go out searching for them, we invariably end up in the far country.

He is saying, “You be the sheep. Let me be the shepherd, & I will lead you beside the still waters & the green pastures.

Just let me lead.”

  • Command #5 is this, ” Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

In the O.T. the temple symbolized the presence of God. So whenever the people came to the temple & entered the courtyards they knew that they had come into the presence of God.

Now that temple no longer exists. But oftentimes the place where we meet to worship God is called a “sanctuary,” indicating that God is there. But God is everywhere. You know that. He is with you as you drive on the highway. He is with you when you work. He is with you as you care for your children. He is with you every moment of your life.

That is the source of our thanksgiving, isn’t it? But I’m worried. What if God began to treat us like we so often treat Him? What if God met our needs to the same extent that we give Him our lives?

What if we never saw another flower bloom because we grumbled when God sent the rain? What if God stopped loving & caring for us because we failed to love & care for others? What if God took away His message because we wouldn’t listen to His messenger?

What if He wouldn’t bless us today because we didn’t thank Him yesterday? What if God answered our prayers the way we answer His call for service? What if God decided to stop leading us tomorrow because we did not follow Him today?

“He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” [Psalm 103:10].

CONCLUSION: I pray that this will be a meaningfulThanksgiving week for you & all your family. Take time to read the 100th Psalm again. And if you’ll listen to those commands, your heart will overflow with thanksgiving to the Lord.

YOU KNOW YOU’VE OVER-DONE THANKSGIVING IF:

  • Paramedics bring in the Jaws of Life to pry you out of the oversize Lazy-Boy
  • Your after dinner moans are loud enough to signal Dr. Kevorkian
  • The potatoes you ate set off another famine in Ireland
  • You get grass stains on your bottom after a walk, but you never sat down
  • Pricking your finger for a cholesterol screening only yielded gravy
  • That rash on your stomach turns out to be steering wheel burn
  • Your arms are too short to reach the keyboard & delete this note.

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