Be Thankful Unto Him

Title: Be Thankful Unto Him

Bible Book: Psalms 100 : 4-5

Author: Paul E. Brown

Subject: Thanksgiving


Rudyard Kipling, who died in 1936, was at one time England's most popular writer. At the height of his career the news got out that his publishers paid him a dollar per word for his work. By today's standards that doesn't seem like much, but apparently it was big money for a writer in those days. Some Cambridge students, hearing that news, cabled him a dollar along with this request: "Please send us one of your very best words." Kipling replied with a one-word telegram: "Thanks."

"Thanks" was not only one of Kipling's very best words, it is one of the best words that any of us can use. Indeed, the Bible makes it clear that God intends for us to use that word often - not only in our dealings with our fellow men, but also in our dealings with him. But he wants us to do more than merely use the word - he wants us truly to be thankful, and to demonstrate our gratitude through our daily living. Look at the emphasis in Psalm 100:4-5,

"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."

There are many reasons that we should thank God. Let's look at the three reasons given in verse 5 of this Psalm.


The verse begins with the statement, "FOR THE LORD IS GOOD."

All that God has created for man's enjoyment and sustenance is evidence of his goodness. Genesis 1:31 says, "And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." Yes, man fouled everything up by sinning against God, but that doesn't alter the fact that God's provisions were, and are, good.
In Acts 14 we read of Paul and Barnabas preaching in Lystra. The people of that city worshipped a whole array of false gods, and knew nothing of the true God. In explaining to them what the true, living God is like, Paul declared in Acts 14:17, "Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."

Recently Connie and I were in awe as we looked at one of the most beautiful sunsets we had ever beheld - and we were reminded afresh of how good God is to provide all of the beauty that surrounds us.

We thank Thee for the morning light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

All you and I have that is worth having is from God. Recently I heard a fellow preacher, David West, give his testimony. What he said was brief and to the point, but covered it all. He said, "Where I came from, he brought me; what I know, he taught me; what I have, he gave me; what I am, he made me; where I'm going, he's going to take me."

The supreme evidence of God's goodness is his provision for man's salvation. We're all sinners, and in our natural state bound for eternal hell, but God has offered to rescue us from our lostness. We read in Luke 2:10 of how, on the night that Jesus was born, the angel said to the shepherds, "...behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." In Revelation 22:17 is this great invitation, "...let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

God's goodness is evidenced by the fact that he is always there to help us when times are rough. Nahum 1:7 says, "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him."

When we're going through the valley, if we'll call on him he will not only sustain us, but he will also salvage something worthwhile from the wreckage. One of the grandest promises in all of the Bible is Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." So, when your heart is breaking, when everything seems to be going wrong, and you can't understand why - remember that if you'll "keep on keeping on" and cling to him in faith, God will miraculously bring good even out of a bad situation. The poet, who had been crushed by the reverses of life and couldn't make any sense of it, managed to keep his sanity by focusing on one blessed reality. He wrote,

Yet, in the maddening maze of things,
And tossed by storm and flood,
To one fixed trust my spirit clings;
I know that God is good.

Lamentations 3:25 says, "The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him."

We need to recognize his goodness by counting our blessings and not just our liabilities.

Robert E. Bruce tells of walking down a busy street one day and hearing someone singing. It was a male voice, and the singing sounded joyful. Even above the noise of the traffic he could hear it, and he began looking for the source. When he located him, he saw that the man had no legs and was pushing himself along in a wheelchair. Robert Bruce caught up with him and said to him, "I want you to know, friend, that to hear singing from a person in your condition gives everyone else a lift." With a grateful smile, the man said, "When I stopped looking at what I had lost and began concentrating on all I had left, I found much for which I could rejoice and praise God for."

Sometimes folks misread God's goodness. They assume that being the recipients of his goodness automatically means that they are in good shape spiritually. But not necessarily so. Romans 2:4 says, "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" Sometimes God showers people with goodness because they are not right with him, and he is seeking to draw them unto himself. Lost people should respond to God's goodness by turning from their sins and receiving Christ as Lord and Savior - and erring Christians should respond to his goodness by getting back in line with his will. One man gave this testimony,

I know that blessings undeserved
Have marked my erring track;
That often when my feet have swerved,
His goodness brought me back.

So, the Psalmist said that we should praise God, and be thankful to him, and bless his name, for "the Lord is good...." When you think about all he has provided, including forgiveness and newness of life through Christ - when you think about how he promises to see us through even life's most trying times - you can understand why the late Jerry Clower wrote a book entitled "Ain't God Good!"


We also should be thankful to God because, as verse 5 says, "HIS MERCY IS EVERLASTING."

Throughout the Scriptures we are reminded of God's mercy. In 2 Samuel 24:14 David declared that "his mercies are great." Luke 1:50 says, "And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation." Psalm 103:11 says, "For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him."

The Hebrew word for "mercy" in this Psalm means, literally, "loving kindness." The World Book Dictionary is right on target when it defines "mercy" as "more kindness than justice requires; kindness beyond what can be claimed or expected." As a synonym for "mercy" the dictionary lists "clemency," and states that clemency is that kindness "shown by someone with the right or duty to be severe."

Mercy is one of God's outstanding characteristics. Psalm 119:64 declares, "The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy...." 2 Corinthians 1:3 speaks of him as "the Father of mercies." Mercy is kindness extended to those who don't deserve it - and that's us - that's all of us.

The greatest expression of God's mercy, as well as the greatest expression of his goodness, is the sending of his Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins, that we, through repentance and faith, might be saved - and it's only through his mercy that anyone can be saved. Over and over the Bible emphasizes that truth. In Luke 18:11-14 Jesus told the story of a Pharisee and a publican who went into the temple to pray,

"The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

But it's important to realize that there is a limit to how long God will keep on offering his mercy to those who turn a deaf ear to him. In Psalm 103:8 we read, "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy." But then in verse 9 the inspired writer sounds this warning, "He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger forever."

The poet might have had that sobering verse of Scripture in mind when he wrote,

There is a line by us unseen,
That crosses every path,
The hidden boundary between
God's patience and his wrath.

Not only is it by God's mercy that we are saved, it is also by his mercy that we are able to resist temptation. When we walk with the Lord daily, stay in his Word, and call on him, he will graciously enable us to resist the devil and have victory. Psalm 94:18, "When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up."

Also, it is by God's mercy, as well as by his goodness, that we are able to make it through life's most difficult times. The author of Psalm 59:16 declared, "But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble." In Lamentations 3:21-23 the inspired writer said, "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."

Here's the way Hebrews 4:15-16 says it, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

The inspired author of Psalm 23:6 said, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."


Psalm 100:5 also mentions a third reason why we should be thankful to God, "HIS TRUTH ENDURETH TO ALL GENERATIONS."

Psalm 31:5 describes God as the "God of truth." The author of Psalm 86:15 said, "But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth."

How does God reveal his truth to man? In John 17:17 Jesus, speaking to his heavenly Father, said, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

John Greenleaf Whittier wrote,

We search the world for truth;
And, weary seekers of the best,
We come back laden from the quest,
To find that all the sages said
Is in the Book our mothers read.

I'm so thankful that we don't have to drift on the sea of "maybe so" or "hope so" when it comes to the monumental issues of life, death, and eternity. I'm thankful that God has revealed the truth to us in the one and only inerrant, infallible book in the world, the Bible.

The purpose of the Bible is to introduce people to God's supreme revelation of himself in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, who was and is the very embodiment of truth. The Bible is the written Word, and Jesus was, and is, the living Word. To put it differently, the Bible is God's written truth, and Jesus is God's living truth. In John 1:14 and 17 we read, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth....For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

Jesus said, in John 8:32, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." He went on, then, in John 14:6, to say, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." If you want to know the real truth about how to get to heaven, and how to live this present life at its highest and best, turn to Jesus.

Years ago I read about a horrible train wreck. For some reason, the train had been traveling at high speed on a faulty track that was being repaired and was supposed to be off limits - so when the train reached that point at high speed, it jumped the track. What had been a sleek passenger train was now a mass of twisted, burning steel. Ambulances and fire trucks descended on the scene. Many passengers were killed , and others were still alive but trapped in the wreckage. As the injured cried out for help, every able-bodied person present worked feverishly trying to get those wounded passengers to safety. They found the engineer still conscious, but dying. He was bleeding profusely, and he was holding a yellow sheet of paper tightly in his hand. As the rescue workers bent over him, he held up that crumpled yellow piece of paper and gasped, "Somebody gave me the wrong orders."

A lot of well meaning folks in today's world have gotten hold of the "wrong orders," and are headed for eternal destruction if a change isn't made before it's too late. The "right orders" for having your sins forgiven and being reconciled to God and preparing for eternity are found in the pages of this blessed book. the Bible. I challenge you to discard any other "orders" and follow the directions set forth in the Word of God by turning to Jesus. Acts 4:12 says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

So, the author of Psalm 100:5 tells us that we should thank God for his goodness, his mercy, and his truth - and all three of those blessed realities are embodied in Jesus. If you've never repented of your sins and by faith received him as your personal Lord and Savior, I encourage you to do so now. Once you receive him, you'll not only have the assurance of heaven when you die, but also newness of life in the here and now - and then you can exclaim as Paul did in 2 Corinthians 9:15, "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."
With Christ, then, in the central place in your life, you'll find gratitude for all of life's blessings welling up within your heart. S. M. Lockridge said, "When I found Jesus, I moved off of Complaint Avenue, and I'm now living on Thanksgiving Boulevard."


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