I Will Exalt The Lord

Title: I Will Exalt The Lord

Bible Book: Isaiah 25 : 6-9

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Thanksgiving; Praise; Thanksgiving Day



Our favorite attitude ought to be gratitude, but often that is not the case. Jesus once healed ten lepers but only one returned to give Him thanks, and Jesus asked, "Where are the nine?" Ninety percent of those blessed by the Savior gave no thanks for their healing.

A radio program once existed called, “Job Center of the Air.” The host said that more than 2,500 people had gotten jobs through the broadcast during the years the Job Center of the Air had been broadcasting. Then he noted that only ten people had bothered to write a thank you note for the help they had received through the program.

Have you ever noticed that from the earliest age of a child, when someone gives the child a coin or a piece of candy, it is necessary for the parent to remind the child to say, “Thank you.” Why must a parent do that? Simply put, it is in our nature to take what is before us without remembering the hand or heart from which is was given.

I read some years ago the story of a retired school teacher in her eighties who was overjoyed to get a letter from a former student thanking her for her role in his life. She immediately responded to the letter writing, "I cannot tell you how much your letter meant to me. You will be interested to know that I taught school for fifty years and yours is the first note of appreciation I have ever received."

It is a fact that we live in an unthoughtful, unthankful world. Much of what we see around us is the result of cold and uncaring hearts.

In Greenville County, South Carolina a Mr. Jones died. A couple of weeks later the following letter was received at his old address:

"Dear Mr. Jones,

We are sorry to inform you that due to receiving notification that you are dead, your Food Stamps will cease as of September 19. You may re-apply for benefits if there is a change in your status.

God bless you.”

I don’t think Mr. Jones ever re-applied for the benefits, and the letter shows the lack of personal concern for people, but at least it offered a chance for a new application.

We must not let the calloused and detached nature of our generation rob us of a much needed gratitude-attitude. One person wrote, "Thankfulness to God is only needed as frequently as our heart beats." Indeed, every heartbeat is a gift from God.

We need the spirit of the little boy in school who was asked if there was something for which he was thankful. He replied that he was most thankful for his glasses. When asked why he was thankful for his glasses, he replied, "They keep the boys from hitting me and the girls from kissing me!" I expect as you got older his attitude and gratitude changed slightly!

Our national holiday called Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This day commemorates the harvest which God gave to the Plymouth Colony after that first terrible winter in America. For many years, Thanksgiving was only observed by certain states and particular areas of the country, but a woman named Sarah Hale was determined to make the holiday a nationwide celebration of God's blessings upon the nation. Year after year she flooded the newspapers with articles and letters to the editor. She wrote to Presidents Fillmore, Pierce and Buchanan pleading for them to set aside a day of Thanksgiving annually in America. In 1863, her entreaties did not go unnoticed. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November of each year as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God. Lincoln lived to celebrate two such holidays before he was gunned down at Ford's theater. Ms. Hale lived into her nineties and celebrated many Thanksgiving Days with her family and friends. Thank God she is not around today trying to get such a day established. Can you imagine the outcry from the A.C.L.U. and other liberal factions within our society if our current president tried to establish a religious holiday for all of America?

Maybe you heard about the little boy who was warned not to use religious words in his presentation at school, but was directed to give a report on the founding of America. The little fellow stood up and read from a 3 X 5 index card:

“The Pilgrims came here seeking freedom of you know what; they landed at Plymouth Rock and gave thanks to you know who and because of them, we can worship each Sunday, you know where!”

Today I want you to look with me at Isaiah 25:1; 6-9:

Verse 1:

“O LORD, You are my God.

I will exalt You,

I will praise Your name,

For You have done wonderful things;

Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.”

Verses 6-9:

“And in this mountain

The LORD of hosts will make for all people

A feast of choice pieces,

A feast of wines on the lees,

Of fat things full of marrow,

Of well-refined wines on the lees.

7 And He will destroy on this mountain

The surface of the covering cast over all people,

And the veil that is spread over all nations.

8 He will swallow up death forever,

And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces;

The rebuke of His people

He will take away from all the earth;

For the LORD has spoken.

9 And it will be said in that day:

“Behold, this is our God;

We have waited for Him, and He will save us.

This is the LORD;

We have waited for Him;

We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” (NKJV)

Though this passage is not about thankfulness for daily, earthly blessings, it does present to us three great tenets for true thankfulness.

I. True Thankfulness involves a Personal Relationship

In Spiritual terms, you cannot be thankful to a God whom you do not know. Imagine an atheist who wakes up one morning grateful to be alive but doesn't know who to thank. Isaiah said, "O Lord, you are ‘my’ God." Isaiah had a personal relationship with God.

David used this same idiom. He wrote, "The Lord is ‘my’ Shepherd." Thomas said, "My Lord and ‘my’ God." Paul penned, "’My’ God shall supply all your needs."

In every case, we note that the writer spoke of God as ‘my’ God, ‘my’ Savior, or ‘my’ Shepherd. There is a personal relationship between the person and the God He is speaking to or about.

A. Thankfulness is Personal but not Private

Someone may say, "Well, I am thankful but I don't like to make it public; it is a private matter." Bible gratitude is open gratitude. Thankfulness that does not break out in a display is lacking something. A truly thankful person cannot hide it!

In this passage, the word "exalt" is written in a Hebrew form which is called intensive. For example, if you wrote a sentence regarding the word jump, you might say, "The man jumped at the news of a promotion at his job." But if you wrote this in the intensive form, you would write, "The man leaped for joy, hopped and skipped gladly, when he heard the news of his job promotion." Isaiah said, "I will exalt, openly, gladly, and with great excitement, I will praise my God!" Christian thankfulness is personal but it is not private.

B. Thankfulness is Worship but involves Will

Sometimes we think of praising God as an automatic thing. Actually, the way this is worded in our text, it is a matter of will and commitment. "I will," said Isaiah. One must “will” to be thankful or he “will” not likely be thankful at all. You must make up your mind to do it, or life will steal the opportunity from you. Circumstances will keep you from seeing the blessings that you actually have.

C. Thankfulness is Exclusive but also Inclusive

In Bible terms, only those who know the Lord can give true thanks to Him, but the opportunity to know Him is open to all. Look at verse six. God has made this feast of rejoicing available to "all" peoples. No one is excluded who truly desires to have a personal relationship with God.

The picture of the heavenly feast is very appropriate for our consideration. Thanksgiving involves a meal for family and/or friends. One day, in heaven, we are going to sit down to a great feast with our Savior called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

At one of the sessions of the final colloquium prior to my graduation from Trinity Theological Seminary, Jayne and I were privileged to hear one of the most knowledgeable archaeologists from Israel speak on interesting discoveries which have been made in the Holy Land. One of those involved the symbolic meaning of certain meals among people during Bible days. Dr. Carter revealed that certain meals were held for the specific purpose of establishing or restoring relationships with people. When a person was invited to such a meal, it established a bond between the person giving the meal and the person receiving it. It was always a time of great celebration. He stated that this was the picture Jesus was creating with the story of the Prodigal Son. The boy was treated to a meal of restoration to full family privileges. Likewise, that is the picture in the Lord's Supper. Those who accept Christ's invitation are invited to the meal which establishes a relationship with Him. The idea is one of irrevocable union!

Is there a person here today who is unsure if you have that personal relationship with God? Well, God invites you to His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the Bread of Life and the Water of Life. When you come to Him in believing faith, you are partaking of life-giving food for your soul. And one day you will sit day at a great banquet feast in heaven with the Savior and all those He has redeemed.

II. True Thankfulness involves a Historical Relationship

A man came to the preacher and said, "Preacher, I need help. Lately, every time my wife and I get into an argument, she becomes historical." The preacher said, "Sir, I think you mean that every time you get into an argument your wife becomes hysterical." The husband said, "No, I mean she becomes historical, because she brings up everything I ever did wrong during the history of our marriage."

You and I can only be thankful if we have a historical relationship with God. What do I mean? I mean that we must have an awareness of His blessing across the history of our lives. If fact, we can go back even further and see how God has worked in our families, in our nation, in our history and even in Bible days, just to bless us today! When we review the history of what God has done for us, we cannot but be thankful to Him.

This is the point that Isaiah is making. Note that he said, "You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." Isaiah was aware that God had worked in his behalf, and in behalf of others, and it brought him to his feet. He exalted, praised with great vigor and enthusiasm, the God whom he knew and loved.

A. There must be Remembering in our Rejoicing

The songwriter said it best,

“Count your many blessings name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!”

Recall the blessings of God and it will move you from grumble avenue to glory boulevard. When we remember what God has done for us, we are brought to our knees in humility and to our feet in rejoicing!

This was the reason that God instituted memorials. In the Old Testament, God often had the people raise a banner or a pile of stones as a remembrance of some act of mercy He had performed on their behalf. He did this so that they and their children would not forget! One of the ministries that we are working toward in our church is a banner ministry. We want banners that remind us of God's goodness toward us. We want to march those banners forward in our worship services as a means of bringing to remembrance the greatness of our Savior. We must remember if we would properly rejoice!

B. There must be Thinking in our Thanking

In that great passage found in Philippians 4:4 and following, Paul tells us one prerequisite to proper praise and peace with God. We must think of good things. We must keep a good thought! Stinking thinking leads to grumbling grouches, but thankful thinking leads to glorified gratitude!

C. There must be Peace in our Praise

What does this mean? Look at verse 1 again. Note that Isaiah said that God had done marvelous things in "perfect faithfulness." A lot of the things happening around Isaiah were not pleasant, but he praised God anyway! Why? Because he trusted the wisdom of God.

Corrie Ten Boom in The Hiding Place relates an incident which taught her this principle. She and her sister, Betsy, had just been transferred to the worst German prison camp they had seen, Ravensbruck. Upon entering the barracks, they found them extremely overcrowded and flea‑infested. Their Scripture reading that morning in 1 Thessalonians had reminded them to rejoice always, pray constantly, and give thanks in all circumstances. Betsy told Corrie to stop and thank the Lord for every detail of their new living quarters. Corrie at first flatly refused to give thanks for the fleas, but Betsy persisted. She finally succumbed. During the months spent at that camp, they were surprised to find how openly they could hold Bible study and prayer meetings without guard interference. It was several months later when they learned that the guards would not enter the barracks because of the fleas. (Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place.)

In order to thank God properly, we must learn to thank God for the fleas. Like Paul, we must glory in our infirmities that the power of God may rest upon us! To believe that God is working in our behalf even when things are not going as we would like, is the true test of a thankful heart!

III. True Thankfulness involves an Unending Relationship

Part of that which made Isaiah thankful was the eternal nature of God's blessings upon him. Look with me at Isaiah 25:6-9. The Christian has a thankful heart because he knows he has something which the world, the devil, time and space cannot take from him.

A. There is victory because the Corruption is Removed (8)

Sin disgraced us, but the Savior graced us with His love! The stains have been removed in His life giving blood. We are thankful because we have the assurance in eternity that sin will never touch us there. When I got saved I was removed from the penalty of sin. Now that I am saved I am kept from the power of sin. I cannot be corrupted again. One day, thank God, I will be removed from the presence of sin.

B. There is victory because Condemnation is Removed (7)

The shroud is the veil which was placed over the face of a condemned person who was led out to be hanged. God has removed the covering from us and we are free from the death sentence that was upon us. The shackles are removed and we walk out of the prison of sin into the bright sunlight of freedom in Christ!

C. There is victory because the Coffin is Removed (8)

Death is swallowed up in victory. Note the similarity with the passage by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. Tears are wiped from our eyes forever. The last enemy is destroyed. To a Christian, death is not a period but merely a comma!

Speaking of death, did you hear about the woman in Lebanon, Indiana whose husband died? This actually happened and was reported by Associated Press. Mrs. Sam Brown came to the obituary desk ‑ her husband had died. She brought along four pages of obituary, telling all about Sam but then she was told that to publish such an obituary would cost 25 was a word. So she said, "Then just print 'Sam Brown died.'" The obituary writer told her that there was a minimum of seven words for a death notice. The woman pondered, and on her fingers she counted to seven and then she said, "Well, then just print 'Sam Brown dies, 88 Ford for sale.'" (Associated Press, 4‑27‑92).

When Andy Russell of Tarzana, California passed away recently, his devoted three‑year young grandson Bobby wanted to know what had happened to grandpa. So the chore of explaining about death fell to the boy's dad. Dad said, "Bobby, God saw that grandpa was very sick and so because he did not want him to hurt anymore, he sent the angels to get him." To which little Bobby astonished, wide‑eyed replied, "The whole team?" (Associated Press, 6‑12‑92). The little lad thought the California Angels Baseball team had come for grandpa!

Thank God that one day death will be a laughing matter. We will dance on the streets of gold! We will rejoice with those who have gone before us. Isaiah is exalting God in the present as he looks out into the future at what God is going to do!

"O death, where is your sting. O grave, where is your victory. The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!" Thank Him, dear people, thank Him! Thank Him for the personal relationship. Thank Him for the historical relationship. Thank Him for the unending relationship! Praise His holy name forever and ever!


Wrapping up Johnny Carson's Tonight Show 27th anniversary program was the Doxology, as sung by then Los Angeles Dodger Orel Hershiser. Following the World Series that year, the pitching ace delighted the late night host with a sample of songs he sang to calm himself between innings. Carson recalled that Hershiser, an outspoken Christian, caught him a bit off guard by actually singing the song on the live program, but added that he was "moved" by it. Apparently, Carson chose the taped segment to conclude his prime‑time television special.

If you were on nationwide television, and could say something about your life, would be about the goodness of God? Well, it ought to be! For you are blessed, if indeed you are saved. And you can be blessed today, if you are not a Christian, by coming to trust in Him just now as we sing.

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