My last reflection spoke of thanksgiving and why it is as important as any other things we do for Christ. I pointed out the essence of the unending blessings and grace of the Lord that should be the primary motivation for thanking God.
In retrospect, perhaps the best thing that we should be thankful for is the salvation that we all have received from Him. It is a gift unlike any other and it came with not a cheap price – so it must not be taken lightly and for granted.
Many a person thinks that salvation only entails a long list of to-dos and not-to-dos similar to how being an Israelite demanded strict compliance in daily living rituals. While that may be true (since we really do have to work out the salvation received) it is without a doubt that there are certain things much more arresting that the Lord showers upon in abundance for those who received it.
Thanksgiving, in Merriam Webster dictionary is:
A prayer that expresses thanks to God; a prayer expressing gratitude
Simply put, the act is more of a personal moment between you and the Lord. Just between the two of you. It mainly happens in quiet moments – in our secret places, inside our hearts and minds. You may show the act by going to church, but the real thanksgiving happens inside as you sing praises.
But, after the secret place, what comes next?
Psalms chapter 40 is an interesting chapter to read because it lists just some of the few things that God has done for David especially when he was in times of need.
- Answered prayers
v.1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.
- Rescue and help in times of trouble
v. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire
3. Safety and assurance
v. 2 he set my feet on a rockand gave me a firm place to stand.
v. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
- Healing from spiritual sicknesses
v. 6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire— but my ears you have opened.
- So many other things that even David cannot recount
v. 5 Many,Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.
I could only imagine the passion and heart of David in his recollection while writing and singing this chapter! In fact, being the man of actions he was, he just couldn’t contain his salvation it in his secret place that he took it to a whole higher level and thus setting a wonderful example for each of us to follow.
v. 9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips, Lord,
as you know.
V 10 …I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
from the great assembly
David proclaimed it!
He couldn’t contain his joy: he shared it! And not just to his close friends, or his family, but it the assembly. The great assembly. Bear in mind that David was the King – he ruled a country. Just imagine how much of a great assembly he could gather. And in his heart, as he was praising the Lord, he not only did it for himself, but also had the passionate desire for those listening and those of the same faith as him to do the same:
Psalms 40:16 (NIV)
But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
“The Lord be exalted!”
This verse highlights the next step of thanksgiving. Psalms 40:16 tells of two things we should do when we’ve found the joy of God’s salvation and blessings:
- Rejoice and be glad
Rejoicing: The act of feeling or showing that we are happy about something.
Many men and women in the Bible exemplified rejoicing. David did it by dancing, even if his wife scorned him of ‘making a shame of himself’. Moses sang a song of victory after he and his people were delivered from the Egyptians. Hannah gave back her gladness by offering her son, Samuel, wholly in service for the Lord. Paul rejoiced even in trials and let his voice of songs be heard in prison. Elizabeth was credited for being the first to acknowledge Christ as Lord when she rejoiced at the sound of Mary’s voice. Different acts, but one bottom line: it reached others. It wasn’t kept to themselves but they let their gladness be shown.
Show the whole world that you are happy because of God!
- Exalt the Lord
Exaltation, is the act of raising something to a higher level. Another definition is the elevation by praise. In one way or another, the word ‘exalt’ has taken on the same meaning as the word ‘glorify’.
Exaltation entails letting go of ourselves, and letting God do the rest. It entails placing Him above anything and everything under the sun. This is the word used to describe the statement “Glory to God”. It simply means we do not take credit for anything, but we give credit to whom it is due – Showing everyone our gratitude towards God removes us of the right to claim anything for ourselves. We are simply vessels, to proclaim that which is evident.
John 3:30 (MSG)
“This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines.
Exaltation, in its purest sense, is the one word equivalent of “More of God and less of me.”
“I’ve blessed you. Now let others know so that they may know me too.”