Faithful Jews often worshipped God with
these psalms. They could sing them for memory.
There are two events in the Old Testament when the people sang "Give thanks to the Lord for He is
and as a result, strange and wonderful things
The first was at the dedication of the new temple in Jerusalem, when
Solomon was king.
priests brought the ark of the LORD's covenant
to its place in the Most Holy Room of the temple... They sang,
"He is good. His faithful love continues forever."
Then a cloud filled the temple of the LORD.
The priests couldn't do their work because of it. The glory of
LORD filled God's temple. (2
Chronicles 5:7-14 NIrV)
Think about our Sunday morning worship. Has it ever happened that
God has responded to our praise to Him by filling the room with His
glory so that we must stop the service?
About 370 years after that temple dedication service, the temple was
destroyed by the army of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon
(Iraq). The 130 years after that, the Jews who were able to
return to Jerusalem started rebuilding the temple. And as
they did, the priests and people worshipped God with the same
The builders laid the
foundation of the LORD's temple. Then the
priests came... They sang to the LORD.
They praised him.
They gave thanks to him. They said. "The LORD is good. His
faithful love to Israel continues forever." (Ezra 3:10-11 NIrV)
The second strange and wonderful event related to this thanksgiving
prayer is the story of King Jehoshaphat (he lived about 100 years after
the time of King Solomon). Three enemy kings had made a pact to
combine their armies to attack Jerusalem. Three against
one! In response, Jehoshaphat made a very wise decision. He asked
people to pray and beg God for His help. God sent a
prophet to tell the people:
listen! All you who live in Judah and Jerusalem, listen!
The LORD says
to you, Do not be afraid. Do not lose hope because of this huge
The battle is not yours. It is Mine." (2 Chronicles 20:15 NIrV)
This is how they fought the battle:
Early in the morning all of the people
left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they started out, Jehoshaphat
stood up. He said, "Judah, listen to me! People of
Jerusalem, listen to me! Have faith in the Lord your
God..." Then he appointed men to sing to the Lord. He
wanted them to praise Him because of His glory and holiness. They
marched out in front of the army. They said,
thanks to the Lord.
faithful love continues forever."
(2 Chronicles 20:20,21 NIrV)
While they sang this thanksgiving prayer, they watched the three enemy
armies come toward them. Then something very strange
happened. Two armies joined together and started fighting against
the third army. After the two armies destroyed the third army,
they turned to fight against each other, while Israel still watched and
sang, "Give thanks to the Lord!"
When the battle was over,
all three enemy armies had destroyed each other, and the only thing
left for Israel to do was to pick up the loot and bury the
During the life and ministry of Jesus, whenever He had food, He had a
At the feeding of the 5,000...
took the seven loaves of bread and the fish and gave thanks to God. Then he
divided the food and gave it to his followers, and they gave it to the
people. (Matthew 15:36 NCV)
At the Last Supper...
they were eating, Jesus took some bread and thanked God for it and
broke it. Then he gave it to his followers and said, "Take this bread
and eat it; this is my body." Then Jesus took a cup and thanked God for it and gave
it to the followers. He said, "Every one of you drink this.
This is my blood which is the new agreement that God makes with his
people. This blood is poured out for many to forgive their sins."
(Matthew 26:26-28 NCV)
One of the names for the Lord's Supper is Eucharist,
which is from the Greek
word for "give-thanks."
What prayer did Jesus use to give thanks for His food? The
Bible does not tell us. But Jesus may have used the same
that Jewish people still recite today...
Elohenu Melech ha-olam,
ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz.
art Thou, O Lord our God,
King of the universe
who brings forth bread from the earth.
Elohenu Melech ha-olam,
borei pr'i ha-gaffen.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God,
King of the universe
who created the fruit of the vine.
When the Apostle Paul teaches Christians to pray, he reminds us that
thanksgiving is an important part of prayer:
not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need,
always giving thanks. And God's peace, which is so great we
cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6 NCV)
Continue praying, keeping alert, and always thanking God.
(Colossians 4:2 NCV)
Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever
happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus. (1
Thessalonians 5:16-18 NCV)
Often we pray anxiously for people we love -- or for ourselves.
Often we pray, fearful that God will chose not to help. What is
missing? What do we need to restore the peace and confidence in
God's goodness? Thanksgiving!
As we saw in the Old Testament thanksgiving prayer, we
praise God for who He is
-- "good" -- and we thank Him for what He does
-- shows khesed,
mercy. Praise and thanks teach our hearts to trust God through
the hard times. And the result of knowing God's goodness is God's
peace, resting in Christ Jesus.
And if you feel that your faith is weak, and that you can't think of
good reasons why you should thank God when you hit Him with your
requests, spend some time in Romans 8, slowly digesting every word and
The Spirit we received does not make us slaves again to fear; it makes
us children of God. With that Spirit we cry out, "Father." And
the Spirit himself joins with our spirits to say we are God's
Also, the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do
not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God
for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot
explain. God can see what is in people's hearts. And he knows
what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit speaks to God for
his people in the way God wants.
We know that in everything God works for the good of
those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his
plan. God knew them before he made the world, and he decided that
they would be like his Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of many
brothers. God planned for them to be like his Son; and those he
planned to be like his Son, he also called; and those he called, he
also made right with him; and those he made right, he also glorified.
So what should we say about this? If God is
with us, no one can defeat us. He did not spare his own Son but
gave him for us all. So with Jesus, God will surely give us all
things. Who can accuse the people God has chosen? No one, because
God is the One who makes them right Who can say God's people are
guilty? No one, because Christ Jesus died, but he was also raised from
the dead, and now he is on God's right side, begging God for us.
Can anything separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can troubles
or problems or sufferings or hunger or nakedness or danger or violent
death? ... But in all these things we have full victory through
God who showed his love for us. Yes, I am sure that neither
death, nor life, nor angels, nor ruling spirits, nothing now, nothing
in the future, no powers, nothing above us, nothing below us, nor
anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from
the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 14-38 NCV)
Give thanks to the LORD
because He is good!
Because His love, mercy, and grace continue forever!