Meanderings of a Minister

Let the Bible Direct Your Thanksgiving
November 23, 2010, 1:36 pm
Filed under: Articles

No doubt you have heard all or part of Psalm 23 many, many times.  Did you know that this Psalm is of a type of Psalm called a Thanksgiving Psalm?  That’s right!  The following Psalms are all Thanksgiving Psalms:  18, 21, 23, 30, 46, 48, 81, 85, 98, 100, 103, 107, 108, 116, 117, 124, 126, 135, 136, 138, 145, 146 and 149.  In addition to that, the following Psalms contain sections that are Thanksgiving Psalm formats:  9, 34, 36, 40, 65, 66, 68, 75, 76, 91, 105, 118, 121, 129 and 144!  Do you think that something used that much in the Bible is worth studying?  I do, too!  As a matter of fact, the Thanksgiving Psalm even provides us with a format we can use to thank God this Thanksgiving.  Consider the parts of a Thanksgiving Psalm:

  1. A Declaration of Praise – this serves as the introduction to the Psalm and may involve calling others or the writer himself to thank or praise God.  Often, the Psalm may include in this section a brief pre-statement of what the Psalm is thanking God for.  The details will be contained in the next sections, but the pre-statement will be included in the declaration of praise.
  2. Report of Crisis – this is a description of the situation in which God came to act on behalf of the writer.  This is the details which describe the need for God and the cry for His guidance, assistance, deliverance, etc.
  3. Report of Deliverance – this is a description of what God did to meet the need the crisis demanded.  This may be a simple statement that God heard and acted or may be an in-depth description of all God did to meet the need.  This is the section in which the writer gives the reason the reader ought to thank God.
  4. Vow to Praise – this section acts as the conclusion of the Psalm.  In this section any number of elements may be present.  The writer may include a commitment to worship and thank God.  It may contain simply a statement that God is worthy of praise.  It may also contain a summary of the entire Psalm, or it may list the ways the writer plans to thank God.  This section will normally be the very last section of the Psalm.

While not all features are found in every one of these psalms, most of them are contained in at least a limited way.  Psalm 23 is an excellent example of the Thanksgiving Psalm as all sections are present.  Consider the following:

A Declaration of Praise

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (vv. 1-3)

Report of Crisis

“Even though I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death…” (v. 4a)

Report of Deliverance

“…I fear no evil, for You are with me…” (v. 4b)

 “…You rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (v. 4c)

“You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies…” (v. 5a)

 “You have anointed my head with oil;” (v. 5b)

“My cup overflows.” (v. 5c)

Vow to Praise

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (v. 6)

 What we see from this Psalm is that David thanked God for all things, not just the good.  This Thanksgiving, what are you going to thank God for?  Just the good?  Or will you trust Him and thank Him for all He sends your way because He is sovereign and in control?  Think about it and see if you can thank God that way.  Remember, David said he would, even though he was walking through the valley of death.


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