After you’ve counted your blessings, and given thanks to God, do you go further? Do you seek to know better the One behind all of your blessings? On Thanksgiving Eve at our church, we looked at MICAH 7:18-20 — and were challenged to go beyond giving thanks….
18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. 19 He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. 20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old. (esv)
The prophet here speaks of God’s great forgiveness and salvation and goes on to seek to understand the God who does such things for sinners. He presses beyond praise and thanks, to look behind the curtain of kind providences, to seek to understand WHO this God is, and what He is like.
His first and fundament tool is a mind that asks questions: Who is a God that does such a thing…? We would do well to ask the same question as we ponder our blessings: Who is this God, and why has He done these gracious things in my life?
His second tool is a mind that meditates on what he discovers: this God did not act in anger towards me, but showed me His lavish love — why??
Friends, may we follow in Michah’s footsteps, and follow up our giving of thanks with giving much thought to WHO God is, WHAT He is like, and WHY He does such things.
Psalm 103 begins with great words of praise & thanks…
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
From “The Loveliness of Christ” by Samuel Rutherford
“Because I am his own (God be thanked) he may use me as he pleaseth.”
“… God be thanked, I gave nothing for Christ; and now I protest, before men and angels, Christ cannot be exchanged; Christ cannot be sold, Christ cannot be weighed.”
“If there were ten thousand, thousand millions of worlds, and as many heavens full of men and angels, Christ would not be pinched to supply all our wants, and to fill us all.”
“I am in as sweet communion with Christ as a poor sinner can be; and am only pained that he hath much beauty and fairness, and I little love; he great power and mercy, and I little faith; he much light, and I bleared eyes.”
“Acquaint yourself with Christ’s love, and ye shall not miss to find new goldmines and treasures in Christ.”
“His ‘well done’ is worth a shipful of good days and earthly honours.”
“I know no sweeter way to heaven, than through free grace and hard trials together, and none of these cannot well want another.”
“No pen, no words, no image can express to you the loveliness of my only, only Lord Jesus.”
May you have a blessed Thanksgiving Day,
J. Gresham Machen mentions why all thanks & praise is due to our Savior & Lord, while writing on the active obedience of Christ in our salvation…
Christ took our place with respect to the law of God. He paid for us the law’s penalty, and He obeyed for us the law’s commands. He saved us from hell, and He earned for us our entrance into heaven. All that we have, then, we owe unto Him. There is no blessing that we have in this world or the next for which we should not give Christ thanks.
— The Active Obedience of Christ, p. 191, in Machen’s GOD TRANSCENDENT (1949; Banner of Truth edition, 1982).