Praise God for his wonderful deeds

Tue, 31/08/2010 - 07:26 -- James Oakley

We are forever looking for things God has done for us for which we can give him thanks. Things he has done for us and for no other people. That could be a temporal thing - we want things he has done for our generation and not for previous ones. That could be a spatial thing - we want things he has done for our village / town / county / nation and not for others. It could be both at once - things he has done for me and me alone.

Psalm 105 is a total contrast. It starts

Oh give thanks to the Lord;
call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!

But which deeds? The Psalm thanks God for their provision during the famine in the time of Joseph, for the Egyptian plagues, for the Exodus and the gift of food in the wilderness.

With our search for things God has done for us, and only us, we then look for the Psalm to give us a lesson for our own day. We expect it to end with something like "Let the people of God in every age remember and give thanks for all he has done for them" It doesn't go there. It just ends "Praise the Lord!"

Psalm 105 is content merely to praise God for the definitive acts of deliverance that God performed, in the past. The only specificity is that this is what God did for his people, rather than for the entire human race. Indeed that is the point - verse 1 invites "the peoples", the other nations, to praise the covenant Lord for what he did for his people.

Psalm 105 challenges are individualistic attitude to prayers of thanks. It invites us to see the value of thanking God for his wonderful deeds - deeds done in the past to deliver his people for all time. It invites us to thank God for these too, to relish and identify with the story that is God's deliverance for his people.

In our day, whilst it is good to thank God for his blessings to us, we also need to remember that thanking God each day, or each Sunday, for the death, resurrection, ascension and session of Jesus is good and proper. Apart from our healthy desire to learn from those events, to see their parallels in everyday life, to work through their implications, we can and we must give thanks for them as they are.

Praise the Lord!

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