When our kids were young, one of them bluntly said “no” when we passed him some peas for dinner. To which we replied, “No what?” We hoped he would say, “No, thank you.” Instead he said, “No peas!” That led to a discussion about the importance of good manners. In fact, we had similar discussions on numerous occasions.
Beyond good manners—which are external—our Lord reminds us that we are to have a heart of gratitude. Scripture contains dozens of reminders that expressing gratitude is of primary importance in our relationship with God. Psalm 118 begins and ends with the exhortation to “give thanks to the Lord” (vv. 1, 29). We are to give thanks when we come into His presence (100:4). And the requests we bring to Him are to be wrapped in a spirit of thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6). Such an attitude of gratitude will help us remember our abundant blessings. Even in the midst of trouble and despair, God’s presence and love are our constant companions.
It’s no wonder, then, that the psalmist reminds us to “give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Ps. 118:1).
Lord, Your goodness is enough to make me thankful every day. Teach me to live with a thankful heart and remind me to regularly thank You for Your goodness and steadfast love.
It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Today’s psalm celebrates the beautiful deliverance of the Lord. These verses provide a wonderful example of how to thank the Lord for His work in our lives. Verses 1-4 show us that praise is not only personal and private but can be expressed by a whole community. Verses 5-14 encourage us to reflect on our times of need and to celebrate how God has worked in us and through us.