PSALMS 116:7: “I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the LORD.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Why is thanksgiving called a sacrifice? What place does thanksgiving have in my devotional life? When I look at my prayer life, how much of it is given to thanksgiving?
I have been watching the Presidential Briefings each day during this corona-virus crisis. Each day has been filled with detailed information about our fight against this invisible enemy. Then, I have heard the media’s response to these briefings. One of the things they complain about is the President’s positive outlook. They mistake this for a person who is not engaged. I think it shows a person who is thankful for the hard work and expertise of all those who surround him.
We have a choice when we go through difficult times. We can focus on the negative, or we can lift our eyes and look up toward heaven and focus on the eternal. It is easy to default to simply praying for our needs. It is a sacrifice, in the midst of suffering or great trial, to remember to give thanks to the One who is our source of life and strength. The Apostle Paul put it this way.
- “Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.” II Corinthians 1:9-11 NKJV
Paul was confident in the faithfulness of God. He gave thanks for his struggles because he knew they drew him closer to God. Many times the Lord is trying to strip us of all the things we are clinging to other than Him. It is when we are free from these things that we can truly offer the sacrifice of praise!
A sacrifice in the Old Testament cost something. It was to be taken from the best of your livestock, crops, or resources. It was not to be taken from that which was to be discarded. A sacrifice represented your devotion and worship to the living God. Therefore, it was to be taken from the very best that you could give.
Our thanksgiving should be the same. To give thanks in the midst of the trial costs something. It is not automatic. It must come from a heart that is focused on God and not on the circumstances. It looks beyond the immediate. It looks to the past and remembers the wonderful times of God’s provision and deliverance. And, it looks to the future knowing that this too shall pass!
Paul leaned this through the things that he suffered. This is why he could boldly say,
- “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV
In everything give thanks! In this present trial – this will require a sacrifice. This will require us to look at the times that God has delivered us – and give thanks. This will require us to position our hearts in faith knowing that, in this present trial, He is delivering us. And, this will require us to proclaim in faith, that no matter what we face, He will continue to deliver us! This is the reason we can give thanks!
Lord, this morning I choose to offer You the sacrifice of thanksgiving! I thank You that my life is in Your hands. You are guiding my daily steps and providing for my daily needs. This time of sheltering-in-place has reminded me that my greatest reward is found in You. Thank you for the times You have delivered me, for Your present help in delivering me, and for Your promise to deliver me, until the final day when I stand in Your presence.
In Jesus Name!