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Paul J. Bucknell
Taken from "The Godly Man"
A Psalm for Thanksgiving
We have often separated praise, joy and love from their moorings of God's goodness. This is a fatal mistake. God is calling us to sit at His feet and enjoy His glorious person.
Knowing God is like a great waterfall of God's goodness breaking onto the rocks of our lives below. There at the bottom His goodness finds entrance into our lives with pools of praise and rivers of joy.
Praise and thanksgiving are not rooted in liturgy or tradition but in experiencing the goodness of God. Joy and peace are long lasting outbursts of knowing God's goodness never changes toward us.
Many of the Psalms of David and others are spirited by this fountain of God's goodness. The words, the praise and joy bubble over into song.
We shouldn't allow ourselves the temptation to think that this psalmist is a naturally happy fellow or that he happens to be "lucky" in life. We see absolutely no hints like this in Psalm 100 or the many other places praise songs are brought to God.
When a person becomes convinced of God's goodness, there is nothing that can take away his joy . We are often excited by pay raises, prizes, surprises, etc. They burst into our lives and bring a special happiness to us. But what David and the other psalmists did was to connect the events in life with God's goodness.
If we did this, we would see these special events or the provision of normal things as God extending His goodness to us. As He reveals His goodness to us, He wants us to affirm His goodness. Praise is just so natural in such cases. Our hearts are full of thanksgiving.
What is even more special is that God brings His own person to the forefront. The surprises and delights are nice. But they will fade. They are more like the wrappings; the Lord Himself is the real present.
What is most special is that nothing including time cannot take away God's presence. This is what we see throughout the lives of the saints of old. They have a joy that persists through the trials of life, and it leads to life eternal.
This is the reason God's holy ones are almost impatient for heaven's shores to touch their lives. They know God. They relish His presence more than things.
The psalmist is so thankful it is hard not to get caught up in his infectious joy. We think of passing on sickness but did you think how God uses His people to pass on joy?! This is what the psalmist is doing here. Let's go quickly through this Psalm and identify all the times he calls us to praise God! Read them aloud.
Do you see what I mean? His delight forces him into calling every living man to exalt and praise God. This praise manifests itself in joyful shouting, glad service, joyful singing, thankful worship, praiseful adoration, thanks and blessings all given to His name.
We need to go back and think about our approach to God during devotions and worship services. Has God so spoken to us that we can't be quiet with our praises?! This is what the Lord desires.
One might wonder if this is for special people of God, but the facts are the opposite. For the very things that the Psalmist bases his praise and thanks upon are things each of us are acquainted with. Let's look at these things.
Like an eternal waterfall His abounding goodness comes into our lives. We will never be the same once those waters start rolling. We never want to be. Let those waters fill our hearts. Let us take up the song of praise from the Psalm of old that calls us to join Him!
Many times when looking for someone to lead our worship services, we choose talent not spirit. We look for those who communicate clearly and properly rather than one who knows the goodness of the Lord.
Truly we would hope that God would blend these two needs together into one person. He often does this. But our truest test is whether we search for a man who knows how to gather people around himself or search for one that has been caught up in the presence of God? Are we looking for a person who sits at the foot of the waterfall of God's goodness or would we tolerate one who doubts in God's greatness?
For personal examination:
Are we willing to be anywhere but at the foot of His cross gazing at His eternal goodness to our souls?
Why would we tolerate a sluggish spirit, a slow heart for God's Word, a prayerless life?
Let us come again and know God so that we would desire to be nowhere but at the waters that springs up into eternal life!