************ Sermon on Psalm 106:1 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on November 22, 2018
"Give Thanks unto the Lord for He is Good"
Thanksgiving Day 2018
The story is told of a farmer in Vermont sitting on the porch with his wife. He was beginning to realize how much she meant to him. It was about time -- for they had lived together forty-two years. As they sat together, he said, "Woman, you've been such a wonderful wife that there are times I can hardly keep from telling you."
Perhaps there is a wife or two here this morning who can tolerate an inexcusable situation like this, but our God certainly doesn't. He wants us to express our praise and thanksgiving on account of all His goodness to us. He wants, He demands, a grateful response for all His blessings.
I Thanking the Lord
A Let's start with the obvious. On this Thanksgiving Day praise and thanks is given to the Lord:
(Ps 106:1) Praise the LORD. [In the Hebrew, Hallelujah]Notice, the Psalm is bracketed by praise and thanks. It starts with praise and thanks. It ends with thanks and praise.
(Ps 106:1) Give thanks to the LORD ...
(Ps 106:47) ... give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
(Ps 106:48) Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, "Amen!" Praise the LORD. [Again in the Hebrew, Hallelujah]
B Who is the Lord? The Hebrew word is Yahweh. It is Yahweh in Whom we live and move and have our being. Yahweh is the God of the covenant. Yahweh is the God Who loves us in Jesus Christ. Yahweh is the God Who reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
On this Thanksgiving Day we give thanks and praise to the Lord. Yes, we are thankful for other persons in our life too: parents, spouse, children, grandchildren, employers, bosses, employees, pastors, elders, deacons, teachers, mailman, police officers, fire fighters, and so on. But it is especially the Lord -- the God of life, the God of the covenant, the God Who is triune -- to Whom we give thanks.
On the radio, on TV, on Facebook, in emails, and in advertisements there are all sorts of expressions of thanks. This morning at 5:37 we got our first text about thanksgiving already. Most of these expressions are vague because they are not directed to anyone in particular. People express thanksgiving for home, country, job, family, friends, love, food, joys, good circumstances. But what is glaring by its absence is the object, the person, of their thanks. Are they thankful to blind chance, luck, random circumstance, forces of life, Republicans, Democrats, President Trump? We aren't told. The obvious missing element is that thanks is to be given to the LORD. Praise is to be given to the LORD.
II The Redeemed Give Thanks
A "Praise the Lord." "Give thanks to the Lord." This is an imperative, a command. To whom is the command given? Who is it, who are those, who are to give praise and thanks?
Did you notice the question of verse 2: Who? "Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare his praise?" The question has both a positive and a negative answer.
Here is the positive answer: It is understood that the redeemed of the Lord give thanks and praise (Ps 107:2). Those elected and called by God from the ends of the earth give Him thanks and praise (Ps 107:3). The people of God, the regenerate, give thanks to the Lord. Those who have experienced deliverance, rescue, renewal, and restoration are the ones who give thanks.
B Who can praise the Lord? Here is the negative answer: The unregenerate do not give thanks. According to Paul in Romans 1:20, this is one of the characteristics of the unregenerate. The unregenerate might sit down to a big meal today with family and friends, but they won't pause for a time of prayer and thanksgiving to the LORD.
This reminds me of a humorous story I've shared with you before. A farmer was paid a visit by one of his city relatives. Before dinner the farmer bowed his head and offered prayer. His sophisticated city relative jeered: "This is old-fashioned; nobody who knows anything prays at the table anymore."I doubt if any of us want to be known as being no better than a hog or a pig.
The farmer admitted the practice was old and even conceded that there were some on the farm who did not pray before their meals. Feeling justified, the relative remarked: "So enlightenment is finally reaching the farm. Who are these wise ones?" The farmer replied: "My pigs."
III Give Thanks for the Lord is Good
A The psalmist reminds us and tells us why we praise the Lord, why we give thanks to the Lord: "for he is good; his love endures forever."
God is good. Think of it in caps: GOD IS GOOD! Not one of us has any real idea of what it means to be good. We think we do, but we don't. Anything we call good that we do is stained with sin. Even those who have been redeemed by God cannot comprehend the goodness of God. We might confess it, but we don't understand it and we certainly don't live it. To understand goodness, we don't look to earth but to heaven. We look to the throne of God. We look to the triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That's where goodness resides. That's where goodness is to be found.
There is only One who is fully and truly good -- God. Jesus declared, "No one is good -- except God alone" (Lk 18:19). To say that God is good means that God always acts in accordance with what is right, true, and good. Goodness is part of God’s nature, and He cannot contradict His nature. God is the standard of all that is good.
This good God invites us to seek Him and to "taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him" (Ps 34:8).
B God is good. Everything about God is good. All of God's attributes are good. All of God's actions are good. The Bible tells us that everything God made was originally good: "God saw all that He had made, and it was very good" (Gen 1:31; cf 1 Tim 4:4). God’s goodness is showcased in the Law He gave to Israel; the Law is holy, righteous, and good (Rom 7:12).
Everything about God is good:
-His mercy is GOOD!
-His longsuffering is GOOD!
-His love is GOOD!
-His Holiness is GOOD!
-His justice is GOOD!
-His grace is GOOD!
-His benevolence is GOOD!
-His providence is GOOD!
-His blessings are GOOD!
Everything about God is good. He is altogether GOOD! And, every good thing we have and hold is from God: "Every good and perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17).
Ultimately, God’s goodness is especially seen in His plan to redeem us from sin. The gospel is "good news." In His goodness, God sent His Son to become the perfect and blameless sacrifice so we could be forgiven of our sins. In His goodness, God does not want "anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Pet 3:9). In His goodness, God's love endures forever (Ps 106:1).
I was given a cup a couple of weeks ago (HOLD IT UP). It says "Thank You Jesus." In Jesus, our cup overflows with all the blessings of salvation so we can say with David in Psalm 23, "Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life" (Ps 23:6).
IV Forgetting God's Goodness
A God’s goodness should lead to thankfulness on our part: "Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever" (Ps 106:1; cf 1 Chron 16:34; Ps 118:1; Ps 136).
This is what should happen. But what stands out as we read Psalm 106? Listen to three verses:
(Ps 106:7) When our fathers were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.Do you hear the repeated refrain? The people forgot. The people did not remember. They forgot God's goodness. They did not remember God's goodness.
(Ps 106:13) But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel.
(Ps 106:21) They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt,
We are talking about the redeemed of the Lord, the people in covenant with Him. They forgot what happened in Egypt with the ten plagues. They forgot the drying up of the Red Sea. They forgot how God delivered them from the hand of the enemy. They forgot how God brought them to a pleasant land. They forgot how God punished their transgressions in order to bring their hearts back to the Lord. They forgot. They did not remember.
B But God, He does not forget. He remembers His people. He remembers His covenant (Ps 106:45). In fact, this was even the prayer of the psalmist: "Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people" (Ps 106:4). This reminds me of another prayer, a prayer from the cross: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Lk 23:42).
On this Thanksgiving Day we want to be like God. We want to remember. So, with the psalmist we say,
(Ps 106:1) Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
(Ps 106:48) Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, "Amen!" Praise the LORD.
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