As I look back over my life, I can recount incidents where I walked in and out of harm’s way, unaware of the potential for danger. I was clueless. But God kept me safe – as the saying goes, God watches out for fools and drunks. While I have never experienced a miraculous healing, I have encountered healing through the miracle of modern medicine. I have also been blessed in that I have never gone to bed hungry or thirsty. All reasons for giving thanks.
Psalm 107 is a hymn of thanksgiving, recounting reasons for praising God.
- God rescues those lost in desert places, “Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.” (4-6)
- God delivers those in prison, “Some sat in darkness and in gloom, prisoners in affliction and in irons . . . Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help.” (10, 12)
- God cares for the sick, “Some were sick through their sinful ways . . . they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death.” (17-18)
- God keeps sailors safe, “Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters . . . For he commanded, and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea . . . they reeled and staggered like drunken men, and were at their wits’ end.” (23, 25, 27)
In each of these cases, the people cried out to God and God rescued them, “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.” (6, 13, 19, 28)
God provides water and food. “He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they established a city to live in.” (35-36)
All are good reasons to sing God’s praises. However the greatest reason to give thanks to God, is for his steadfast love, as the psalmist states repeatedly, “Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to the sons of men!” (8, 15, 21, 31)
There are many concrete reasons for thanking our God. All that we have comes from God. But the greatest reason to thank God is not a physical one, but an invisible one: God’s great love for God’s people. The psalm reminds us, that if we are wise, we will thank God for this love. “Whoever is wise, let him give heed to these things; let men consider the steadfast love of the Lord.” (43)
The examples that the writer cites, are manifestations of a greater reality – God’s love. We, in America, have many reasons for giving thanks. Whether fools or drunkards, we have been blessed, not because of any great merit on our part, but because of God’s unfailing love. Let’s not remain clueless but thank our God for the wonder of God’s love.
How has God blessed you throughout your life?