SING JOYFULLY vs MUMBLE CRITICALLY
Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts. Psalm 107:22 NLT
It’s easy to offer thanksgiving when things are going our way – for the most part we are a thankful people. But, whoa, Nellie. Put us in a tight spot, financial duress, hospital room – then it becomes a sacrifice to say thanks.
A sacrifice requires an altar, the sacrifice and One to whom it is made. Paul reminds us that we are that living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and as such, it is we who are on the altar.
ALTAR OF SACRIFICE
By being on the altar, we give of ourselves and it includes thanksgiving. But how do we give a sacrifice of thanksgiving instead of criticism?
Criticize the LORD, you ask? Yes, when we don’t thank, we criticize with the shoulda, woulda, couldas to God. We complain about our lot in life, our current circumstances, what someone said to us, the long road of suffering.
But God is asking us to stay on that altar and be thankful.
Funny thing about a living sacrifice – it has the ability to climb down.
Usually, a sacrifice is already dead once it’s placed on the altar. But God is asking that we climb on the altar with thanksgiving on our lips for all the glorious acts He has done.
Is it easy?
No. Absolutely not. But is it worth it? Positively yes.
In our Christian walk we have to lead our hearts, rather than our hearts leading us. After all, our hearts are incurably wicked as Jeremiah tells us in Jeremiah 17:9. Plus our hearts basically are the epicenter of our emotions which can teeter, and totter all throughout the day and put us precariously in a sour disposition one moment and elation the other.
By leading our hearts in obedience, we are pleasing God with sacrifices of thanksgiving, we are acknowledging His goodness, His acts of goodness and His mighty acts of power.
The thing is – this life is not about us.
It’s about Jesus.
It’s about living our lives to please the Father, to imitate the attitude of Christ (which honored and glorified God ALL the time), sacrificing self on the altar and desiring that what God wants and not what we want.
Impossible. Yes. But, we have the Holy Spirit to help us – He is our Helper, our Advocate. He is interceding for us with groans that words cannot express (Romans 8:26) so we are not alone. Jesus is leading us to the still waters, green pasture, and yes, even the valley of the shadow. But in reality, we are being carried by our Shepherd into that valley - it's what that phrase means.
Carried by our Good Shepherd in His arms, in His love, next to His heart on His chest where we feel the very beating of His heart and hear the tender whispers of His grace.
How can we help but thank Him?
Let us truly offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and joy because we know He is with us, for us, in us and here.
Father God, You are good. You do good. For my good and Your glory. Oh, it is so good to say thank You. Yes, it is a sacrifice at times, but I give of myself on the altar and Lord, please help me to stay there in humble submission to You. You are worthy of my worship, my joy, my thanksgiving. In the Name of Jesus, AMEN.