The Theology of Thanksgiving

by Stephen F. Olford

Thought: In Old Testament times this was known as “The Song of the Sabbath.” The Sabbath was divinely designated as a day for corporate worship (a holy convocation, Lev. 23:3). It was a day in which to celebrate “the theology of Thanksgiving.” In this first stanza (vv.1-4) we have:

1. The Moral Necessity of Thanksgiving. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord.” The reasons for thanksgiving are simply spelled out:

We worship God for His greatness (v. 1). We sing praises to Your Name Most High (v. 1). Clearly it is morally right to give thanks to God, but especially so when we appreciate that He is Most High. We worship God for His goodness (v. 2): “your loving kindness” (merciful kindness). How can we keep silent in our praise and worship when we “count our blessings ‘ton by ton’?” We worship God for His graciousness (v. 2). His grace knows no bounds!

2. The Major Activity of Thanksgiving:On an instrument of ten strings, on the lute, and on the harp, with harmonious sound” (v. 3). “To sing praises” is a single verb that has its root in the Hebrew word for psalm and implies singing with an accompaniment. So we are given the name of instruments that call for melody and harmony (v. 3). This demands action! 

3. The Mental Reality of Thanksgiving: “For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands” (v. 4). These closing words of the stanza “light up” the mental reality of worship. We see and sense the wonders of God’s creation and redemption. In the rendering of the Revised English Bible we exclaim:  Your acts, Lord, fill me with exultation; I shout in triumph of Your mighty deeds!”


To God be the glory, great things He has done,

So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,

Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,

And opened the Lifegate that all may go in.

Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915)<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

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