by Pastor David Groendyk
This psalm is a psalm of thanksgiving, and an appropriate one for this Thanksgiving weekend. It neatly breaks down into three sections, each of which highlight something great about God, but we will take them slightly out of order. The first section to notice is verses 5–8 that emphasize God’s power. God built the highest mountains, causes waves to stop roaring, silences nations, and causes the sun to rise and set. Nothing can compare to that power! Who else do you know that can bring into existence things which did not exist (Rom. 4:17)? Who else can control and manipulate a mountain or an ocean? God alone is the master of Creation. Moreover, David mentions God’s “awesome deeds” in verse 5, which is surely a reference to the chain of events where God sent the ten plagues on Egypt and parted the Red Sea. God’s supernatural salvation is reason to give thanks and praise him today! He truly is “the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas” (v. 5)! How does God’s power lead us to have hope?
The second section to notice is verses 9–13 that emphasizes God’s goodness and care. Not only does God bring into existence and control all of Creation, he visits his Creation and takes care of it. He waters the earth, causes it to produce vegetation and food, softens its ground, blesses its growth, makes it bountiful and overflowing, and clothes it with animals. Our God is not just strong, but he is good, loving, and generous. Every good gift we have ever received comes down from the Father of lights in whom there is no shadow of change (James 1:17). What other god is there who loves to give good gifts to his people (and even to the earth itself) like our God? God’s providential care is reason to give thanks and praise him today! What bounty or abundance has God gifted you with that you can give thanks for today?
The third and final section is verses 1–4 that emphasize God’s nearness to his people. In many ways, this is the climax of this psalm. Our God is a God who listens to our prayers, personally atones for our sins, chooses to draw people to himself, welcomes us to dwell with him in his house, and satisfies us with his own goodness. There is nothing greater in life for a Christian than the fact that God has heard their cries for mercy, provided an atonement for their sins, and brings them into his presence to live with him forever. But as we read in last week’s worship service from Romans 1, it is a fundamental sin in every person’s life that we choose to worship and serve creatures and creations rather than the Creator himself. We often love all the good things that God gives us but have no desire for God himself. While we have all the reason in the world to be grateful to God this weekend for family, friends, and material gifts, be sure to give thanks to God for his everlasting presence with us through the work of Jesus Christ. Without Jesus becoming human, living a perfect life, dying on the cross to pay the penalty of our sins for us, and rising to life again, God would not dwell with us. Give thanks and praise God for Christ today! Why is God’s presence the greatest blessing in this psalm? How are you tempted to ignore the Creator and only love his creation? How can you cultivate a heart that is satisfied by God’s goodness in Christ?