“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”
You’ll probably hear this first verse of Psalm 107 several times over the next week as we celebrate Thanksgiving… but do you know the verses that follow it?
“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.” – Psalm 107:2-3
We are the redeemed of the Lord — the people he has redeemed from trouble! The Psalmist urges us, collectively, to have this refrain of thanksgiving always on our lips. As God’s gathered and redeemed people, we proclaim his goodness and his steadfast love – in our own hearts, with our words, and with our actions.
Sometimes this feels easier said than done. When trouble and hardship knock at our door (and, on this side of heaven, they always do), thanks and praise can feel like the last thing we have to offer.
But Psalm 107 has something to say about this, too. It lists groups of people who have faced hardship – those lost, broken, sinful, tossed about by the waves of a storm. And God does not abandon them – or us. Instead, God hears their cries and delivers them from their distress. This is the reason for celebration. Simply put, God’s saving power is the catalyst for thanksgiving.
And we should probably just keep this to ourselves, right?
Everything about that sentiment is wrong… and yet… how many times have we kept stories of God’s goodness to ourselves? How many times have we tried to hide our own need for God’s saving power instead of letting it propel us toward thanksgiving? How many times has God done something amazing and we’ve been too busy to acknowledge it?
In the first seven verses of this Psalm, collective words – us, we, our – are used nine times. We’re in this together! Sharing and hearing stories of God’s goodness is a part of our beautiful inheritance as his people. When we hear stories of God’s power, whether from long ago or just five minutes ago, our hearts respond with praise and thanksgiving. When we hear how God delivered someone else from a storm that seems much like the tempest that’s swirling around us, we remember that God is good and his love for us is steadfast and eternal.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving this week, ponder what it might look like to proclaim this truth in your own life. When has God heard your cries and delivered you from your distress? To whom are you announcing God’s goodness and steadfast love? With whom are you sharing stories of God’s wondrous works?
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Redeemed of the Lord, let’s be sure to say so.
Written by Sarah Olson