Why We Can Give Thanks to the Lord

It's the month of Thanksgiving and we all have gratitude on our mind. Some take this month to share on social media what they are thankful for each day. When we take the time to stop and consider, the list of blessings and graces God gives us is unending. We'll spend eternity praising and thanking our Savior for all He has done. 

In our churches, we have favorite songs and hymns we sing to give God our praise and thanksgiving. Some are more famous than others. Those songs are ones that if we were gathered with a group of Christians from different churches and someone started singing a a well-loved praise song, everyone would chime in together. Think 10,000 Reasons. In the Old Testament, one common refrain sung over and over that everyone knew was, "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever." This song is found multiple times in the Psalms. It is sung in Chronicles. The returning exiles sang a similar version of it in Ezra.

As we make our thanksgiving lists this year, as we go around the dinner table spread with turkey, dressing (or stuffing, if you must), cranberry sauce, Aunt Susie's carrot souffle, and the requisite pumpkin pie, sharing with one another what we are thankful for, let us remember this song. It reminds us that there are two reasons we have to give thanks, no matter the time of year, no matter whether the harvest is plenty or meager, and no matter how hard and painful our trials: God is good and His steadfast love endures forever.

God is Good

In language arts (thanks to my years of homeschooling the kids!), a predicate adjective is an adjective that follows a linking verb and renames the subject of the sentence. This is what happens when we say, "God is good." 'Good' renames God. It's like saying God and good are the same thing. In essence God equals goodness. 

Thanking God for His goodness is a reference to His character. We know from reading Scripture that goodness isn't His only trait but it is one that is highlighted throughout the Bible. Everything God made was good (Genesis 1). Jesus told the rich young ruler, "Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone" (Mark 10:18). God works all things together for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28). The psalmist clung to God's goodness in the midst of his trials and suffering, "For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you" (Psalm 86:5).

Everything God does is good. He can't not do good. He works for our good. He does good through in us and through us. His goodness is something we can experience and know and feel, "Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!" (Psalm 34:8). And when we dwell on that goodness, our only response is thanksgiving and praise. 

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

The second reason we have to give thanks at all times and in all places and no matter what else is happening is because God's steadfast love endures forever. It's hard to understand steadfast love. The love we often experience from humans is fickle. It is conditional. It comes and goes like the wind. God's love is so pure and perfect it's incomprehensible. But we see it time and time again in Scripture. God sets His love on His people and never lets go. "It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). "And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD" (Hosea 2:19-20).

We are wayward but He pursues us. We wander and He always finds us. We are weak and fail Him but He never fails us. In fact, there is nothing we can do to make Him love us less. There is nothing and no one in all creation that can keep Him from loving us, "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39). His love is expressed most deeply in the sacrifice of His Son for our sins. "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us" (1 John 3:16).

His love for us began in eternity past and extends into eternity future (Ephesians 1:4-5). It will last longer than the earth and outshine the sun. It can not and will not end.  

Two reasons. Two beautiful, glorious, wondrous, and amazing reasons to give thanks this Thanksgiving and every day of the year. God is good and His steadfast love endures forever.