The year 2011 has come and gone with its load of troubles. It was a year in which many unthinkable or unimaginable things happened. Families lost their jobs and their homes, and the trauma of these hardships in some cases led to untimely and unexpected deaths. Diverse disasters–earthquakes, tornadoes, wars, civil unrest, economic crises, and terrorism–brought indescribable pains to many globally. The stress of 2011 touched the nerves of people, places, and things all around the world–even the rich cried!
In the midst of all of this, God expects us to give Him thanks: “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High” (Psalm 50:14). Why? It is to show him our appreciation for his goodness in helping us to witness another year, and it is because “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me…” (Psalm 50:23). Those who will enjoy God’s deliverance power or salvation are those who will reorder their lives this new year in deliberate thanksgiving, praise, and worship. It is a good thing to give thanks (Psalm 92:1-2).
It is not easy to give thanks, and that is the reason it is an offering. Every offering is given sacrificially, especially when we are commanded to give thanks in all things or circumstances (I Thessalonians 5:18). We actually have no choice in the matter, because it is a vow that must be fulfilled (Psalm 65:1: “Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.”). Every vow is a covenant, and covenants carry terms, responsibilities, and tokens–for example, marriage.
Thanksgiving as covenant or sacrifice is a responsibility we must offer unto God (Hebrews 13:15). David knew the importance of thanksgiving, praise, and worship as weapons of prayer warfare so much that he promised to do so morning, noon, and evening (Psalm 55:17). When he realized it was not sufficient, he chose to do it seven times a day (Psalm 119:164). Furthermore, when he compared God’s faithfulness on a daily basis with thanking him seven times a day, he decided to do it at all times: “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). Therefore, like David, let us “…bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord.”
When thanksgiving, praise and worship are offered sacrificially:
1. The heavens declare the righteousness of God (Psalm 50:6).
2. God is glorified (Psalm 50:23).
3. God reveals his salvation.
You can see all three of these in action when Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God in prison within earshot of the other prisoners (Acts 16:25-34). God shook the earth with a violent earthquake that broke the men’s chains, blew open the prison doors, and brought devastating conviction to the jailer, who fell trembling at Paul and Silas’ feet, crying out, “What must I do to be saved?” He and his entire household tasted salvation that day.
The next morning, Paul and Silas were released.
Understand that thanksgiving, praise and prayer go together. They are never exclusive of each other (Psalm 50:14-15; 65:1-2; 72:15; 51:15-17; 61:5, 7-8). So don’t accept the statement, “If prayer doesn’t work, try praise.” It is an error of understanding, because the three are in themselves types of prayer. Jesus gave thanks and prayed at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:40-42). If you order your life to give thanks, God will reveal to you the secrets of His deliverance. What are those secrets? Praise (Psalm 59:16-17) and prayer (Isaiah 40:29-31). Therefore offer unto Him thanks, and pay your vows. Happy New Year, and stay blessed! [email protected].