Twice in the midst of Solomon’s dedication of the temple, the people of Israel engaged a chorus of “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good! His love endures forever!” I was familiar with this chorus as it is used in Psalm 136, a nationalistic song giving thanks to God for all God did to establish the nation of Israel as the people of God. My curiosity led me to inquire was this verse quoting from that Psalm or another? I discovered that as a nation, this chorus was recorded being echoed on 2 other occasions: when David established his throne’s security, and when Ezra the priest dedicated the rebuilt temple. In other words, this chorus was either reserved for very special occasions, or it was a go-to refrain when everybody wanted to join together in celebration. I’m guessing the latter. I’m thinking, it is akin to Oh Say Can you See? In our context. And I supposed that based on the number of Psalms that use the chorus in the midst of very different songs. There are 4 Psalms that utilize this chorus, some very personal and some very nationalistic. I was incredibly drawn to the 107th Psalm as we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday. It’s rather long, so I won’t read the whole thing all together, but rather, I was to highlight some parts of it with the hopes that it will inspire a sense of gratitude within your heart, or as the Psalmist says, I want you to.
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
those he redeemed from trouble
And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices,
and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.
Then they were glad because they had quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
Let those who are wise give heed to these things,
and consider the steadfast love of the Lord.
Now as I read through this Psalm, I was also struck by the humanness of it, circumstances that seem to resonate in every era and for any generation. Listen to these descriptions:
Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to an inhabited town; 5 hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them.
Some sat in darkness and in gloom,
prisoners in misery and in irons, 11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High. 12 Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor;
they fell down, with no one to help.
17 Some were sick[b] through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities endured affliction; 18 they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the mighty waters; 24 they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep. 25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea. 26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their calamity; 27 they reeled and staggered like drunkards,
and were at their wits’ end.
Did you hear it? Listen again:
Loneliness: wandering in wastelands finding no inhabited town
Depression: They sat in darkness and gloom, prisoners of misery
Addiction: they were sick through their sinful ways and endured affliction because of iniquities