Psalm 40 – A Psalm for Thanksgiving

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

This Psalm is perfect for the celebration of Thanksgiving. Please consider using it to express your gratitude to God for his goodness to you.

Note, verses 12-17 are repeated in Psalm 70. We will study those verses when we get to that Psalm.

Reasons for Thanksgiving

I appreciate Psalm 40 because it provides thoughts that I normally wouldn’t consider. It helps me express my gratitude to God for his gracious care in my life.

I waited patiently for the Lord’s help;
then he listened to me and heard my cry.
He pulled me out of a dangerous pit,
out of the deadly quicksand.
He set me safely on a rock
and made me secure.
He taught me to sing a new song,
a song of praise to our God.
Many who see this will take warning
and will put their trust in the Lord.
(Psalm 40.1-3)

Try joining me as you pray these verses. Think of the times when God came to your aid in each situation. Then, thank him for how he helped you.

— Times when I was sad and God heard my cry.

— Times when he pulled me out of a pit of trouble that I got myself into.

— The way that God protects me and keeps me secure.

— A day when I was so joyful that I could only praise and thank God for his grace.

— What God does in my life that enables me to trust him and feel secure.

As Thanksgiving is approaching, please share your gratitude to God for the way he has actively blessed your life.

There Is No One Like You

It is vast understatement that there is no one like God. It is foolish and short-sighted to place our trust in a feeble substitute for God.

Happy are those who trust the Lord,
who do not turn to idols
or join those who worship false gods.
You have done many things for us, O Lord our God;
there is no one like you!
You have made many wonderful plans for us.
I could never speak of them all—
their number is so great!
(Psalm 40.4-5)

Idols are substitutes for the One True God. We turn to idols when we answer the above statements with something or someone other than God. For example.

— When I am sad, I turn to (name the addiction or other activity that relieves your sadness).

— When I get myself into pit of trouble I turn to (name something or someone other than God that you seek for assistance).

— I rely on (my money, my home security, my government, etc.) to protect me and keep me secure.

There may be other examples of how we subtly incorporate idols into our lives. Try spending a few minutes thinking about who and what gets your energy that should be reserved for God.

The best part of verses 4-5 is how they can further our praise and thanks to God.

Why is there no one who can take the place of God in your life? Think of at least one reason why this is so. Then, give God praise and thanks for his goodness.

One of the great hymns of the church is entitled, “Count Your Blessings.” The hymn calls on those who sing it to count their blessings and to name them one-by-one.

Take another minute to make a list of how God has recently blessed you. As you give thanks to God, recount to him the ways he has blessed you.

Acceptable Sacrifice

When this Psalm was written, it was customary for the worshiper to bring a sacrifice into the Temple in appreciation for God’s help. God told the speaker of this Psalm what kind of sacrifice he desired.

You do not want sacrifices and offerings;
you do not ask for animals burned whole on the altar
or for sacrifices to take away sins.
Instead, you have given me ears to hear you,
and so I answered, “Here I am;
your instructions for me are in the book of the Law.
How I love to do your will, my God!
I keep your teaching in my heart.”
(Psalm 40.6-8)

The praise that God desires is for our inside condition and outward behavior to conform to his will.

What better way to express our thanksgiving to God than to daily learn more and more of his instructions for life. Then, by his grace and the power of the Holy Spirit we put into practice what God shows us.

The Psalm reminds us that whatever we call “worship” must also be matched by behavior. Please make a new commitment to God to both know and do his will at this point in praying Psalm 40.

Good News is for Sharing

When God does something noteworthy in our lives, we are called to tell others what he has done. We share what God has done to encourage other people to experience his love, too.

In the assembly of all your people, Lord,
I told the good news that you save us.
You know that I will never stop telling it.
I have not kept the news of salvation to myself;
I have always spoken of your faithfulness and help.
In the assembly of all your people I have not been silent
about your loyalty and constant love.
Lord, I know you will never stop being merciful to me.
Your love and loyalty will always keep me safe.
(Psalm 40.9-11)

What did the speaker in this Psalm learn about God? Through the experiences of his life, he learned the nature and character of God.

— The world needs to know that God is loyal and will always be on our side.

— People around us need to know that God’s love is constant and will never diminish.

— People in our sphere of influence need to know that God is merciful.

— The world needs to know that God saves us from harm.

As we give specific examples from our lives, we can illuminate God’s magnificent nature.

Please take a minute this Thanksgiving season to tell your friends on Facebook or other ways that you communicate with others about God’s great goodness through your own personal experiences.

May We Pray for You?

Maywood Baptist Church’s prayer team is honored to pray for you. Please email me at bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook with your request. We will pray for you.

2 Comments

  1. I am thankful for music. The music that Daniel Ricketts used to make these first 3 verses come to life. The hymn you mentioned that I’ve heard and sung since I was a child, “Count Your Blessings.” This morning, I have many songs of praise and worship that flow through my mind. The Don Moen song from Psalm 42 “As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after you. You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship Thee.” I certainly have much to be thankful for, even in the middle of pandemic, grief and loss. Songs of praise remind me to lift my thoughts to Him. Keeping Christian music playing at work is a subtle way to let others know of my faith. It has prompted co-workers, insurance salesmen and repairmen to comment, to share their faith or to ask for prayer. Music brought me a closer relationship with my neighbor as he asked for a ride one day, not long after we moved here, and discovered we listen to the same Christian station.

    There are so many ways to share what God has done in my life – I am very thankful that music is one.

    At the same time, often that same music serves as conviction when I am unkind or angry or ignore an obvious hurt.

    My to-do list is long today. In my notebook, I have made a second column. I am counting my blessings…one-by-one…to remind myself that He is able and faithful – that I am not alone, that He imparts knowledge, wisdom and discernment. I hope my list keeps me singing praise and worship all day as I determine what is reasonable to accomplish and what can wait.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks Denise for your insightful comments. I am thankful for your regular comments and for the way you have given glory to God during an extremely difficult year for you. May God bless you during the seasons of this year with his grace and comfort.

    Like

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