O give thanks unto the LORD;
call upon his name:
make known his deeds among the people.
~ Psalm 105:1
Our text is the beginning of the Psalm David delivered when they brought up the ark out of the house of Obededom. This was a time of jubilation and celebration. However, their rejoicing was mingled with a reverential fear of God. God had demonstrated His holy justice by striking down Uzza for lightly touching the ark. Israel was taught to respect the things of God and not treat them common, even though others might. However, in our text, the ark has been brought safely back and David exhorts the people to extol Jehovah with praise. Let us consider the directive in three parts as it is given.
Firstly, we are instructed to give thanks. “O give thanks unto the LORD.” The text directs our gratitude toward the Lord. He above all else is worthy of our thanksgiving. We could multiply the reasons for giving thanks unto God. By His grace and mercy, we have received every good thing. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).
Our hearts should be thankful for the abundant temporal blessings that He has showered on us, “seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). Are you warmed and filled? Give thanks to God. Have you food and raiment? Give thanks to God. Have you lived to an old age? Give thanks to God. Have you joy in your family? Give thanks to God. Have you the breath of life at this hour? Give thanks to God and “Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 150:6).
He is worthy of thanksgiving in temporal things and is much more worthy of thanksgiving for spiritual blessings. Our hearts should overflow with praise and thanksgiving if we are one of His. The Psalmist wrote that God “redeemeth thy life from destruction” (Psalm 103:4). When I consider what I was as a dirty vile sinner hastening down the broad road that leads to destruction, my heart is filled with gratitude and praise to God, for “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings” (Psalm 40:2). He set His love upon me when I was so unlovable and Christ died for me when I was His enemy. “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10). Praise God! Amen!
Secondly, we are instructed to worship. “Call upon his name.” The thought is of calling God by His name. The phrase “his name” conveys the thought of God in all His attributes. We worship Him in His holiness, love, mercy, and so on. This worship lends credence to our thanksgiving. I can hardly see how the former can exist without the latter. In fact, the latter seems born from the former. If God has blessed with great blessings and our hearts are truly thankful, then we will worship Him. If we give thanks with our lips and yet refuse to worship Him, we are hypocrites. Some Christians go on about thanking God for their homes, cars, clothes, cabins, campers, boats, and recreational vehicles saying that God has blessed them. Yet, on Sunday, they are not found in the church worshiping Him. They have no problem in missing the services to go and “enjoy” the Lord’s goodness. It seems that they are worshiping their possessions instead of God. If our hearts are true with gratitude, we will worship Him, calling “upon His name.”
Lastly, we are exhorted to witness. “Make known his deeds among the people.” All of these things should result in us telling others about the goodness of God. Are we to only receive and never give? We would be like the leprous men outside the gates of Samaria. They were about to die when God led them to abundance. They were enjoying the newfound blessings when they were smitten by their selfishness. “Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king’s household” (2 Kings 7:9). Let us never hold our peace. We have glorious news to sound out to the world. Let them hear our thanksgiving. Let them hear our praise. Let them hear of our God. “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).
David exhorts Israel to praise God, even though some trials have attended their proceedings. If we tend to focus on ourselves, we will not offer praise and thanksgiving to God as we should. In fact, it is a characteristic of hardened sinners in the last days that they are “lovers of their own selves” and “unthankful.” Neither should we focus only on our trials forgetting our blessings. And oh how these blessings should constrain us to worship Him and witness for Him.