Focus Your Gratefulness To God

While most people believe there is a God many go about their daily lives without expressing the slightest appreciation to Him. Yet, for those that really know Him through Christ, gratefulness to Him should be easily expressed, and as one matures in Him there are even a deeper dimensions.
Focus Your Gratefulness To God
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2015 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

Expressing thanks to God is found throughout much of the Holy Bible, but that topic most often appears in the Psalms. Even when a psalmist is expressing deep sorrow often praise to God will appear. Psalm 22 is like that.

Psalm 22 is sometimes referred to as “the crucifixion psalm,” for it begins with “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” It continues with statements of sorrow that were prophetic of the crucifixion of Christ which would occur over 950 years later. The piercing of Christ’s hands and feet (verse 16) and the casting lots for His clothes (verse

18) are just two examples.

But then we read in verse 21b (NASB), “From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.” This signals a change. As we continue to read it could be said that the remainder of the psalm speaks of the resurrection of Christ, and for this message we shall consider verses 22 to 25:

“I will declare Your name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise You. 23  You that fear YHVH, praise Him; all the seed of Jacob, glorify Him; and fear Him, all the seed of Israel. 24  For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither has He hid his face from him; but when he cried unto Him, He heard. 25  My praise shall be of You in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear Him.”

Here we see a focus upon expressing gratefulness to God. From those four verses we will see four things about giving God our best when we show gratefulness to Him.

I. When - 22

“I will declare Your name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise You.”

When it comes to praising and thanking God, some people have a tendency to be more reserved when around others. I know I was that way for a time when in Bible institute. Yet, as the others verses will show, if we are truly saved then God deserves our praise and thanks whenever and wherever we are.

When I first came to Christ, one of the blessings of attending a Pentecostal church was to be in a service where people thanked God for various things in their life. At “the top of the list” for many was salvation, but there were a host of other things that were mentioned.

The fact is that the thanksgiving occurred amongst fellow disciples. For those that would receive it, usually each testimony was an encouragement to those that heard it. The first time I did it, I gave my testimony that I had received Christ as my Savior one night in my bedroom after listening to Billy Graham. About two weeks after that I started the church’s services for a few weeks, but never declared I made a commitment to Christ. The pastor’s wife was pleasantly surprised when she heard it and said something to the effect, “You got saved right from underneath our noses!”

Before I continue I want to address the terms “Your" and “my" used in verse 22 when prophetically applied to Christ. As you know, true disciples of Christ state there is One God, Who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The question asked by some is if God is One, then why would Christ use the term “Your name” and why would verse 22 prophetically point to Christ saying “my brethren”? Considering the whole of the Holy Bible it is because God through Christ veiled upon Himself our flesh that, in order to save us, Christ might live the life we need to live in order to please the Father. When one commits to Christ, they die to self and, by His faithfulness, let Christ live through them so His righteous acts become ours (see Galatians 2:20).

In summary of this first point it should be said that when we attend church we are to focus upon God. We must not let people or circumstances there distract us from worshiping our King. He deserves our praise and thanks regardless.

II. Who - 23 selected

“You that fear YHVH, praise Him; all the seed of Jacob, glorify Him; and fear Him, all the seed of Israel.”

The admonition to be grateful to God is presented to God’s people, who are described in three ways, viz., “You that fear YHVH,” “all the seed of Jacob,” and “all the seed of Israel.” While the passage was originally address to the Jews, because, for now, we are in their stead the light of the world, we will apply it to today’s true Christians.

First and foremost the people of God are described as those Who fear YHVH. While we are to love God, we are to have a deep hefty respect toward Him. He is the supreme being of the universe, the Creator of all things and the judge of all people. To disregard the way to salvation He has made for us through Christ means we remain under His wrath and unless we repent hell and eventually the lake of fire awaits us (John 3:16-18, Revelation 20:14-15).

Jacob was the father of the patriarchs of Israel. His name, before God changed it to Israel, means supplanter, deceiver. In my spirit I see a double application of this name to today’s Church. First, though one comes to Christ he has a long way to grow in Christ. Though one makes a surrender to Christ, they soon learn, as they walk with Him, they need to surrender to Him each day and in most cases, if not all, they eventually realize they must surrender things to God they did not really surrender when they came to Christ.

Secondly, as we stay in Christ we will remain in that Body that will supplant the world system when Christ returns. In the meantime, many of the world cannot figure us out. Finding out our ways is deceptive to them. There is also that aspect where a true Christian realizes they are to be radically directed by God. So, there will be times when the world expects us to react a certain way but the Holy Spirit tells us to do something unexpected.

“Israel" can mean {1} “God prevails." As one grows in Christ they eventually learn that the more they give in to God the more they participate in His victory. And all of this, of course, is by His grace alone. It is not of our works, though we must cooperate with Christ within and let Him work through us.

III. Why - 24

“For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither has He hid his face from him; but when he cried unto Him, He heard.”

One thing that a redeemed person


can and should do is to be eternally grateful for what God has done for them through Christ. We should be very grateful that Christ took our sin and became our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Also, upon becoming our sin, He took the griefs, the sorrows, and all else that comes with our sin. As it is written in Isaiah 53:4-5 (NASB), “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.”

Out of love, through Christ, God did not turn away from us but instead provided the redemption we needed. Hebrews 12:2 (NASB) states, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

This could be summarized as saying we should rejoice in the redemption He has provided for us. However, when I mention rejoice, the Holy Scriptures indicate that we should greatly rejoice. Please see the previous article {2}, Rightfully Rejoice In Redemption.

IV. How - 23 selected and 25

Some of how we should be grateful to God is seen in the following phrases of verse 23: “praise Him!," “glorify Him," and “fear Him.” This last usage of “fear" in verse 23 is from a different Hebrew than that of the first “fear" of the verse. Therefore, and I tend to agree, the New American Standard Bible (NASB) has “stand in awe of Him,” which generally corresponds to the rendering presented by the Jewish Publication Society (JPS).

Indeed, He is worthy of both being praised and glorified. And, the more a person really gets to know God, the more they stand in awe of Him. Is it not wonderful, though, that this awesome God even deals with us!

Once again, comparing the NASB and JPS, verse 25 in the KJV, “My praise shall be of You in the great assembly,” is more likely, “From You comes my praise in the great assembly.” To me this means one of two things or, as I suspect a number of times in Holy Scripture, both. If this means the psalmist is praised in the great assembly then it indicates he is being praised because of God’s work in his life, and so by the Spirit David gives God the glory. However, this can also mean the ability to rightly praise God in the great assembly comes from God Himself. No matter how you look at it, God is to get the praise.

“I will pay my vows before those who fear Him.”

In some cases it is easy for some to “put on a show” and display how “spiritual” they are in public. However, our words should be backed up by our actions, both outside the church and within the church. In church we should be willing to serve God in any capacity, even if it is deemed “low level” by some.

Thinking of vows, I must think of marriage. The Word of God is clear. Divorce is not from God {3}. By trusting God and fervently following His written Word by the power of the Holy Spirit one can, by the grace of God, definitely keep his or her vows. Please see the link below with footnote 3 for a wealth of helpful information direct from the Word of God and seasoned by experience in the Lord.

Before I close, I feel the need to mention that this psalm, written by the Holy Spirit through David, has a preface stating, according to the NKJV, “Set to The Deer Of The Dawn.” In brief, I can say that the night comes “when no man can work” (John 9:4) is soon to arrive, but then comes the the dawn of the millennial reign of Christ on earth. This is a very good reason for His people to keep on praising Him despite the darkness around them.

Notes:

{1} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

{2} Please read Rightly Rejoice In Redemption .

{3} Please visit The Marriage Pages at http://ppmDOT3eewebDOTcom/ma00.html . 

This article was in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by December 30, 2015 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M385 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the 1769 Authorized Version with spelling of some words updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. An * next to the abbreviation for another translation or version indicates the same for the text presented.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.



Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Last updated on 20-07-2016 101 1

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  • nbillett  28-12-2016
    Many of us are reluctant to step out of our comfort zones in case we fail, get hurt, or look stupid. But if we allow that fear to bind us, we'll end up afraid to do anything.
    reply 0
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