Thanksgiving Psalm (Reprise)

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[A few years ago I wrote a psalm to honor God with thanksgiving. The opening line of the psalm comes from Psalm 69:30 which reads, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.” I hope it will help release your gratitude to God anew.]


Magnify the Lord with Thanks

Let us magnify the Lord with thanks
For His steadfast love abounds.
All bow down to thank our gracious Lord
Let our praises shake the ground.

Join our thanks you ancient mountain tops
You were formed by His mere word.
Drop your leaves in awe you mighty oaks
In the wind your praise be heard.

From the depths of grief I cried to you
And you kindly heard my prayer,
Then you saved me from my hopelessness
Made a sinful child your heir.

Lift your thankful head you saints of God,
No more wondering alone;
He has made us His own family,
We will gather ‘round His throne.

Let us magnify the Lord with thanks
For His steadfast love abounds.
All rise up to serve our gracious Lord
Till with thanks our world resounds.

by Tim Jennings

David wrote, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30). Thanksgiving magnifies the Lord in the same way a telescope magnifies the stars. From our perspective the stars seem like insignificant glimmers of light in the night sky, but a telescope reveals them to be balls of fire thousands of times larger than our own planet. In the same way, thanksgiving allows us to see glimpses of our infinitely amazing God.

Of course, the glory of God should be obvious to everyone (Rom. 1:20-21). Yet, we can be so blind to the wonder of His works and forgetful of His care. We can become so enamored with the little pebbles of our own efforts that we fail open up the curtains and see the horizons of God’s glory. We need the vision only gratefulness can provide.

That is why thankfulness is a discipline that needs to be valued; it is a habit that needs to be nurtured. We need to grab hold of our souls and demand, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!”(Psalm 118:1). “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18).

Thanksgiving magnifies God, because givers are more glorious than receivers. In thanksgiving we recognize God as the source of “every good and perfect gift” and ourselves as utterly dependent creatures (James 1:17).

It is at this point that our pride rises up to squelch our hymns of thanks. Gratitude strikes a blow against our own greatness. To see ourselves as dependent upon God’s mercy and provision robs us of our own glory. Our lives will be starved of joyful gratitude to the extent that we love our own glory, and prize our own intellect, power and possessions. Thankfulness will either root out pride, or pride will silence our thankfulness.

Ultimately, a thankful heart is the only offering God receives. God is not impressed by the possessions we’ve amassed. He already owns them all! He is not in awe of the position we’ve achieved. He infinitely excels it! What God most desires is “our humble, thankful hearts” (We Thank Thee, O Father. Matthias Claudius). So, let us “offer to God a sacrifice of thanks!” (Psalm 50:14).

One evening a Christian went to visit a little girl in the hospital. She was confined to her bed with a spinal problem. The believer sat by her bed and they both stared out the window. Finally the little girl said, “Do you want to play a game with me?” The man said, “What kind of game?” The girl said, “It’s a game I call “Stars.” Every evening when the stars come out I think of all the people I love and all the blessings I have; like my mom and dad, my dog, my food, and I name each star with one of my blessings.” The visitor said, “That sounds like fun!” The little girl said, “It is! The only problem is there are not enough stars.”

When we think about the works of God and the expansive wonder of God’s character, they are more numerous than the stars. So, let’s get to magnifying the Lord with thanksgiving!

“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:3)

Tim Jennings

“Let all that you do be done with love” (1 Corinthians 16:14)

Extra Bit:

In Everything Give Thanks

Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18). It’s that “everything” that’s so hard about thanksgiving. The poem below reveals that thanksgiving can be given even for the bitter moments in life. I got goose bumps the first time I read it.

I Thank Thee

O Thou whose bounty fills my cup,
With every blessing meet!
I give Thee thanks for every drop—
The bitter and the sweet.

I praise Thee for the desert road,
And for the riverside;
For all Thy goodness hath bestowed,
And all Thy grace denied.

I thank Thee for both smile and frown,
And for the gain and loss;
I praise Thee for the future crown
And for the present cross.

I thank Thee for both wings of love
Which stirred my worldly nest;
And for the stormy clouds which drove
Me, trembling, to Thy breast.

I bless Thee for the glad increase,
And for the waning joy;
And for this strange, this settled peace
Which nothing can destroy.

Jane Crewdson (The Quaker Poets of Great Britain and Ireland. Evelyn Noble Armitage. William Andrews & Co. 1896)