A Meditation of Thanksgiving

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High.”
—Psalm 92:1

ON THE FOURTH Thursday of November the people of the United States, by proclamation of the President, are asked to pause from their ordinary pursuits of life to express thanks to God for the bounties with which he has blessed them throughout the year. In the hearts of many people, there is doubtless a sincere feeling of appreciation to the Giver of every good gift, and they are happy to have this special opportunity of expressing their thankfulness. This should be especially so of all the truly consecrated followers of the Master.


It is true that we should esteem every day to be one of thanksgiving—not merely one day in the year—for the blessings of the Lord which we enjoy at all times are more than can be primarily for the material good things of life—for food and clothing and shelter, for family and friends. Many in the western world feel thankful that they still enjoy a measure of liberty to worship and serve God as their conscience dictates.

We also appreciate these blessings, and in addition are especially thankful that the Lord continues to supply us with spiritual food—‘meat in due season’—by which we are strengthened and enabled to grow as New Creatures in Christ Jesus. We are also especially thankful for the wonderful circle of friends with whom we enjoy sweet fellowship in the Lord, that as sons of God we are members of his family and share in common so many wonderful joys and blessings. Not the least of these is the privilege we have of colaboring in the service of the Lord and of his Truth, together laying down our lives in showing forth the praises of our God.


Our theme text says, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.” It is a ‘good’ thing in the sense that it is appropriate and logical. It is ‘good’ because a failure to give thanks to God for his blessings would indicate a lack of appreciation. If we truly appreciate what the Lord is doing for us from day to day, our thanksgiving will spontaneously arise to him. It is also a ‘good’ thing to give thanks because it increases our own love for the Lord and our determination to please him and to be faithful to him. True appreciation of Divine blessings would be one of the impelling motives in our zeal to know and do God’s will.

It is also a “good thing,” David writes, “to sing praises” to the name of our God. Giving thanks to God for his loving-kindness is done more particularly in individual and congregational prayers to him, whereas singing his praises seems to be more in the nature of a public proclamation by which others are informed of Divine love. The Apostle Peter, for example, speaks of showing “forth the praises of him who hath called you [us] out of darkness into his marvellous light.”—I Pet. 2:9

In the verse following our text David speaks of showing forth the Lord’s “lovingkindness in the morning” and his “faithfulness every night”—or as the marginal translation states, “in the nights.” ‘In the morning’ and ‘in the nights’ suggests a continuous showing forth of the Lord’s praises. It is not something which we do as an obligation once a year; for one whose heart has been touched by the loving-kindness of our God will not be able to refrain from showing forth his praises at all times, that is, on all suitable occasions and in all proper ways.

In verse 3 the psalmist indicates that we ‘show forth’ the loving-kindness of our God “upon an instrument of ten strings.” It is believed that the ancient harp, such as was used by David, had ten strings, and we might properly think of it as representing the Truth as the principal medium by which we praise the Lord today. The ‘ten strings’ might even be considered as representing ten of the main doctrines of the Divine plan; and what a wonderfully harmonious sound they produce when properly used!


Psalm 40:3 states concerning each of the Lord’s truth-enlightened people, “He [the Lord] hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.” The truth of the Divine plan is illustrated in various ways in the Bible. It is likened to food, to ‘meat,’ and how thankful we are that, in fulfillment of his promise, our returned Lord has girded himself and has served the household of faith with “meat in due season.” (Luke 12:37,42) This ‘meat’ has served to strengthen the Lord’s people, making them strong in him and in the power of his might.

The Truth is likened to an “armour” by which we are protected against all the “fiery darts of the wicked.” How greatly we need this protection, especially now when we are living in the foretold “evil day” in which Satan is making every effort possible to overthrow our faith and thus to destroy us as New Creatures in Christ Jesus!—Eph. 6:10-18

Water is also used in the Bible to represent the Truth. We are sanctified and cleansed with the “washing of water by the Word.” (Eph. 5:26) Besides, we are refreshed by the living waters of the Truth. Each of these illustrations helps us to comprehend more fully all that the Truth means to us. None of them illustrates the full ministry of the Truth in our hearts and lives. It is the Lord who has given us the Truth and caused it to nourish, strengthen, refresh, cleanse us, and to serve as a protecting armor, enabling us to resist the attacks of our adversaries.


The Lord has also given us the Truth as a ‘new song,’ that by its faithful use we may ‘sing praises’ unto our God. A song, or music, suggests harmony, so by this illustration we are reminded of the wonderful harmony of the Divine plan. This harmony sounds forth from the ‘instrument of ten strings,’ when it is properly played upon by one who has studied to show himself approved unto God by “rightly dividing the Word of truth.”—II Tim. 2:15

Naturally this harmonious song of praise fills our own hearts with thanksgiving to God for his loving-kindness. Spontaneously we give thanks unto him for permitting us to hear and to learn this song, especially since we realize that this great favor to sing a new song before the throne is given only to a certain class, as stated in Revelation 14:3. But our praises do not stop with giving thanks to the Giver of every good and perfect gift, for David declares that “many,” as a result of hearing this “new song” from our lips, shall “fear, and shall trust in the Lord.”—Ps. 40:3

This indicates a general proclamation of the Truth on the part of the Lord’s people. It does not say that the ‘many’ learn to sing the ‘new song’ themselves, for no one can do this except the ‘little flock;’ but they are impressed by hearing it, and are influenced to put their trust in the Lord. The thought thus illustrated is quite understandable. Very few who listen with appreciation to a trained chorus of singers presenting the “Messiah,” for example, could actually ‘sing’ this anthem of praise as it should be rendered, nevertheless, they appreciate hearing others sing it, and are fascinated and influenced by its melody and harmony.


So it is with the Truth. Only those whom the Lord draws, and to whom he extends the heavenly calling, are able to learn the new song, but as these sing it in their efforts to show forth the Lord’s praises many hear and enjoy it, and are influenced to put their trust in him. Later the Lord will have rich blessings for these, blessings of restitution, when their day of visitation comes. The fact that even now we have the privilege of bringing joy to their hearts by our singing the new song should be one of our great causes of thanksgiving, for in this respect also it is a ‘good thing’ to ‘give thanks unto the Lord.’

There is much evidence now that many are hearing and enjoying the ‘new song.’ People everywhere are losing their confidence in man’s ability to solve the present worldwide problems of earth. The foretold ‘distress of nations with perplexity’ is increasing, despite human efforts to establish peace and security. Fear is increasing as more deadly instruments of destruction are announced, and more and more people are realizing that it is futile to put their trust in armies and in armaments. So their hearts are made glad when they learn that God has a plan for the blessing of the people, to establish “the mountain of the Lord’s house.” Under the righteous administration of that kingdom, “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isa. 2:2-4) In the Lord’s providence, and as a marvelous manifestation of his grace, the Lord’s people today are having the privilege of broadcasting this information far and wide, so that the new song of praise upon our lips is helping many to put their trust in the Lord and in the fact that his long-promised kingdom soon will be established.

We know that the time has not yet come for the general enlightenment of the world. Darkness pertaining to the Divine plan still covers the earth, and gross darkness the people. Nevertheless the time is near when the light from the “Sun of righteousness” will scatter the darkness and “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Mal. 4:2, Hab. 2:14) Because this is true, the Lord is now permitting his people to bear testimony concerning the nearness of these kingdom blessings, thus giving them the opportunity of proving their love for him and their enthusiasm for his glorious plan to bless all the families of the earth.

How appropriate that this ‘witness’ to the Truth should be as a song of praise! It is not something which we do because we think the Lord requires it of us, although we do know that he wants us to do it. It is, rather, the result of a spontaneous expression of our love for him, a love which makes us desire to ‘tell the whole world these blessed tidings.’ We have learned that it is indeed a good thing thus to sing his praises, not merely one day in the year, but every day, and in whatever way we are given the privilege of singing the ‘new song.’


We do not know how much longer we will have the privilege publicly of singing the new song over the radio, TV, or on the Internet, by means of the printed page or personal witnessing. It is a cause for thanksgiving that in America and certain other parts of the world there is liberty to proclaim the message of the kingdom.

As the ‘dark night’ of world distress settles down more and more over the earth, we should not be surprised if liberty to sing the new song should be restricted in the future. It is appropriate that those of us who have this opportunity make the best possible use of it while it is ours. We should be thankful for the privilege we enjoy of meeting together to show forth his praises.

We realize that when the dark night has settled upon the whole earth it will mean that the glorious kingdom of light will be nearer. We can be thankful for whatever experiences the Lord may have for us along this line. We know that if we are faithful to him, it will be our privilege later to be associated with the Master in the glorious work of enlightening the whole world of mankind. Then we will be able to accomplish all things.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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