This month marks that yearly tradition where we gather with friends and family around a table laden with food. For most of us, that means turkey and dressing (or stuffing, if you must), cranberry sauce, casseroles, and of course, pumpkin pie. Like the pilgrims before us, we give thanks to God for his rich blessings to us over the past year.
The holiday of Thanksgiving is an opportune time to dwell on what God has done and to give him the thanks he is due. The book of Psalms is a rich resource to aid us giving thanks, specifically the psalms of thanksgiving.
The Psalms of Thanksgiving
The book of Psalms was the hymnbook for God’s people. They used it in worship the way we use our hymnals or praise songs today. And just like music today, there were different genres or types of psalms sung at different times, depending on what was happening in the life of God’s people. The psalms of thanksgiving were one such genre and are closely tied to another genre, the psalms of lament.
When God’s people needed help and rescue, they sang a lament and cried out to God for help and mercy. These are the darkest of all the Psalms and ones where the psalmist voiced his deepest sorrows, fears, and griefs to God. “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1). After God met his people in their need and delivered them, they responded with a song of thanksgiving, thanking God for what he had done. “I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me” (Psalm 30:1).
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