Let Us Give Thanks – by Milton Hook

Nov 3, 2015 2315

ThanksIn the Hebrew mind there were three unbearable catastrophes, even four. They did not experience floods or bushfires. Earthquakes were extremely rare. But foreign conquests brought retreat to the desert, or languishing in prison chains, or refuge on the high seas with all its dangers, even disease that turned individuals off their food and brought death by starvation.

Psalm 107 speaks of these disasters:

     Some wandered in desert wastelands,

finding no way to a city where they could settle.

They were hungry and thirsty,

and their lives ebbed away.

     Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom,

prisoners suffering in iron chains.

     Others went out on the sea in ships, ….

They mounted up to the heavens

and went down to the depths;

in their peril their courage melted away….

They were at their wit’s end.

     Some … suffered affliction….

They loathed all food

and drew near the gates of death.

It is graphic language broken four times by the remarkable refrain:

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love

and His wonderful deeds for men (vs.8, 15, 21, 31).

Who were constrained to give thanks? It was those who survived the horrors, “those He redeemed from the hand of the foe, those He gathered … from east and west, from north and south” (vs.2, 3). After the enemy (possibly the Assyrians or Babylonians) had swept across Palestine, scattering the Hebrews, God redeemed a remnant from the Diaspora and brought them home. The psalm was sung with compelling conviction. In all their troubles they saw a God whose “love endures forever” (v.1).

Paul extended those sentiments, finding that same love in Jesus and applying it to all circumstances. It was a love for those experiencing catastrophes in addition to those who either survived them or were snuffed out by them. “In all these things [troubles or disasters],” he wrote, “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord ” (Rom.8: 37-39).

Let us give thanks because God’s love knows no boundaries. It does not discriminate. It is present in prosperity and adversity. It never forgets. It stretches beyond the grave and redeems for eternity.

­– Milton Hook July 2015

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