The word thanks may be one of the most widely used words in the English language—or any language for that matter. To say thanks is to acknowledge gratitude for the generosity of another. In this psalm, however, we may better translate the word thanks as “praise.” When we offer praise we go beyond merely saying thanks. We express more than gratitude; we express worship. Worship involves bowing down before God, demonstrating that we acknowledge God as ruler of the universe. God is God and we are not.
The psalmist wants us to sing songs of praise and worship that honor the Lord, that communicate extreme appreciation for God’s active involvement in redeeming humans, that reveal to the outside world God’s love for all humanity. God is an ever- lasting presence whose love compels human beings to love God in return and love others as a result of God’s love for us.
God’s great activity of redemption displayed through God’s mighty works of miracles, wonders, judgments draw God’s worshipers to “seek his face,” to live in continuous pursuit of God’s presence, to remember all that God has done for human- kind—and for us personally. We worship God most fully when we obey God’s laws. God has faithfully kept the everlasting covenant with us. What results from that covenant? Land, por- tion, inheritance. The psalmist recalls Israel’s salvation history of miraculous action, faith in God’s promises, a future of hope, and lives of well-being. “Praise the LORD.”
Help me, God, to move past a flippant “thanks” to you and replace it with songs of praise that emerge from my faithful obedience. Amen.
In the Genesis text, Jacob the trickster is tricked. Yet through a combination of patience and perseverance he ultimately wins Rachel, which sets the stage for all that follows in the story of Abraham’s family. Psalm 105 addresses a forgetful community that has lost touch with the God of the Exodus. Remembering becomes a powerful experience when it focuses on both God’s actions and God’s judgments. Romans 8 also serves as a reminder of God’s way, of God’s movements from knowledge to action, from saving grace to promised glory. The scribe of Matthew’s short parable brings out of the store- house both what is new and what is old. There is no true future without a remembrance of the past.
• Read Genesis 29:15-28. When have you experienced a setback due to poor treatment at the hands of someone you trusted? What did you learn?
• Read Psalm 105:1-11, 45b. How do you “seek God’s face”? How do you offer thanks to God?
• Read Romans 8:26-39. Consider Paul’s three questions and formulate a one- or two-sentence answer of your own.
• Read Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52. How do the parables about what the kingdom of God is like surprise you? How do they shock you?
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