Monday, October 12, 2015

Thanks to God for what is and what is not yet

Grape vines loaded with purple grapes
"Then the earth shall yield her increase" - Psalm 67:6

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 67:1-7

TO CHEW ON: "Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You." Psalm 67:3,5

This is Thanksgiving Monday in Canada. We are admonished by many voices to have a thankful attitude. But there is a curious lack in speaking of who to thank.

I suppose that's not surprising. In a society that has largely abandoned a belief in God, or at least in a God who is involved and interested in our personal lives, who or what is there to thank? Our lucky stars, a rabbit foot, the feng shui of our house?

The praise in this psalm is not a peon to capricious good luck, however, but to God—the God of creation, of covenant with forefathers, of story and history, of redemption, salvation, reclamation, and righteous endings. This is the God I too praise and thank.

As I read and re-read Psalm 67 I sense inner affirmation but also tension. Two of the things the psalmist names I can say a big "Yes" to:
- Thanks for salvation (Psalm 67:1,2).
- Thanks for the abundance that fills my life (Psalm 67:5-7).

But the middle item:
"O let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth."
raises objections. So many nations are not glad or singing for joy. Where is God, the righteous judge, in those places?  What if I lived in one of them? How would I testify to the truth of this?

I suppose we need to focus on the little word "shall" here ("For you shall judge the people righteously…"). It tells us this is something that hasn't happened yet but is still in the future. And so our thanksgiving becomes a matter of praising God not only for what we have, but for what we still look for Him, in faith, to be and do.

PRAYER: Dear God, we thank You that Your actions in the past have given us confidence to put our faith in You for the present and future. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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