He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me. – Psalms 50:23
8 I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offerings you constantly offer.
9 But I do not need the bulls from your barns or the goats from your pens.
10 For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it.
13 Do I eat the meat of bulls? Do I drink the blood of goats?
14 Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
What Is Gratitude?
Gratitude is a spontaneous feeling. However, it is also true that we can make a conscious choice to be grateful. Studies show that people can deliberately cultivate gratitude. Counting one’s blessings creates inward spiritual benefit. Further there are important social and personal advantages in doing so. Gratitude generates a positive climate that both reaches inward and extends outward. It lifts one’s mood and spirit.
Gratitude matters. Over time, feeling grateful boosts one’s mood and spirit and fosters both physical and psychological well-being. Studies show that practicing gratitude curbs the use of words expressing negative emotions. It also shifts inner attention away from such negative emotions as resentment and envy. It minimizes the tendency to ruminate about negative things.
People who are grateful feel less pain, less stress, suffer insomnia less, have stronger immune systems, experience healthier relationships, and do better academically and professionally. Overall it can boost both your mental and your physical health.
To cultivate gratitude begin by noticing and acknowledging goodness in life all around you. (psychologytoday.com/us/basics/gratitude)
Gratitude opens our hearts to find encouragement in the Father’s goodness.
The Father is not impressed by material things nor does He need them. He created everything that is. All animals already belong to Him. Sacrifices of crops or animals are essentially meaningless to the Father. He is not hungry or thirsty. He is not like the gods found in the mythology of the ancient near east. Pagan gods would go hungry if they did not receive the offerings of food of their followers. The one true living God that His children worship does not eat animals that are sacrificed. He has no physical needs.
But there is something He desires from His children: gratitude. There is no Hebrew word which is typically translated gratitude. Hebrew has many words for thanksgiving and praise. A sacrifice of thankfulness is what He seeks.
Psalms 50:14 Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
Thankfulness is not about doing; it is about being. Thankfulness should be the attitude of every child of the King. It is expressed through praise and worship.
Gratitude is the “Natural expression of thanks in response to blessings, protection, or love. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, gratitude is not a tool used to manipulate the will of God. It is never coerced or fabricated in one’s mind; rather, gratitude is a joyful commitment of one’s personality to God. . .”
“For Jews, every aspect of creation provided evidence of God’s lordship over all life. The Hebrew people thanked him for the magnificence of the universe (Psalms 19:1-4; 33:6-9; 104:1-24). When they received good news, they thanked God for his goodness and great deeds (1 Chronicles 16:8-12). When they received bad news, they also gave thanks, trusting that he was a just God (Job 1:21)” (Tyndale Bible dictionary).
The Father wants us to give Him our hearts and in the lives in gratitude for all that He is, and all that He has done, and all that He is doing for us. This is how we honor Him.
The Father designed us so that wholehearted, fervent, unconditional gratitude helps our spirits thrive. Gratitude is nourishment for our souls.
The people offering sacrifices in Psalms 50 were extremely religious. But their practices were entirely external and not heartfelt. “theirs was a ‘mindless’ religion” (Kidner).
They act as though they are doing the Father favor by bringing Him animal sacrifices. These superficial “worshipers” totally missed the point of offering sacrifices. They were not designed to provide the Father with food. Why would the living God need food? How ridiculous. Thanksgiving and gratitude benefit those expressing it. The animal sacrificial system was a means whereby they could express gratitude. They were intended to be an outward expression of an inward reality.
REFLECT & PRAY
Gratitude begins when we realize that “God loves us just the way we are, but too much to let us stay that way” (Dr. Scott Hahn).
Father allow me to pause and see all of the good, delightful, enjoyable things which You have intelligently designed. Teach me to express gratitude to You from my heart for Who You are, what You do, and what You are individually doing for me day by day.
Psalms 50:12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.
“If anyone said this but God, we would consider Him arrogant. God has no needs, and we do not make up for any divine deficiencies through our service. But because He loves us, He invites us to serve Him” (Stanley).
“God wanted His people to look to Him for their needs, and when He provided He wanted them to honor Him with gratitude. In other words, He wanted them to enjoy a vital relationship with Himself, not just a formal one in which He was their God and they were His people” (Constable).
True worship involves the heart and the mind, a recognition of the Father’s Majesty and a response to His goodness. Our conscious awareness of who and what He is can only result in our praising Him in a true spirit of thankfulness. In all of this, it is not that God needs our praise. But we need to know and to honor Him as God. Our praise then becomes the overflow of this recognition.
Call upon me in the day of trouble. What gracious words! In difficult times, the Father says simply, “Call upon me.” When we call upon Him, we demonstrate faith and our dependence upon Him. But not only is the Father willing to help; He is desirous of doing so for those who ask.
Perhaps many of us have shared the sentiment of the person who said: “I do not go where I am not wanted.” The Father does not intrude where He is not wanted. Those who ignores Him our free to go their own way.
But anyone who responds to the Father is invited to call on Him, in the assurance that they will be heard: “I will deliver you.” They submit themselves to the Father’s care and experiences the deliverance He alone can provide. It is in this way that His people bring glory to Him (Tesh and Zorn).