Thanksgiving Series: God is good

Psalm 136 can be touted as the “The Psalm of Thanks” or the “Thanksgiving Psalm.” It is a Psalm that is rich in content, apropos the character of God and since each verse in the Psalm is suffixed with “For his mercy endures forever”, it is a Psalm that is easy to read and memorize as well.

We celebrated Thanksgiving this past week and are entering into the Christmas season. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, giving thanks for the ultimate reason of sending us his only begotten Son, we will be looking at each verse in this Psalm and glean out the character of God from these verses, which would be reason enough to be grateful and give thanks to our LORD God.

Today we look at Verse 1.
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

We can give thanks because first and foremost we can see here that the Lord is GOOD. Even when man disobeyed the Lord, by eating from the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3), God did not show his bad side to man but instead channelled his wrath toward his innocent creation and cursed the land so that man need not be cursed. He further demonstrated his good side (love) toward man, so much so, that he cursed (Galatians 3:13) and poured out his only begotten son (John 3:16), forsaking him on the Cross of calvary (Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46), to bear our sin (badness) (1 Peter 2:24). O taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).

Points to ponder:
Man lost his experience of seeing the good side of God perpetually by eating from the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3). Man can regain his experience of seeing the good side of God perpetually by taking in (as in the Lord’s supper) the forsaken tree of life (which is Jesus Christ). O taste and see that the Lord God (Jesus Christ) is good.

Have you experienced the goodness of God? Even when things around and in your life don’t seem to be good, the goodness of God never wavers. O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good.

Psalm 136:1 (KJV)
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Meditate in the field (ubiquitously) at eventide (perpetually)

The Bible records that Isaac, the Son of Abraham, coming from the well Laharoi (which means well of the Living One who sees me) went out to meditate in the field at the eventide/evening (Genesis 16:14; Genesis 24:63).

From this account we can learn a few things – regarding the time and the place for our meditation.
1. Unlike most people’s habits of meditating in the morning,upon waking up, on matters of God, during one’s quiet time, Isaac, here establishes the fact that one can meditate at eventide (evening – as the darkness of the night sets in). In fact, the Psalmist writes, that Blessed in the man/woman, who meditates on the law of the Lord, day and night i.e., perpetually (Psalm 1:2).
2. Isaac, went into the field to meditate. The harvest is plentiful and the field is ready, not only for the harvest but also for our meditation. We ought to be meditating not, only in the security of our homes, but in our workplaces (fields that yield its harvest) as well. In other words, we need to be meditating at home and at work i.e., ubiquitously.

Points to ponder:
As spiritual darkness is fast approaching in the world we live in, if not already her, do we take time to meditate day and night, through dawn and dusk (eventide)? Secondly, are we going in our mission field, i.e., to the people around us, to meditate on God, at the break of day (dawn) and night (dusk)? Blessed is the man/woman who meditates on the law of the Lord, perpetually, ubiquitously.

Genesis 24:62-63 (KJV)
62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country.
63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.

Psalm 1:2 (KJV)
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

The Seed of Rebekah (& Isaac)

Before sending Rebekah to be married to Isaac, Abraham’s son, Rebekah’s family blessed her by saying that she be the mother of thousands of millions and that her seed possess the gate of those who hate them. Interestingly this blessing about the ‘seed’ is the same blessing that the Lord God directly gives to Abraham concerning his seed, referring to Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16), for his obedience.

The ‘Seed’ of Abraham through Isaac and Rebekah is the promised ‘Seed’ of the woman who would crush the head of his enemy, the ‘hater’ devil, (Genesis 3:15), against whom even the gates of hell shall not prevail (Matthew 16:18). And to all, the thousand of millions, who believe in Jesus Christ, and who have received him, he gave them the power to become the sons (children) of God (John 1:12).

Points to ponder:
Are you one of the thousand of millions who are blessed to be the child of the ‘Seed’ of Rebekah and Isaac, the ‘Seed’ who possess the gates of all his enemies? If yes, rejoice. If not, believe in Jesus and receive him as your Savior, King and Lord, today, before it is too late.

Genesis 24:59-61 (KJV)
59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men.
60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.
61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.

Will you go?

When the servant of Abraham, asked to take Rebekah back to his master, so that she could wed the master’s son, Isaac, the brother and mother of Rebekah, called Rebekah to enquire of her, if she would be willing to go. Rebekah’s response, was “I will go.” and they sent her away along with her nurse with Abraham’s servant.

Points to ponder:
When the Holy Spirit of God, wishes us to follow him to be the bride of Jesus Christ, God the Master’s Son, what is our response going to be when asked if we will go. Let our response be as that of Rebekah, willing to go. Will you go?

Genesis 24:57-59 (KJV) 
57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth.
58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.
59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men.

Hinder not God’s mission

Upon the request of Abraham’s servant to be sent back to his master, along with Rebekah, the bride-to-be of Abraham’s servant, Rebekah’s brother Laban and mother request that she stay with them for a at least ten days before they send her with him. To this the servant requested them not to hinder him, for he yearned to return to his master at the prosperity of the mission that the Lord had brought about.

Points to ponder:
One can understand Rebekah’s brother’s and mother’s familial longing to stay a little longer with her and so their request to have her stay for at least ten days with them is well founded and justifiable. However, one also ought to recognize and realize that our personal interests to hold back ones we love, which can impede and hinder God’s mission, should not be the case. We need to put our familial relationship secondary to God’s purpose. Most full time missionaries, who are forced to stay away from their families, on account of fulfilling God, the Master’s, mission, understand this, but do others who are not serving full time as missionaries also understand this? We must never hinder God’s mission.

Genesis 24:55-56 (KJV)
55 And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.
56 And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.

Back to our Master

Genesis 24:52-54 gives the account of the servant of Abraham who bows down and worships the Lord, for the Lord had brought him success in his master Abraham’s mission to find a bride for the master’s son, Isaac. After bestowing precious things and jewelry to Rebekah, the bride to be and her family, the servant resorted to eat and drink and stay the night. However, when he woke up, his first request was for him to sent back to the master.

Points to ponder:
When our mission for God, our master is fulfilled by the working of God himself in and through the situations and circumstances that surround us, giving us success, where do we choose to dwell. Often, I find myself wanting to linger in the laurels of success, failing to recognize to worship God, the giver of success and that my first request and response should be to go back to my Master God. How about you?

Genesis 24:52-54 (KJV)
52 And it came to pass, that, when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he worshipped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth.
53 And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.
54 And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master.

Oxford Word of the Year Emoji in the Bible

Face with Tears of Joy emojiFor the very first time ever, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year (2015) is not a word, but a pictograph. It is the emoji of what is officially called the “Face with Tears of Joy”. It was selected as the judges felt that it best represented the ethos, mood and preoccupations of 2015. Other contenders included the word on fleek (extremely good, attractive), refugee, Dark Web and the word they.

Noteworthily, the New Living Translation of the Bible has the phrase “Tears of Joy” recorded in Jeremiah 31. It is the chapter in which the restoration of the tribes of Israel is mentioned and starts out with God’s promise of being the God of all Israel (current day Church) and ‘they’ shall be his people. No longer shall God’s people wander waywardly in the ‘Dark Web’ of deceit spun by the devil (Revelation 12:9) but they shall take refuge in the Lord God (‘refugees’), for God shall redeem them from those too strong for them (Jeremiah 31:11). Why, because God is ‘on fleek’.

Points to ponder:
Though Oxford Dictionary chose their word of the year 2015 due to what they felt reflected the times, only those who are God’s people, i.e., those who have believed in the on fleek Jesus Christ as God’s Son, and their Lord and Savior shall have Tears of Joy. Do you?

Jeremiah 31:9 (NLT)
9 Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. For I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim (meaning the Fruitful One) is my oldest child.

Word of the Year information & image source: