We are sometimes told that giving thanks is such a simple thing to do. But it is not always so. Sometimes thankfulness comes very hard. The biblical writers knew this and spoke on occasion of the sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise. The Scripture issues a call to such a sacrifice and gives us examples. Let’s begin in Psalm 50 and make three giant leaps across time.
From the wrong side of obedience comes a call to such sacrifice. Psalm 50:14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Psalm 50 is a stirring call for the people of God to awaken from their ritualistic stupor and recognize again the greatness of God. God reminded them of the divine order of things in verse 15. Psalm 50:15 call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. Saved people are thankful people, even when the thanksgiving comes hard for other reasons. They know who keeps them. Now leap across 65 psalms and plant yourself in Psalm 116.
From the right side of salvation comes a response. Psalm 116:12-13, 17 What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD… I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. The psalmist had been delivered from a certain death (116:3). Greater still, he had been assured that even in death, God would not forget him. Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. This salvation, this knowledge and assurance made him ready to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Now leap across a vast track of time to the book of Hebrews.
From the other side of the cross comes a renewed call to make this sacrifice. Hebrews 13:15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. “Him” refers to Jesus, the one who never leaves nor forsakes (13:5), the one who is the same all the days and eternally (13:8), the one who went outside the camp to suffer for our salvation (13:12). All of which is excellent ground for the sacrifice of praise. Then one last leap over an unknown time and beyond sacrifice.
From the other side of time… Revelation 7:11-12 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” I am not sure whether thanksgiving in heaven can be regarded as sacrifice. I will have to go and see. You are invited too.
What a wonderful Savior he is! John 3:16.