I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High.” [Psalm 9:1, 2.]
We should ever remember that thanksgiving is the fruit of true, willing obedience. The Lord is the object of our worship, and to praise his holy name shows respect for his efficiency. God says, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.” [Psalm 50:23.] “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” [Hebrews 11:1.] Faith relies upon God as being able and willing to save to the uttermost all who come to him. As we speak of God’s power, we show that we appreciate the love that is so constantly shown us, that we are grateful for the mercies and favors bestowed on us, and that the whole soul is awakened to a realization of God’s glory.
The absence of praise and thanksgiving pleases the enemy of God. The line of demarcation between those who utter the holy name of God in blasphemy, and those who praise him with heart and with voice, is clear and distinct. He who is truly converted will glorify God as he beholds the wonderful things of his creation, the brightness of the sun, moon, and stars, the changing beauty of the heavens. To him all nature will declare God’s mighty power. He will be led to give glory to his holy name. . . .
What God Does for Us
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. . . . I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. . . . When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.” [Isaiah 41:10, 13, 14, 17–20.]
What greater encouragement and assurance than this could the Lord give his loyal, commandment-keeping people? Have we not every reason for changing our attitude toward God? Is it not our duty to show the world that we appreciate the love of Christ? As we produce the fruit of thanksgiving, we bear living evidence that by connection with Christ we are placed on vantage ground. God is the fountain of life and power. He can make the wilderness a fruitful field for those who keep his commandments; for it is for the glory of his name to do this. Thus he witnesses to Christianity. He has done for his chosen people that which should inspire every heart with praise and thanksgiving; and it grieves him that so little praise is offered. He desires to have a stronger expression of praise from his people, showing that they know they have reason for manifesting joy and gladness.
What We Should Do
The people of God need to be aroused to let their light shine forth. Christ said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] God’s people should be an animated people, filled with joy and gladness because they behold him who is invisible to the eyes of the world.
Our tongues should be used to express the appreciation in our hearts for God’s goodness. Thus God requires us to return to him gratitude offerings. But this is not the only way in which we are to praise God. We are to praise him by tangible service, by doing all we can to advance the glory of his name. By improving our intrusted talents, we are to offer God thanksgiving.
We are to glorify God by keeping his commandments. Christ said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world can not receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” [John 14:15–19.] How plain is the distinction here drawn between the two classes. Worldlings place their whole attention upon the gaining of worldly advantages. The mind is filled with the selfish thought, How can I secure these advantages for myself? How can I obtain more money? This is the god man worships. Men do not stop to think of the riches of which no earthly power can deprive them. They see not Christ, neither know him. They do not realize their great need of a Redeemer. They do not pray. They put Christ out of their lives as much as possible.
One with Christ
“But ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” [John 14:19.] Christ is with his children, enlightening their minds and leading them to call upon him. As they do this, he hears their prayers and purifies their hearts. They see him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. They do not walk in accordance with the ways of the world. They ask God for Christ’s sake to help them, and they receive the help they ask for. They are gifted by God with power to see the love and wonderful charms of Christ. They can never feel lonely or comfortless.
“At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” [John 14:20–22.] Let all mark the answer. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” [John 14:23.] Wonderful indeed is this promise. Do we comprehend it? When a man becomes one with Christ, he has the mind of Christ. He is no longer antagonistic to God’s law, but lives in obedience to all his commandments. He walks in the footsteps of the Saviour.
Cross of Salvation
But should he walk regretfully, because in his union with Christ he is called upon to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice? Think of what the Prince of heaven did to manifest his love for the Father and for us. He resigned his position as Commander in the heavenly courts, and clothed his divinity with humanity, that humanity might lay hold of humanity, and divinity grasp the throne of the Infinite. This he did to perfect the redemption of the human race. Those who receive him are adopted into the royal family as sons and daughters of God. They are made heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, to an immortal inheritance. Have they any cause for regret?
Christ has declared that the cross which makes the line of demarcation between his people and the world so distinct is not a cross of discouragement, but a cross of salvation. Love for the Saviour will lead us to acknowledge this. God has given human beings all that ministers to their happiness, and in return he asks them to lay their gifts and offerings on his altar. Shall we disregard this requirement? Shall we fail of offering God praise and thanksgiving in word and deed?
Review and Herald, November 20, 1900.