Thankful Worship

So many of the hymns we sing are about blessings. Count Your Blessings, O Thou Fount Of Every Blessing, Blessed Assurance, Amazing Grace, The Love Of God, and Come Ye Thankful People, Come are just a few such hymns.

This past week the national holiday of Thanksgiving was observed. Thanksgiving is special and unique for those who have responded to the gospel call. Being born anew (John 3.3-5) is in itself a blessing of blessings. Our worship is to be performed with thanksgiving (Hebrews 13.15). Thanksgiving is a part of our prayers (1 Corinthians 14.16; 1 Timothy 2.1). Our contributions to the gospel cause are to be given with thankfulness (2 Corinthians 9.7). We abound with thanks every Sunday as we observe the Lord’s Supper because of redemption and forgiveness we have by his body and his blood (Colossians 1.14). Our fellowship with God and one another is made possible by the preaching of the gospel for which we abound with thanksgiving (Philippians 1.5; 4.15).

Although other passages could be added to these, all of them would fit the summation made by the apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1.3-4: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that tis in the world through lust.” For these, all who are in Christ are blessed above and beyond all others.

In view of these promises mentioned by Peter, how might GOd’s people thank God for them? The prophet Micah asked this same question years ago when he wrote, “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?” (Micah 6.6). God’s answer has resounded throughout scripture. It needs proclaimed again and again by his people today: “GOD HAS TOLD YOU O MAN!” Micah goes on to say, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? The voice of the Lord cries to the city — and it is sound wisdom to fear your name. Hear the rod and of him who appointed it!” (Micah 6.6-8). In all these things which God has told us lay two paths: They are called “the way of life and the way of death” (Jeremiah 21.8) and “life and prosperity or death and adversity” (Deuteronomy 30.15). We need to choose the path of life as we thank God for his blessings, for we can follow a path of death if we don’t do as God has told us. It may seem strange that our expressions of thanksgiving could actually be sinful, but that is exactly what God has “told us” in his word. We exercise wisdom when we thank him as he has ordained.

We find from Romans 1.21 that in being unthankful, we fail to glorify God. We also fail to glorify God when we disregard what God has declared about expressing thanksgiving. As this relates to worship, many disregard God’s instructions on assembling. The rationale is that “I can worship God in my own way or on my own.” It needs to be remembered that God has decreed that his people come together to give him thanks. This is why we read of the solemn assemblies of the children of Israel under the Law (Leviticus 23.36; Numbers 29.35; Deuteronomy 16.8). God commanded his people to come together for worship!

In the Psalms we find repeated mention of God’s people assembling:

I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you, that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
Psalm 66.13-14

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Psalm 95.1-2

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
Psalm 100.4

God has ordained for the church to assemble for worship today. We find examples of the church assembling in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 11.17-18,24,33; 14.23,26; Colossians 4.16; 1 Thessalonians 5.27). The singing we read of in Ephesians 5.19 and Colossians 3.16 cannot teach and admonish one another apart from being assembled together. This is why we find in Hebrews 10.25 these words: “…not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Let us express our thankfulness to God in the greatest way possible: doing what the Lord requires.