Psalm 79

Psalm 79

thanks and praise

By Lindsay Acocella

“But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.” Psalm 79:13

The last few verses of Psalm 79 lay out contrasting ways that people are prone to voice their thoughts and emotions to God. Verse 12 describes those who do not fear God – those who treat God’s temple and God’s people with contempt and destruction – described as taunting God. Their words are a challenge, a rebellion against Him, almost a doubting dare for God to reveal Himself.

And yet verse 13 contrasts this sharply. Because those who belong to God – the sheep of His pasture – take a completely different tone. Their words are those of praise, even in the worst of times. The people of God, even when God seems hidden, and circumstances are tough, respond proactively with two things: thanks and praise.

Thanks. God’s people thank Him, both for what He has done and what He still will do. There is a trust expressed here – almost a “Thanks in advance” to God because of the confidence we have that God will keep His promises.

Praise. Partnered with this, God’s people praise Him. They praise who He is as the almighty, all-knowing God, who acts in accordance with His character.

The response to good times? Thanks and praise. The response to rough times? Thanks and praise. And beyond just an internal attitude, this kind of response impacts generations to come, as we talk about and live out our faith in the God who is worthy of thanks and praise. We tell about Him and how He is at work, and that kind of faith is contagious to those who come behind.

I have told my children several times over the past few months that some day they will recount to their children and grandchildren the events and circumstances of life during this global pandemic. One day, I’ve told them, you will tell the stories of finishing the school year from home, wearing a mask at the grocery store, seeing friends only on zoom, having a drive-by birthday parade in place of a party – all of these will be a grand adventure to recount someday. Thinking ahead to the future and trusting that God will see us through has taken our focus off of what is hard right now and placed it on the faithfulness of God. Life will be different when we make it through this season. It’s a perspective that is confident that God will see us through, that we will grow through this, that the future will be a time to give thanks for how we saw God work right now.

How will you give God “thanks in advance” today? How will you praise the Lord? And who around you will see that thanks and praise in your life?

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