I can honestly say Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. I say that not just because of all the good food I get to eat – my wife, Rachel, is a great cook and my daughter, Lauren, loves to bake – I can’t wait to eat her pumpkin chocolate chip cookies – they’re the best! I also enjoy time off from work and just being able to be with family and friends is such a blessing. Living in Canton, Ohio, home of the Football Hall of Fame, I also like to sit back in my recliner and watch some football.
But the main reason Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year is because it forces me to sit back and reflect on all the wonderful things the Lord has done in my life and ministry over this past year. This is something God’s people have been doing for centuries – pausing to remember, reflect, and recount all that God has done. Psalm 105 is what we call one of the “historical psalms.” It’s called that because the psalmist looks back over the history of Israel and reflects on how good and faithful God had been to them as a nation.
As you read Psalm 105 you’ll notice how the psalmist takes the nation of Israel down “memory lane.” He begins to remind them of all the incredible things God did for them. God gave them the Abrahamic Covenant and reiterated that covenant with Isaac and Jacob. God had sovereignly worked through the life of Joseph to preserve His chosen people. Next he talks about Moses, the plagues of Egypt, and how the Israelites were delivered from bondage. Then the psalmist reflects on how God led the Israelites through the wilderness with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He then proceeds to recall how God fed them with quail meat, manna from above, and quenched their thirst with water from the rock. Finally, he reminds them how God had given them the Promised Land – the land of Canaan.
One thing you can’t help but notice as you read Psalm 105 is the psalmist is not focusing on what they as a people had done, but rather his focus was on what God had done. God had been good to them! God had been faithful to them! God had been gracious to them! God had delivered them time and time again! God had provided for all of their needs! Someone has well said, “When you look back over history, you will quickly see that it is truly “His story.” In other words, as we take a trip down “memory lane,” we can’t help but see God’s hand at work all along the way. It’s really never been about us, but about God accomplishing His sovereign plan in us and through us for His glory.
So, as we reflect over this past year and we remember all the great things God has done in our lives and ministry, how should we respond? Well, in the first five verses of Psalm 105, the psalmist gives us nine ways – be thankful, call upon His name, make known what He has done, sing to Him, talk about what He’s done, give Him the glory, rejoice, seek Him, and continue to remember. But the number one way to respond is “O give thanks unto the LORD.” Looking back should cause us to look up and give thanks to the Lord.
I must confess that generally speaking, I’m not always the most thankful person that I should be. Instead I often find myself whining and complaining about something that’s happened or not happened. I have a horrible tendency to focus on the burdens instead of the blessings, the cup half empty instead of the cup half full, and all I don’t have instead of all I do have. But it’s the Thanksgiving season that reminds me of the importance of taking a journey down “memory lane” and reflecting on the goodness and grace of God in my life. He’s done so much for me…how can I not be grateful!
So let me encourage you to go down “memory lane” and remember, reflect, and recount all that God has done for you over this past year. I think your response will be the last statement that the psalmist makes in Psalm 105, “Praise ye the LORD.”