Day 5

Worship Through Gratitude

1 Chronicles 16:4-36, Ezra 3:10-11, Psalm 136:1-26

BY Melanie Rainer

In college, I was part of a university ministry that had been led in faithfulness by the same pastor for many years, and he still leads it to this day: a picture of steadfast commitment and fruit-bearing that can only come from a long obedience in the same direction (to borrow a book title from the late Eugene Peterson).

Three years ago, we gathered with alumni and supporters to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of this faithful, beloved ministry. We took turns sharing memories and singing hymns, but the wind that blew through the whole evening was one of corporate gratitude: together, thanking God for His indescribable gift, we worshiped in song and story, in thanksgiving and praise. We thanked God for what He had done, and what we knew He would continue to do.

Each of today’s passages from Scripture highlights corporate gratitude expressed in worship. In 1 Chronicles 16, David institutes the daily practice of thanksgiving, commissioning Asaph to lead the community in worship. David decrees his song of thanks in verses 8–36, which is then reflected in parts of Psalms 96, 105, and 106.

The structure of David’s song matches the content of Psalm 136 incredibly closely, and there’s a lot to be gleaned from what David thanks the Lord for and in what order.

In Psalm 136, we see the creation story unfold with a refrain about God’s everlasting love: He made the heavens, He spread the land on the water, He hung the sun and the moon and dotted the stars. Then we read, with the same call-and-response pattern, how He saved the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, struck down evil kings to protect His people, and gave them a homeland. The same themes leap off the page in 1 Chronicles 16, and they are cues we can take into our daily practice of worship and gratitude.

It’s interesting to me in that 1 Chronicles 16, David doesn’t specifically thank God for what had just happened: the bringing of the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem. They worshipped at the ark, where God dwelled, but their gratitude was cosmic in scale. It was not, “Thank You for what You did today, for this one specific thing we have to celebrate.” It was, and perhaps should usually be, “Thank You for who You have always been, for how You have loved Your people since the beginning of time.”

In corporate worship, in private prayer, in the smallest moments, and the most earth-shattering ones, we always have reason to thank God for what He has done and what we know He will do. Whether or not we feel grateful or not, whether or not we feel worshipful, there is always reason to worship in gratitude: because His faithful love endures forever.

Post Comments (18)

18 thoughts on "Worship Through Gratitude"

  1. Kimiark says:

    Maura, praying for you, your daughter, and the new baby.

  2. Maura says:

    Worship God for who He has always been and what He has always done. Amen! We, I seem to focus on the circumstances and our feelings in the struggles and battles we daily face. When the Lord is constant in His faithfulness, lovingkindness, mercy and grace. God help me to be focused on your incredible attributes that never change. Help me to remember who you have always been, how You have always provided for me. Please pray for my daughter, she is about to have a baby, she is not communicating with me right now. It has been complicated, our relationship, bent and twisted by life in many ways. I am trusting God, knowing He is watching over her. My prayer would be for His provision and though I am not there that she would know and feel God’s love overwhelming in her heart as she brings this new baby into the world. Also that she would remember and know the truth of my love for her. Thank you Sisters. Joy to your day.

    1. Melissa Graves says:

      Praying your daughter is overwhelmed by the love and grace of God.

  3. Cayley Causey says:

    Every time I read Psalm 136, two things hit me all over again. 1. EVERYTHING He does is done out of LOVE. Isn’t that amazing? Even when we read some of judgement on the evil (verses 10-22), we see that even that is done because of His love. That is hard to understand, but is is true. 2. How different would my life be if I really believed that I am loved steadfastly and forever?

  4. Michelle Martin says:

    When I was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago, I had a 13-month old and had to put on hold our plans to try to grow our family. A wise leader at church had advised me to keep praying prayers of thanksgiving through the 8-month long ordeal of treatment. I had no idea how at the beginning of that journey. This Psalm of David reflects what I learned. Give thanks in all things. God is always good, and God is always present, even in the midst of the valleys. Sometimes today I forget the importance of this practice still. Thankful for this reading and reminder to walk this Walk in gratitude.

  5. Erica Chiarelli says:

    Our God is great & greatly to be praised! ❣

  6. Natalie Rose says:

    I love today’s reading! Gratitude has been on my mind a lot this past few days as something I need to express more frequently. Not just the obvious stuff like an unexpected gift or kindness, but the things we take for granted such as breathing, sight, the beauty of nature or the vastness of the night sky. I am grateful Lord, thank you, thank you, thank you.

  7. Churchmouse says:

    His work. His wonders. His judgments.

    David, in 1 Chronicles 16:12, would have us remember all three with gratitude. Gratitude is perhaps the purest form of worship. As we remember what He has done, we are reminded more clearly of Who He is. Our God is intimately involved in the lives of His created. We look at His works and His wonders and we see His heart. We look at His judgments and we see absolute justice. We give thanks to the Lord for He. Is. Good. Indeed His faithful love endures forever.

    Amen and praise the Lord!

  8. Kristen says:

    Our pastors wife said to replace the lines inPsalm 136 with specific things God has done in our lives, and keep His love endures forever! Also the first scripture brings this song we used to sing to memory:
    (Let the Heavens rejoice and the earth be glad.) I couldn’t get a different version, but found the on above,

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