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. Kirsten Murphy says:

    Hiking in Zion National Park, Utah this week with the family…and let me tell you!!! Reading these verses with THIS backdrop is awe-inspiring. Wish I could post a picture so you all could see what I’m seeing. Indeed, his works are marvelous. Thank you lord for a beautiful home.

  2. NanaK says:

    “Sing to him; sing praise to Him; tell about all His wondrous works!” 1 Chronicles 16:9
    In the midst of an especially hot summer, with daily heat advisories, I have a cool home and place of work; nearly three years after a serious car accident when my oldest granddaughter broke her neck, she is healthy and vibrant and dancing; a year after my oldest daughter’s marriage was torn apart by her husband’s PTSD and alcohol abuse, they have celebrated their 11th wedding anniversary; and each day, I am honored and blessed to be married to my best friend and the most thoughtful husband!
    I absolutely give thanks, and honor to the LORD, for HE is good!!!!!

  3. Lynda Manders says:

    Amen ❤️

  4. Pam K says:

    I can always use a reminder about gratefulness. The scriptures helped me remember to look at the Big Picture of God at work along with the small things. We are in what has been a long season of managing care for two elderly parents. It is definitely a long obedience and some days I get discouraged and weary of it. The reading today was what I needed to refocus. The Lord is faithful and His love endures. I want to be grateful for this time in our lives.

  5. Mari V says:

    I’m thankful today for all that my God has done, all that HE continues to do, and all of what HE’s yet to do. I say this to my kids all the time. Even in the hard times there is something to be learned and I know God will use it for HIS greater purpose. My daughter is getting her testimony together and will be sharing it with her youth group on September 5th. Please pray for her. She’s going to speaking of her hard times and where she is today. She is praying that this will help somebody else that could be going through or has been through what she’s been through. I have to remind myself she is still a young teenager (13) and has a lot of growing to do. But has grown so much these past two years. I’m thankful that I am in a healthy environment to where I can be patient with her and stay silent at times and talk to God about it. Yes, HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER. His love never changes. I am grateful!

  6. Melissa Graves says:

    I am in awe of Him. I Praise and bless your holy name, oh Lord!

  7. Terri says:

    His faithful love endures forever. God created time. His love is beyond time.

  8. Nancy Hubbard says:

    Amen!

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