“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses. And He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city for a dwelling place. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:6-9).
Henry Ward Beecher once said, “If one should give me a dish of sand and tell me there were particles of iron in it, I might look for them with my eyes and search for them with my clumsy fingers and be unable to detect them; but let me take a magnet and sweep through it and now would it draw to itself the almost invisible particles by the mere power of attraction. The unthankful heart, like my finger in the sand, discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings”.
Ingratitude towards God is something with which mankind has struggled. Recall out of the 10 lepers Jesus healed, only one returned to say thank you (Luke 17:12-19). Failure to be thankful is a reason men depart from following after God: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:20-22). Notice that at the time when they knew God, they failed to glorify Him and be thankful to Him. This led to their hearts being darkened and their departing from God. No wonder in the New Testament Christians are often reminded “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
In Psalm 107, four times we see the statement, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31). This statement follows several examples of God’s work on behalf of His people. This statement follows: (1) After He redeemed His people from the hand of the enemy and fed and clothed them (Psalm 107:2-7), (2) After He had delivered those who cried unto Him after being punished by Him for their rebellion against Him (Psalm 107:10-14, 16-20), and (3) After He had calmed the storm and delivered sailors who had cried to Him in the midst of the storm (Psalm 107:23-30).
This emphasis upon our giving thanks to the Lord for His goodness and His wonderful work on behalf of the children of men is made because the Lord knows we struggle with remembering to give thanks. We are often tempted to take all the blessings of the Lord for granted. This type of attitude can lead to our heart becoming darkened (Romans 1:21). On the other hand, remembering to give thanks to the Lord for all his goodness towards us is a wise path to take: “Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord” (Psalm 107:43).
Today, I do not want to take God’s blessings for granted. Like the magnet sweeping through the sand attracting the iron particles to it, I want to challenge myself to search for God’s blessings every hour of the day. As the psalmist in Psalm 107 shows, the blessings of God are numerous. They are not difficult to find. The difficulty lies in my heart becoming so distracted by this world and its cares that I can fail to take the time to express to God how thankful I am for how He has enriched my life!
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is , the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15).