Give thanks: in the good, in the bad, in the average

Do you ever wonder what God’s will is for your life?

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us the answer. “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 
    • This verse tells us that one part of God’s will for our lives is for us to give thanks in all circumstances. Did you get that? ALL circumstances. The good, the bad, and in the average. That pretty much sums up all of our days. We have days we’re really high and we have days we’re really low. Then we have days that are kind of meh. They’re average. We’re called to give thanks in all of these seasons. 
  • We’re going to look at a person in the Bible and how he did that pretty well. 
    • David! What do you know about David?
    • David was a guy in the Old Testament. He defeated Goliath and king of Israel. In 1 Sam. 13:14, David was described as “man after God’s own heart.”But David had some bad days, too. He committed adultery, killed some people he shouldn’t have, and disobeyed God. 
    • The psalms are where David wrote down songs and his thoughts about what he was going through.

THE GOOD

  • The first circumstance we’re going to look at is the good, and it’s in Psalm 30. 

A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple.[b] Of David.

1 I will exalt you, Lord,

    for you lifted me out of the depths

    and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,

    and you healed me.

3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;

    you spared me from going down to the pit.

4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;

    praise his holy name.

5 For his anger lasts only a moment,

    but his favor lasts a lifetime;

weeping may stay for the night,

    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

6 When I felt secure, I said,

    “I will never be shaken.”

7 Lord, when you favored me,

    you made my royal mountain[c] stand firm;

but when you hid your face,

    I was dismayed.

8 To you, Lord, I called;

    to the Lord I cried for mercy:

9 “What is gained if I am silenced,

    if I go down to the pit?

Will the dust praise you?

    Will it proclaim your faithfulness?

10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;

    Lord, be my help.”

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;

    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

    Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

  • Background: Scholars think David wrote this psalm after dedicating the site for the temple of God to be built. Right before that, David took a census of the people, and God didn’t like that. God punished David by sending a plague that killed a lot of people. Thankfully, God stopped the plague, and when he did, David went and dedicated a spot where the temple was going to be at. 
  • In verses 2&3, David recognizes the Lord’s help and how He saved him. He gave the Lord the credit. 
    • In all of our successes, whether earthly or eternal, we have to praise the Lord. If we make a good grade or win the volleyball game, we have to praise Him. If our friend comes to church or comes to know the Lord, or we start getting discipled, we have to praise the Lord. 
  • In verse 11&12, David says “You have clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.” 
    • Our victories have a purpose -> to glorify Him! When we’re having a good day, thank the Lord for it and tell others. 

THE BAD

  • Bum bum bummmmm. Now we’re going to look at the bad in Psalm 57. 

For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam.[b] When he had fled from Saul into the cave.

1 Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,

    for in you I take refuge.

I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings

    until the disaster has passed.

2 I cry out to God Most High,

    to God, who vindicates me.

3 He sends from heaven and saves me,

    rebuking those who hotly pursue me—[c]

    God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.

4 I am in the midst of lions;

    I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—

men whose teeth are spears and arrows,

    whose tongues are sharp swords.

5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;

    let your glory be over all the earth.

6 They spread a net for my feet—

    I was bowed down in distress.

They dug a pit in my path—

    but they have fallen into it themselves.

7 My heart, O God, is steadfast,

    my heart is steadfast;

    I will sing and make music.

8 Awake, my soul!

    Awake, harp and lyre!

    I will awaken the dawn.

9 I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;

    I will sing of you among the peoples.

10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;

    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;

    let your glory be over all the earth.

  • Background: Before David was king, there was another king named Saul who was really jealous of David and wanted to kill him. So, in this moment, David was in a cave hiding from Saul. Pretty rough. 
  • David doesn’t push aside the trial. In verses 4&6, he clearly lays out what is going on in his life and he tells God about it. 
    • Sometimes when we are going through a trial and having a bad day and we pray to God, we like to pretend it’s not there. We sweep it under the rug and try to pretend everything is okay. But we have to be honest with God about what we’re going through. He already knows anyway. He wants us to be honest with him. 
  • In verses 2&3, David recognized how God would save him from that bad circumstance. He knew who God was and that He would rescue Him. 
    • We have to do the same. We have to remember God’s power and remind ourselves of it. In the middle of our bad week, month, or season, we have to turn our focus to who our God is and declare that He will save us. 
    • This is the LAST thing we want to do in a trial, but we have to train ourselves to do it. We want to mope, but David challenges us to shift our focus. 
  • David’s honesty with God and His knowledge of God’s power produced thanksgiving in verses 9&10. 
    • We have to learn to thank God in our caves and believe that He will provide help to get us out of them. 

THE AVERAGE

  • This is real life, y’all. This is the majority of our days. The normal, the day-to-day is represented in Psalm 98

A psalm.

1 Sing to the Lord a new song,

    for he has done marvelous things;

his right hand and his holy arm

    have worked salvation for him.

2 The Lord has made his salvation known

    and revealed his righteousness to the nations.

3 He has remembered his love

    and his faithfulness to Israel;

all the ends of the earth have seen

    the salvation of our God.

4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,

    burst into jubilant song with music;

5 make music to the Lord with the harp,

    with the harp and the sound of singing,

6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—

    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,

    the world, and all who live in it.

8 Let the rivers clap their hands,

    let the mountains sing together for joy;

9 let them sing before the Lord,

    for he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness

    and the peoples with equity.

  • Background: Honestly, we don’t really know where David was at this point in his life. In fact, David might not have written this psalm. But this psalm is a good one in the average days. 
  • The psalmist says to “sing a new song to the Lord, for he has done wonderful deeds.”(v1)
    • Sometimes, on our average days, when we aren’t having anything really good or really bad, we have a choice. We can either dwell on the fact it’s an average day, or we can sing a new song to the Lord. We can think on the good things He has done in our lives and be thankful for those things. Let that bring you out of the mundane.
  • He also says that “the Lord has made his salvation known.”(v2) This was before Jesus! Now we are on this side of it and know that we have salvation in Christ alone, who took on our sin and gave us victory. 
    • Here’s the deal, y’all. No matter what circumstances we’re going through, we have the gospel to be thankful for. The fact that Jesus died for our sins and we are saved should shake us on our good, bad, and average days. 
      • We can’t let the gospel become old news. 
      • On the average days, praise the Lord for something. Praise Him for salvation. 

WRAP UP

  • Maybe you don’t know what salvation is, and you don’t feel like you have anything to praise God for because you haven’t come into a relationship with Him. If that’s you, come talk to one of us. 
    • Can you praise the Lord for salvation? 
  • Maybe you’re really struggling. It’s been a bad day, or a bad week. 
    • What can you praise the Lord for while you’re in the cave?
  • And maybe, you’re thriving. Don’t forget that every victory comes from God, and we have to recognize that. 
    • Are you consistently thanking God for the victories in your life and pointing them back to Him?

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