Thankfulness for God’s Sovereign Provision
1 Chronicles 29:9-16 Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly. 10 Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. 14 “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 15 For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. 16 O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.
In this passage we find King David encouraging God’s people to give willingly toward the building of the temple. David himself set the example by giving much of his riches to the project. In verse 10 we find David blessing the congregation and praying: Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.
The Bible teaches not only that God is the sovereign source of all of our possessions, but that he is also the source of our strength to obtain wealth (Deut 8:17-18). Even when we work and earn money to buy possessions, God deserves all of the glory!
If the above is true, what does discontentment with our possessions, social class or living standard say about our view of God?
The unthankful person is a discontent person. As we learned in our previous lesson, the discontent person is unthankful because they feel they deserve more or better than what they have. At the source of this discontentment is a failure to accept that we have all that God wants us to have. It is a rejection of his sovereign provision. Unthankfulness says to God, “I am unhappy with what you have provided for me.” If we, like David, remember both God’s sovereign provision and our own unworthiness, we will be well on our way to maintaining a continual attitude of thankfulness. The fact is, we deserve nothing (except Hell) and all that we do have has come to us by the grace of God (1 Tim 6:6-8; 1 Cor 4:7). It is no wonder then that we are told in scripture to be thankful for everything (Eph 5:20; Col 3:17; 1 Thess 5:18; Php 4:6).
Not only should we be thankful for everything that God has provided for us in the physical realm, but we should also be thankful for the spiritual work that he continues to do on the inside of us by His grace.
Thankfulness for God’s Continuing Grace
It was Paul’s pattern to continually thank God for the work he was doing in him and in the hearts of fellow believers (Col 1:3; Eph 1:16; 1 Thes 1:2, 3:9; Phm 1:4; Phil 1:3). Paul understood that God was to be thanked, not only as the source of all material provision, but also as the source of all spiritual blessings.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.
2 Corinthians 8:16 But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you.
1 Timothy 1:12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,
Whenever Paul saw or heard of the spiritual growth of others he thanked God on their behalf (Acts 28:14-15; Rom 1:8, 6:17; 1 Cor 1:4; 2 Cor 8:16). He understood that God was not only the source of all material blessings but that he was also responsible for everything good that happens within us spiritually. Paul thanked God for calling men to salvation, for producing a care in them for the brethren and for enabling them to work in the ministry. God is to be thanked for our salvation and for every spiritual work that he continues to do in the hearts of believers (2 Cor 9:8; Php 2:13; 1 Thes 2:13).
The Bible is clear that the Christian is to be thankful at all times, and for all things (Eph 5:20; Col 3:17; 1 Thess 5:18; Php 4:6). And why wouldn’t we be? God has called us to salvation, given us his Spirit, has promised he will never leave us, that he will provide all of our needs and that he has an eternal inheritance awaiting us in Heaven. He did all of this “while we were yet sinners”, “without strength” and his “enemies” (Rom 5:6-10). As Christians, we have every reason to live life in a state of constant thankfulness. After all, even trouble in our lives is meant for our good (James 2:2-4; Rom 8:28).
Thankfulness is a choice. By deliberately dwelling on all that God has done for us and by purposefully recognizing God’s grace at work all around us, we can maintain a continual attitude of thankfulness just as he has commanded us (Eph 5:4; Col 3:15; Col 4:2). On the other hand, if we live life swept up in the things of this world; its pride, its materialism and its lust, then it is likely that we will compare ourselves with others and become unthankful and discontent with what God has given us. How then should we respond to God’s blessings? With praise, with worship, with sacrifice and with song. Each of these with thankfulness as its theme.