Deliverance Through Thanksgiving by Maxie Dunnam
One of our big failures as Christians is our continual refusal to discipline ourselves in living with the word of God. We need to study the Bible. It is the shaping source of our Christian faith and way. In it we find the revelation of God which God provided through God’s Son, Jesus. It is food for our souls, direction and strength for our journey.
But not only do we need to study the Bible, we need to read the Bible devotionally, and there is a difference. Here’s the way I do it. In a time of quietness, reflection and prayer, I simply begin reading a pre-selected passage of scripture. With an open mind and heart, I read until some word grabs my attention. I stay with that word, allowing it to tumble around in my mind. I seek to taste the word by reflecting upon it in my mind and heart. I ask the word questions and I allow the word to ask me questions. Then in that moment and out of that reflection, I form the prayers I want to offer to God in response to his word.
A while ago I was doing this with the 50th Psalm. Verse 15 stopped me, “And call upon me in your time of trouble and I will deliver you and you shall glorify me.” I don’t know what was going on in my life at that particular time which caused that verse of scripture to be so significant, except that I am like most people … trouble is often my lot. Maybe I was concerned about one of our children; maybe I was wrestling with some problem; maybe I felt that someone or something was after me, and I was being tested. I know it wasn’t a huge earth-shaking thing or I would remember it. Nevertheless there it was, God’s word for me in that particular situation and I needed it. “And call upon me in your time of trouble and I will deliver you and you shall glorify my name.”
What a promise. Deliverance. None of us will pass through too much of our life without needing to lay hold upon that promise, because none of us will pass through too much of our life without being confronted with trouble. But as I reflected upon this staggering promise, I became aware of the fact that it was not complete within itself. Though it’s a separate verse in the Bible, it begins with the word and. If you look back at verse 14, you will find the beginning of the sentence: “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay your vows to the most high.” Then comes the promise: “and call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you and you shall glorify me.”
That set me to thinking all over again. And the word of the Lord came to me in a powerful way. God is not making a wholesale promise here. There are conditions we are to meet if we’re going to appropriate the promise of the Lord to deliver us.
I had never thought of it before. Deliverance comes through thanksgiving.
The promise of deliverance is especially beautiful if you see it in its entire Scriptural context. If you go back to the 10th verse of that reading, you’ll see God talking about all that he is and all that he has, and then in that beautiful 12th verse he says, “if I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world and all that is in it is mine.” What does a God like this, an omnipotent God who created and owns the whole universe – what does a God like this want? What does a God like this require of us? There it is. Offer to God a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Wow! God’s hunger is satisfied by our love and gratitude.
Does that make you stand at attention inside? The deepest longings of the God of the universe, the one who created and owns the world, is satisfied by our praise and thanksgiving?
Deliverance through thanksgiving. What a way to think and live, especially during this thanksgiving season.