Monday, September 28, 2009

Giving Thanks to the Glory of God

While commenting on Jonah 2:2-9, a psalm of thanksgiving, Elizabeth Achtemeier says, "The basic meaning of 'to give thanks' in Hebrew thought was 'to confess,' and so God was not properly thanked until the deliverance was recounted in the congregation and it was inspired to praise God's name" (Achtemeier p. 271). I think that this is an excellent reminder of how thanksgiving is supposed to function. So often when we see God move on our behalf our thanksgiving is only uttered to him. But the ancient Israelites thought, I believe rightly, that we haven't properly thanked God until we have shared how God has wondrously worked with the rest of our believing (and unbelieving!) community and shared in a way which compels others to worship and praise God. God does not work in our lives for our benefit alone. He works that he may be glorified, and part of how he is glorified is through the praises of those who hear of his marvelous deeds.

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