Thursday, November 23, 2000


Thanksgiving Day
"A Hymn at Harvest Time
November 23, 2000 
Psalm 65

Introduction:  This morning we will meditate upon one of the Psalms, that is suggested to be read at harvest time, Psalm 65.  If you wish you may turn into your hymnals to page 136 where you will find this Psalm.  Our Psalm for this morning is a Psalm that was sung by God's people at harvest time. As we remember the tender mercies of our God and King may we too sing a song of Thanksgiving unto the Lord our God.

But how should we sing?  David gives us three suggestions in three stanzas. On this Thanksgiving Day 2000, we worship God; approaching God, apprehending God and appreciating God.

I.  We worship approaching God (Psalm 65:1-4) As David begins stanza one the people approach God. They come to Him. But how do they come?         

A.  They come as a Silent People "Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed." (v.1) God waits. He waits for praise to come. Shall we praise Him on this day of Thanksgiving or will this day be just like any other day of the year?  In a country, filled with so many opportunities do we take the time to return thanks and acknowledge the Creator? This is our opportunity today, to offer the Lord our worship and praise.

B.   A Seeking People - "O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come." (v.2) As we come we know that our Lord will hear us. This is why we approach Him. We come as He draws us to Himself to hear our cry and to answer our prayer.

C.  A Sinful People - "Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away." (v.3) We need to approach God for forgiveness and life. We are in need of restoration, forgiveness and life. We approach God this day seeking His pardon and His peace.

D.  A Satisfied People - "Blessed is the man who thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee that he may dwell in thy courts; we shall be satisfied with the goodness of they house, even of thy holy temple." (v.4) When we come we leave satisfied. He opens His hand and He satisfies the desire of every living thing. This is how the dear Lord chooses to deal with His people; He satisfies our every need.

Transition: David praises God for hearing prayer, pardoning sin, satisfying and protecting His people. These are the things that the Lord our God has done. We approach God. We come to worship apprehending all that God has done in our lives.

II.  We worship apprehending God (Psalm 65:5-8) God has the power to convert, to create and to control.

A.  God's Power to Convert -"By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea" (v.5)  

1.   The Hebrew People - "By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; " (v. 5a) By virtue of His righteousness God is able to convert us. This He did with the children of Israel making them His chosen people.

2.   The Heathen Peoples " who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea" (v.5b) But He also extends His kingdom to all who will come to Him in faith. "His kingdom shall stretch from short to shore 'till moons shall wax and wane no more" {TLH #511 stanza 1b}

B.  God's Power to Create -"Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains, being girded with power" (v.6) In ten short sentences God created the entire universe. By His same word He creates faith in our hearts. God's power is demonstrated in His Word which makes all things new.

C.   God's Power to Control (vv.7-8)

1.  The Restless Waves  "Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of the waves,"(65:7a) The forces of nature are powerful. Yet the wind and the waves are subject to Him. When Jesus says "peace be still" the elements are brought under His authority. Remember the words of amazement spoken by Jesus' disciples "who is this that even the wind and the waves obey Him?"  Who is this, He is the Mighty God who has the power to control even the forces of nature.

2.    The Restless World "and the tumult of the people. They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens; thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice" (65:7b-8)  St. Paul reminds us that the world seems to be groaning, waiting to be delivered.  Jesus is able to grant peace to a world that is restless and in search of peace. But His peace is not as the world sees peace. His is an everlasting peace. A peace that only He can give.

Transition: For fixing the mountains, calming the sea, preserving the succession of day and night, and making the earth fruitful; for these blessings we are truly thankful. Thanksgiving calls us to appreciate all of the blessings, which comes from the hand of God.

III.  We worship appreciating God Psalm 65:9-13

A.   The Plenty to the Heavens "Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it; though greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou has so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly; thou settlest the furrows thereof; thou makest it soft with showers; thou blessest the springing thereof." (vv.9-10) The ground becomes parched and dry. We cry for rain and the rain comes and the world is refreshed. The rain dissolves the high and hard clods of earth. We see this happen year after year. Who sends the rain? It is God. David simply calls for us to appreciate this mighty gift which comes from the Savior's hand.

B.   The Plenty of the Harvest - "They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks: the valleys also are covered over with corn they shout for joy the also sing." (vv.11-13)  With each harvest there is plenty. True, we could ask for more, but there is always a sufficient amount. The harvest abounds as God gives the increase.

Conclusion: Luther concludes the explanation of the first article of the Apostles' Creed with these words: "for all which it is my duty to thanks and praise, to serve and obey Him, this is most certainly true".  What more can be said? This is most certainly true!  A blessed Thanksgiving!  Amen.

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