Book V is an invitation to exuberant praise; it is worship in light of God’s covenant love, His Word, and the reminder that His promise of David’s neverending throne would be fulfilled in the Messiah.
Sometimes you can’t help but give thanks. There are two things that I’m not good at. Saying goodbye and thank you. As I reflect on the reason for this, it’s not because I don’t want to share the appropriate parting greeting and expression of the bond. And it’s not because I’m not thankful. I feel the pressure inside to “get it right.” To say goodbye and thank you in a way worthy of the gift and the giver.
I don’t have difficulty saying goodbye to a friend that I’ll see next week. I have difficulty saying goodbye to a whole community or church I’ve been a part of for years. And I don’t have trouble saying thank you to the barista when she hands me my coffee. I have difficulty saying thank you when it’s a large gift, like when my grandmother heard we were moving to Kentucky to attend seminary eleven hours away and gave us her car so we’d have a reliable car for the long drive. Something catches because there’s a sense of the magnitude of gratitude that hits up against my limitations to express my thankfulness adequately.
How much more do we owe God thanks? I need a model for expressing my thankfulness, and the psalms provide it. The psalms invite us into thankfulness. “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1). The psalms model for us rehearsing the good things the Lord has done. Leading those lost in the wilderness to a city to call home (Psalm 107:6–9). Rescuing those who are captives because of their rebellion against God—because they cried out to Him for help (vv.10–16). Bringing into safe harbor those caught in the storms of the sea (vv.23–32).
When we reflect on God’s steadfast love, we can see tangible examples like these and more, of when God has spared us from calamity, and rescued us from our sin. If we think about our lives rightly, we will see in our own lives ways where God has been at work behind the scenes bringing about our good because His faithful love endures forever.
But when we consider God’s faithful love and are led to give thanks, our gaze will not be able to escape looking upon God’s greatest deliverance. God’s faithful love that endures forever will culminate in the greatest gift. God’s gift of Himself. God gives us Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest forever, who offered a sacrifice once and for all and a King who places all our enemies under God’s righteous reign (Psalm 110:1–7).
When we read the psalms, we’re reminded of the goodness of God, and we’re given the language to express the gratitude God’s goodness evokes. We are caught up in thanksgiving and can say with the psalms, “You are my God, and I will give you thanks.
You are my God; I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 118:28–29).