I found in my research of scripture that giving thanks to God and praising him are virtually the same things. The only difference that I found between thanking and praising God was in Chapter 4 of Brian Kingslake’s book Out of This World! Lay-Bys on the Road to Heaven.1 He basically states that when you thank God, its for something he has already done. But, when praising God, it presupposes nothing except the worthiness of the object being praised, which in this case, is God. Based on this difference, his conclusion is that praise is a higher form of worship than thanksgiving. Kingslake (1978) then goes on to paint an accurate and glorifying picture of who God is and why we should praise him stating, “He is infinite Love, Wisdom and Power, beyond all finite limitations. He is the primal Mover and Source of the whole created universe.” Amen to that!
In Scripture, God commands us to “always be thankful” (Colossians 3:15, Ephesians 5:20) for “all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Scripture also commands us “to be thankful” rather than partaking in obscene language, foolish talk, or crude jokes (Ephesians 5:4) as a way to stand out as children of light rather than being children of darkness.
If you have trouble praising God or finding things to be thankful for, you can always turn to David in the book of Psalms for inspiration. He had found favor with God, while King Saul, the ruler of Isreal that preceded David, had been disobedient and was rejected by God. David’s popularity and favor increased while Saul’s decreased. David was humble and displayed an almost continual countenance of godly character while Saul sought to take David’s life. However, David refused to kill Saul, “the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 24:5; 1 Samuel 26:9), even though he had two opportunites to do so. David had a very trying life, thanks to Saul, but relied on God to get him through his trials. David recorded his lamentations and thanksgivings to God in the Psalms.
“You exalted me above my foes;
from a violent man you rescued me.
Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations;
I will sing the praises of your name” (Psalm 18: 48-49).
It is also recorded in 2 Samuel 1 that David sung a mournful elegy at the news of Saul and Jonathan’s death.2
“Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life,
And in their death they were not parted;
They were swifter than eagles,
They were stronger than lions” (2 Samuel 1:23).
This song demonstrates the godly character of David, because, he was able to mourn over his enemies. This is something, I’m sure, Jesus would have admired (Matthew 5:44). In his elegy you can also hear David’s anguish over his lifelong friend Jonathan, whom he considered a brother.
“I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
You have been very pleasant to me.
Your love to me was more wonderful
Than the love of women” (2 Samuel 1:26).
Scripture plainly depicts the closeness of their relationship in 1 Samuel 18:1, “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself.” This had me wondering, if the “knitting” of a soul is a possiblity and a God ordained activity, what people in my life have I been “knitted together” to?
David wasn’t the only individual in the Bible that sung songs and elegies to God as means of praising or communing with Him.3 It is common throughout the Bible. Moses and the children of Israel sang songs of deliverance to God after He had rescued them out the bonds of slavery in Egypt . They sang, “I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; the horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea” (Exodus 15:1). Hannah also praised God when she realized that God had finally granted her a child. She sang, “My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the LORD” (2 Samuel 2:1).
All in all, God wants us to be thankful for He is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17) and never tempts us (James 1:13). He also gave his only Son so that we could have eternal life (John 3:16),and, He has given us His Spirit to help us in our weaknesses (John 6:7; Romans 8:26).
I am thankful I am a believer, and, if whomever is reading this blog would like to become a believer too, all you have to do is pray a prayer like this:
“Dear Jesus, thank you for creating me and for giving me this opportunity to be born again. I believe you died on a cross for me, and, I believe you rose again on the third day. Jesus, you are Lord, and, now be Lord of my life, in Jesus name I pray, Amen” (Romans 10:8-10).
If you prayed that prayer, you are a born again Believer with the Holy Spirit living inside of you. That’s something to be thankful for!!
Feel free to send me a message on this blog, or, if you’d rather, contact your local Bible beleiving church and tell them about your decision to follow Christ.
Be blessed!! 🙂
1. Kingslake, B.(1978). Out of This World! Lay Bys on The Road to Heaven. Retrieved from http://www.swedenborgdigitallibrary.org/ootw/ootw4.htm
2. Bratcher, D.(2010). “Introducing the Psalms.” Retrieved from http://www.crivoice.org/psalmsintro.html
3. Bratcher, D.(2010). “Introducing the Psalms.” Retrieved from http://www.crivoice.org/psalmsintro.html