1 Give thanks to the LORD God and call on his name; His wonderful deeds to the nations proclaim. 2 Sing praises to him, and his exploits record; 3 Let all those who seek him rejoice in the LORD.
4 You chosen ones, look to the LORD and his might; 5 Seek ever his face, and his wonders recite, His miracles too, and his judgments divine— 6 You children of Abraham, Jacob’s own line.
7 The LORD is our God, and he rules all the earth. 8 Rememb’ring his cov’nant—the word he set forth— He vowed, for the ages to come, to make good 9 His promise to Abr’ham, to Isaac renewed.
10 To Jacob his sov’reign decree was made sure; With Isr’el his cov’nant would always endure: 11 “To you I will give, as your portion to stand, The country of Canaan, the beautiful land.”
12 When they were no more than a wandering few, In number restricted, and foreigners too, 13 From nation to nation they travelled around; Wherever they wandered, no rest could be found.
14 He would not permit that his folk be oppressed; For his chosen ones’ sake mighty kings he addressed: 15 “Touch not my anointed—to me they belong; Respect my own prophets and do them no wrong.”
16 The LORD called down famine upon the whole land; Their food was destroyed at his sovereign command. 17 But he sent beforehand, his people to save, His chosen one, Joseph, sold off as a slave.
18 His feet within shackles of bronze were confined, His neck put in irons; for freedom he pined. 19 The word of the LORD was a test to be passed Till what he foretold was accomplished at last.
You can hear a Free Church of Scotland sing this to the tune Foundation (How Firm a Foundation Ye Saints of the Lord) here.
This is part of a long Psalm which recounts God’s covenant with his people, their rescue from Egypt and provision in the wilderness and before arriving in the Promised Land. It runs to 45 verses and summarises much of the Exodus journey of God’s people; a story which would be recounted at Passover. It is worth reading in full.
It is telling the people to remember their story. It started with promises to Abraham, and ended (in this Psalm) when they came to their own country.
It is a Psalm reminding us that God promises, protects and provides. It begins with the call to give thanks which some scholars think was added later.
These opening five verses remind me of an old chorus:
O give thanks to the Lord for He is good, all you His people, O give thanks to the Lord for He is good. Let us praise, let us thank, Let us celebrate and dance, O give thanks to the Lord for He is good.
We are reminded to keep searching for God, even if life is less than wonderful at the moment. We are encouraged to keep thanking him for what He has already done and later in verse 45 to keep following God’s principles and obey his laws.
Lively worship will keep our spirits up and help to look expectantly for the fulfilment of God’s promises and the blessings of his goodness wherever we find ourselves on our journey with God.
Help us to count your blessings to us Lord and offer grateful thanks for your mercy in times of trouble and your abundant provision in times of plenty. Keep us in step with you Lord and help us to remember your grace and tell our story faithful and ever loving God. Amen.
The Rev’d Viv Henderson, Minister of Minehead URC.