Thanksgiving, Gratitude, and Leaness of Soul
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! Psalm 106:1
Psalm 106 begins by calling the people of God to praise and thanksgiving. The following 12 verses continue by reminding them of God’s great and merciful works. How He showed His power and set them free from the slavery in Egypt, how He parted the Red Sea to get them to safety, and covered their enemies with water. With thoughts like this we see thanksgiving flowing freely from grateful hearts as they remembered the Lord and His mighty works.
Then, a few verses later, we find a drastic change as we are told how they soon forgot His works, and did not seek His counsel. As they were in the wilderness they began to lust for the old flesh pots of Egypt, and began to test God in the wilderness. As they began to demand meat, as if the Lord had not given them something they deserved, we find this in verse 15, “And He gave them their request, but sent leanness of into their soul.”
In the context of this verse, what was happening was that the Lord had given them what they desired, which was meat in the form of quail, but the meat did not satisfy them. The more they ate the less it gave them what that hoped it would, and for some it even caused disease. Ingratitude works much the same way. When we think that we need something more than what God has already given us, we tend to find that when we get what we desired, it does not satisfy. The reason for this is that our true satisfaction is found in feasting upon God through His word, in remembrance of all He has done for us. But when we begin to forget God, and ingratitude begins to set in, it doesn’t matter what we get, we will still want more. If God and His great mercy toward us is not enough to fill our hearts with gratitude, we will find that nothing will.
Gratitude flows freely from a heart that is full of God, mindful of His great works, and aware of His grace to such unworthy and sinful creatures. The sinner, who hungers and thirsts after righteousness and has been filled by the justifying work of Christ, can find themselves in any harsh situation that this life has to offer and still have hearts that rejoice and are full. But the one who has forgotten God’s great works toward them and begins to think they deserve something more, can be in the most pleasant of all earthy positions but will live with souls which are lean.
The same Gospel that saves us from our wretched condition is the same Gospel that will fill our souls with joy for all eternity. We are never to forget how great His love is toward us, that we should be called sons and daughters of God. To go about our lives without this at the center of who we are will cause leanness to our souls that will never be satisfied with anything else we try to put in its place.
This Thanksgiving, and moving on into the Christmas season, if your heart has been forgetful of God’s great love and works toward you, or if you find yourself unsatisfied with what the Lord had done for you, it is time to seek His face and remember His goodness. Do not let one more day pass without spending time in His word, and calling out to Him in prayer, for the greatest holiday meals will not cure the leanness of soul which accompanies ingratitude toward God. And if you have remembered your God and your heart is full with Him, then any lack you face this holiday will not be able to empty the joy and gratitude which fills your Soul.
May all our hearts burst forth with gratitude toward our great God this holiday season!
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100