All Of Him

Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation of Israel: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel, our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. I Chron. 29:10-15

All of Him, none of self!

This confession is essential to real thanksgiving.

O, it is easy to rejoice in an abundance of things, of earthly bounties, of food and drink, of health and strength, of position and honor, of might and power, of victory and peace, and to confuse such carnal joy with the real joy of gratitude. . . .

It is quite conceivable that, on Thanksgiving Day, we exalt ourselves in sinful pride, boast in the things we possess and enjoy, attribute them in our deepest heart to our own ingenuity and efforts, thus boast in our own worthiness, while, perhaps, we acknowledge that the Lord came in to assist and to crown our worthy efforts, and thus, imagining that we can remunerate the Lord of all for all His benefits, bring to Him the sacrifice of the wicked, and become abominable in the sight of Him, Whose is the earth, and the fullness thereof, the world, and they that dwell therein.

Thanksgiving does, indeed, imply joy and gladness of heart, but not in the abundance of earthly things, but in God who is really GOD, the Lord of all, who reigneth in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, who doeth all things well; who is, moreover, the God of our salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord, who forgiveth all our iniquities, who healeth all our diseases, and from whose fatherly hand we receive all things, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, health and sickness, joy and sorrow, life and death, and who causes all things to work for our salvation.

To give thanks means, to be sure, that we point to blessings received, and that we count them one by one, but not so that we exclude from these benefits anything that we received from the hand of our heavenly Father in this valley of death, so that we speak of “many things to be thankful for” while we know not what to do with those experiences that were contrary to our earthly desires; but so that we consider all things, by faith, and in the light of His promise, as gifts of His grace, for the which He is to be praised and adored.

It means that we praise Him and glorify His holy name because of the abundance of His mercy over us, but again, not in the vain imagination that by doing so we add anything to His glory, and oblige Him to us, but in the deep sense that even our thanksgiving and praise is a gift of grace, an unspeakably great privilege which He bestows upon us, and for the which we owe Him thanks.

And thus it implies that we deeply humble ourselves before Him, who is God, the Lord, and acknowledge that we are wholly unworthy of all His benefits.

To acknowledge Him as God alone, and to prostrate ourselves in adoration before His throne,—that is thanksgiving.

All of Him, none of self!

None of self!

That is the deep note that pervades the praise of David in the thanksgiving we quoted above this meditation.

The king of Israel is old, and his days are well-nigh fulfilled. Yet a little while, and he will be gathered to his fathers.

Still he is concerned about the house of God he had so strongly desired to build in Jerusalem, but which work had been taken out of his hands by the Word of God through the prophet, and assigned to his son that would succeed him on the throne of Israel.

However, having set his affection on the house of God, he had collected a huge store of materials, in order that, in the days of his son, the work of building God’s temple might proceed without delay, gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, and marble, and precious stones, and wood, in abundance. And of his own personal possessions he had added to this store, three thousand talents of gold, and seven thousand talents of refined silver.

And now the people had joined him, and had offered willingly for this cause of the Lord’s house.

For this the king’s heart overflows with joy in the Lord, and with praise to the God of Israel.

For he recognizes in this willing offering, his own, and that of the people, the grace of God over them.

There is in it none of self.

There is nothing to boast. Even of this pure joy of giving willingly, and with a perfect heart, they were unworthy.

“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days are on the earth as a shadow, and there is none abiding.”

Who are we? . . . .

Let us translate this profoundly humble acknowledgement of the king in terms of our own thanksgiving: “Who are we that we should be able to praise and glorify Thee, O Lord, so willingly, and bring our gratitude to Thee with joy of heart? For it is all of Thee! The things we receive from Thy fatherly hand, the knowledge that it is from Thee as our gracious God in Christ our Lord that we receive them, the assurance that all that Thou doest is well done, and that Thou causest all things to work together for good to them that love Thee, our joy and peace, as well our willingness to offer up our praise and thanksgiving unto Thy holy name,—it is all of thee!”

The blessings we count are thine!

The grace to remember them, and to praise Thee for them, is Thine!

And who are we?

Strangers and sojourners in the land!

As strangers in the land, we possess nothing. As sojourners, that tarry but for a day, we have a right to nothing. Our day is as a shadow, for we have sinned, and we move about in the midst of death; there is none abiding.

Who are we?

What else are we than guilty and corrupt sinners, that are in ourselves worthy of death and damnation, unworthy and wholly incapable of the joy of offering up praise and adoration to the Most High, exiles from the house of God? . . . .

O, in all our thanksgiving there is none of self!

It is all of the God of our salvation, who revealed Himself to us in the face of His Son Jesus Christ as our Reconciler and Redeemer; who blotted out all our iniquities through the blood of the cross; and who, by the power of His wondrous grace, drew us out of the mire of sin into the glory of His fellowship, and called us out of darkness into the marvelous light of His tabernacle, in which we rejoice in Him, and praise His holy name with thanksgiving!

None of self: none but sin and guilt and corruption!

None of self: not even our praise and adoration of His holy name. It is His gift to us.

O Lord, who are we?

All of Him!

And, therefore, unto Him!

To acknowledge this in our hearts, and to declare this before His face with holy reverence,—that is thanksgiving.

For, remember: He is God.

He is not a man that you should recompense Him for all His benefits. He is the absolutely self-sufficient Lord of heaven and earth. His are all things. All the gold and silver, the cattle on a thousand hills, you yourselves, your body and your soul, your mind and your will, all your power and talents, are His. And He is infinitely glorious, and perfectly blessed in Himself.

What, then, would you give Him, or do for Him?

Ever He is the giver, never the receiver.

The overflowing fountain of Good is He, and we can approach Him only to drink from that fount.

What, then, shall we render unto the Lord for all His benefits? Nothing, but then, absolutely nothing! How else, then, shall we bring the offering of our praise and thanksgiving to Him than by humbly and reverently acknowledging that He is all?

So does the king in his beautiful hymn of praise.

He simply exalts the name of the Lord.

“Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; and thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted as head over all, Both riches and honor come of Thee, and Thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.”

All of Him!

That is the keynote of this beautiful ascription of praise to the Most High. And that must needs be the sole theme of our thanksgiving to Him, of whom, and through whom, and unto whom are all things!

Nor is such praise a mere abstraction, an ascription of glory to some unknown God, which we have learned by heart, but which has very little real and concrete meaning for our conscious life. On the contrary, it implies that we know the name of the Lord, as He revealed it unto us, and that, by faith, we have seen the revelation of that name as it concerns us, so that we know whereof we speak, and are impelled to prostrate ourselves before Him, in order to express what lives in our hearts of the glory of that name, and ascribe to Him blessedness, and greatness, and power, and glory, and victory, and majesty, and dominion, and exaltation over all.

Does not the king speak of the name, the glorious name of God?

“Now, therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name!”

The glorious name of God!

But what else does it mean than that He has revealed Himself to us in all the glory of infinite might and dominion, and majesty and greatness, and grace and mercy, and righteousness and truth, so that we may, indeed, know Him, and ascribe glory to His holy name? What else does it mean than that He made Himself known, not only as our Creator, who calls the things that are not as if they were; but also and above all, as our Redeemer, who loves us with an everlasting love, who revealed His love and the mighty power of His grace to us in the face of Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son in the flesh, crucified and slain, and raised on the third day; as the One that blotted out all our iniquities, that clothes us with an everlasting righteousness, and that purposes to lead us to the everlasting glory of His heavenly tabernacle?

His glorious name!

What else does it mean than that we now behold all things in the light of that glorious revelation of himself in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord, whom He raised from the dead?

Do we not know (Him, as we behold His glory in the face of Jesus, as the One that created all things with a view to the heavenly commonwealth of His eternal kingdom, in which Christ will be fully revealed as the firstborn of every creature, having the preeminence over all?

Contemplating His revelation in the name of Jesus, are we not assured that He governs all things with a view to the realization of His everlasting tabernacle, the full manifestation of all the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the final glorification of His beloved Church in Him?

The glorious name of our God!

And do we not see all our present way, through this valley of death, all our experiences in this world, all that comes to us by His fatherly hand, in the light of that glorious name, joy but also sorrow, prosperity but also adversity, riches but also poverty, health but also sickness, life but also death; and are we not assured that all these things are ours, blessings of His grace to us, and that must all work together for our salvation?

Now, therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name!

For that thy name of salvation is near, thy wondrous works declare!

We thank thee!

To thank the Most High presupposes a joyful consciousness of having been blessed, of having received benefits, nothing but good things from Him. It means that we point them out. This is picturesquely expressed in the Hebrew original. It means ‘To throw out the hand,” to point to something, to indicate blessings we received, to call attention to them as revelations of the goodness and glory of the Lord our God.

And thus we may praise Him.

We praise Him, because in all things we received out of His hand we recognize His glorious name, His power, His everlasting love and mercy over us, His wisdom, the wonder of His marvelous grace in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We praise Him by glorifying His virtues, as revealed in all His benefits.

And by declaring His glory to Him, and to men!

All of Him!

Joy in the Lord!

Such is the gladness of true thanksgiving.

And this rejoicing is possible only in the conscious acknowledgement that we are nothing, and that God is all.

Notice that this is, indeed, the essence and ground of the joy and gladness of the king and of the people, as expressed in this inspired praise and thanksgiving: “Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.” They rejoiced in the Lord, for they were glad because of the grace bestowed upon them to offer willingly unto the Lord their God!

It is the joy of the experience that the God of our salvation is our God for Christ’s sake!

The joy of the consciousness that we drink from the fountain of good!

It is a joy, pure and undefiled.

And enduring forever!