The first eleven verses of Psalm 40 are classified as a psalm of thanksgiving. There are numerous other thanksgiving psalms, but I chose this one because it provides such a beautiful illustration of what I call the full cycle of thanksgiving:
- God acts.
- We recognize what God has done and say thank you.
- We respond to God’s gifts by acting.
It’s wonderful to recount all our blessings. But if thanksgiving does its complete work in us, it changes the way we do things. It urges us to action.
- Read the psalm two or three times, at least once aloud.
- Identify what God has done for which the writer is thankful.
- Identify how that thanksgiving manifests in action.
To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
4 Happy are those who make
the LORD their trust,
who do not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after false gods.
5 You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts towards us;
none can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them,
they would be more than can be counted.
6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt-offering and sin-offering
you have not required.
7 Then I said, ‘Here I am;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.’
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O LORD.
10 I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
11 Do not, O LORD, withhold
your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
keep me safe for ever.