Here it is Thanksgiving morning again. The family is still asleep. It is quiet and my mind is turning over the question, “What am I truly thankful for?” For what does my heart sing in gratitude and delight? As I begin to list my blessings – I am grateful for my amazing and faithful wife who loves God – she is a treasure and undeserved gift. My 6 boys, uniquely created and formed, are a treasure and joy to watch grow. I’m thankful for godly parents with whom I can talk unashamedly about the Lord. I’m thankful for the people I have the privilege of working with – they are like family to me. I’m grateful for my Pastor and my church – they encourage my heart to delight in God.
And it is that thought, “Delight In God,” that captures me this morning and many mornings. This is not “religious talk.” This is being taken in by – mesmerized, awed by – the transcendent majesty of an omnipotent being who is my creator and the creator of all that I enjoy. All the joys I have in this world are meant to be streams of light that lead me up to the face of the great joy-giver, God Himself. Joe Rigney says: “The world is a window through which we espy heav’n. To look at the world and see only the world is like looking at a window instead of looking through the window to what’s beyond it. Windows were made to be transparent, to unveil to our eyes something other than windows. So too the world, which exists to reveal God to us. Thus, we must labor to see beyond our families and food and nature and labor and instead recognize the revelation of God in them.”
To know God is not something that is accomplished at a glance. Like a man studying the moon – you can look at the moon with your naked eye and be impressed, you can study the moon with a telescope and be entranced, you can walk on the moon itself and be transported. To pursue knowing God is to be pulled into ever increasing awe at the infinite depth and beauty and majesty of who He is. There is an otherness to God – He is beyond me – I cannot grasp all that he is.
I Am Thankful for a God who is Holy
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” Isaiah 6:3
“Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?” Exodus 15:11
The holiness of God refers to God’s distinctness from his creation. He is above and beyond what he has made – set apart from his creation. It speaks both to His absolute purity and His transcendence above all that he has made.
John Piper says it this way: “God is so separate, so above, and distinct from all else — all that is not God — that he is self-existent and self-sustaining and self-sufficient. Thus he is infinitely complete and full and perfect in himself. Since God is separate from, transcendent above, all that is not God, he was not brought into existence by anything outside himself. He is self-existent. He depends on nothing for his ongoing existence and so is self-sustaining. And therefore he is utterly self-sufficient. Complete, full, perfect.”
It is this distinctness that makes God – God. He is not a man subject to my human failings. His ways are not my ways, nor his thoughts my thoughts.
A God who is Sovereign
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115:3
I am grateful that God is not subject to anyone or anything. He reigns as king over all circumstances. His will cannot be thwarted. Every earthly power fully capitulates to the sovereign master of all things. “No one can stay His hand, or say to Him ‘What are you doing?’” It is this attribute of God that sustains me in hardship because I know that there is no power than can come against me that is not subject to God. He is able, more than able to rescue me from my enemies and my sin, and no power of hell is able to withstand his sovereign will. For this I am grateful.
A God who is Good
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” Psalm 107:1
“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” Psalm 34:8
If God was only sovereign but not good, He would be impressive but tyrannical. If God were good but not sovereign, he would be beautiful but powerless. It is the marriage of God’s goodness and his sovereignty that causes my heart to soar with hope and delight. It is God’s goodness that is meant to lead us to repentance because when we see His kindness, His gentleness, His kind Fatherly entreaties we are released from guilt and shame and are welcomed to bask in the glory of his presence. I am grateful for the goodness of God
A God who is Love
“But God demonstrates his own love for us, even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
Oh how grateful I am that God loves and pursues sinners. I know myself to be guilty. I know that I do not deserve the goodness of God or the love of my creator. But he saw my need and rescued me because of His great love. And His love came at great price. Jesus Christ, the second member of the Trinity, my creator became a part of his creation to die for his creatures. What love is this?
A God who means to make Himself Known
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Philippians 3:8
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. I Cor 13:12
The great end for which we were created – the only satisfaction for the great longing of our hearts – is knowing our creator. Not knowing facts about Him, not merely knowing that He exists but truly knowing Him and being known by Him. This is the greatest treasure that exists – all other treasures pale in comparison. For this it would be gain to give up all that we have, our possessions, our dreams, our very lives. Knowing Jesus our Lord is the essence of happiness. And God Himself has moved heaven and earth to draw us to Himself.
For this I am thankful.