First Baptist Church, Angleton, TX 11/22/20 First Sunday at 972 Anchor Road
When the first Pilgrims landed in the New World on November 11,1620, William Bradford, the pilgrim leader who later became their governor wrote that: “‘They fell upon their knees, and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element.’” (Nathaniel Philbrick, The Mayflower and the Pilgrims’ New World, p. 44)
In the same way, we today at First Baptist Angleton fall on our knees, and bless the God of heaven, for bringing us as a church through many “perils and miseries” of sorts, to “set OUR feet” on “OUR proper element” here in this beautiful new place! Let us officially give thanks to God for His goodness to us today!
This is a day for our church to give thanks. This is of course a week for giving thanks — Thanksgiving Day is Thursday. And we can be thankful for SO many things, can’t we?
— our new building especially today!
— for Cheryl & I this week: we give thanks for our new grand baby!
— for SO many other things — we could literally spend the entire service this morning, just giving thanks to God for all of His goodnesses to us. And that is the theme of our scripture for this morning from Psalm 136:1:
“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
This is a great verse, and its content is one of the most famous and most repeated worship phrases in the whole Old Testament:
— As far as we know, it was first used by King David in a song of praise in I Chronicles 16:34 when they brought the Ark of the Covenant back up to Jerusalem. As the ark came up, David appointed Asaph and his brothers to praise God (the first “ministers of music”) and they sang these very words: “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for his lovingkindness is everlasting.”
— then in I Chronicles 16:41, it says they gave the priests the duty to regularly “give thanks to the LORD, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
So that was the beginning of this great worship phrase. Then we see it used again in multiple prayers and songs:
— When Solomon dedicated his temple in II Chronicles 5:13, the priests praised God using this great phrase.
— In one of its most famous occasions in scripture, when a coalition of several nations invaded Judah, God’s prophet told His people that they didn’t even need to fight — Jehoshaphat just sent out the priests singing this verse: “Give thanks to the LORD, for His lovingkindness is everlasting” and God went before them, and confused the enemies, who turned on each other, and they were defeated.
— In Ezra 3:11, when Israel rebuilt the foundation of the Temple, they praised and gave thanks to God, “For He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
— Then we find this phrase is used repeatedly in different Psalms, including Psalm 118, and as we saw this morning in EVERY verse here in Psalm 136 as we just read.
So this is one of THE most significant phrases in all of the word of God,”Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” It must be important for God to have His people use it so much. So we need to know it, and understand what it is saying to us: