Gratitude and Patience

Read: Psalm 105

One of the many things I appreciate about our Jewish heritage is how they teach us to honor God through traditions that embrace humble gratitude. Psalm 105 is one example of a song that invites us to worship the Lord for what he’s done for his people by summarizing significant events of the past. We need to remember to have a heart of gratitude for what God has done in the past for us:

5 Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
6 you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
7 He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
Psalm 105:5-7

The psalmist begins with words of praise in general, then gets specific. We’re prompted to remember Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and Moses in a matter of a few stanzas. As I read the list of these great patriarchs of our faith, I can’t help but think about how many years passed from one to the other. Abraham left his home country and set out for an unknown destination without any guarantees.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8

How long did it take for Abraham to receive his inheritance? What did he receive? The reality is that Abraham had no idea of what was coming or when it might come. Yet he was faithful.

Abraham also demonstrated great patience. His obedience allowed the story to continue through Issac, Jacob, and Joseph (Israel). Then there was a very long period of silence, some 430 years in the land of Ham, that is, Egypt. Finally, Moses was called to set God’s people free, and a new chapter begins for the Israelites.

Over four hundred years! Then, after escaping the Egyptians, Moses led the people to the Promised Land for years, wandering through the desert, teaching them the ways of the Lord. Years and years go by before finally getting to their new home.

The psalmist is reflecting on all of this heritage as a reminder to the people to be grateful for what God has done and to be patient as he works out his plan for their salvation. Both are critical components of faith: believing without seeing.

In our current circumstance, we find ourselves in the seventh or eighth month of a pandemic, depending on when you start counting. Months, not years. Not decades. Not generations. Just a number of months. But when you hear people talk about Covid-19, you might think it’s been going on for years with no end in sight. How much longer with these restrictions be in place? When will we be able to gather in large groups again? Oh my, it’s been way too long!

While it might feel like an eternity, I’m reminded by this psalm that God is faithful, that he will prevail, and I need to remember how he has always come through in the past.

I need to learn to be patient and express my gratitude for what he’s done for me in the past with complete confidence that he will provide for my future, however foggy that might be to me.

43 He brought out his people with rejoicing,
his chosen ones with shouts of joy;
44 he gave them the lands of the nations,
and they fell heir to what others had toiled for—
45 that they might keep his precepts
and observe his laws.
Praise the Lord.
Psalm 105:43-45

Lord, help us to remember and be patient!

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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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