On this Sunday night before Thanksgiving Day… take your Bible and turn to the book of Thanksgiving and Praise. And of course… that would be the book of Psalms!

Once there… head straight to the 103rd Psalm. Now as you’re finding Psalm 103… let me tell you that the Hebrew word translated ”Psalms” comes from the Hebrew word ”Hallelujah” which means ”praise the Lord.”

So… when somebody says, ”Hallelujah”.. what are they saying? They are saying, ”Praise the Lord!” And by the way… this word ”hallelujah” cuts across the language barrier. It translates the same in every language!

Well… that’s what the book of Psalms is all about: Praising the Lord Jesus Christ! Do you know what that means to us? It means that if we are going to learn how to worship God in Spirit and in Truth… that we’ve got to invest some time in the book of Worship and Praise: the book of Psalms.

Think of the book of Psalms as God’s introduction to Worship: 101! And most of us need to enroll! I don’t believe there is a better time of the year to enroll than during the Thanksgiving Season.

I can hear some negative naysayer tonight saying, ”Now Pastor, I know it’s Thanksgiving week and all… but I don’t have any reason to give thanks. My life is a disaster waiting to happen.”

Well… I want to say to you tonight that if you don’t have much to be thankful for… why not be thankful for some things you don’t have?

I mean… if you cannot muster up any thanks for what you do have… muster up some thanks for what you don’t have.

There is always something to be thankful for. You say, ”Thankful? I cannot even pay my bills.” All right then… you can be thankful that you are not one of your creditors! You see… there is always something to be thankful for! Amen?

In our time together tonight… from Psalm 103… we read about The Soul Music of Thanksgiving! Psalm 103 is a psalm of praise to God that begins deep within the soul! That’s why I call it Soul Music!

Let me say that this kind of Soul Music is not for everybody! This kind of Soul Music has nothing to do with the color of your skin… it has everything to do with the condition of your soul.

This kind of Soul Music comes from the saved soul! And the saved soul is the soul that’s been saved by the blood of the Lamb!

Once you have a saved soul… you can sing this Soul Music of Thanksgiving every day! You say, ”But what about those times of disaster and difficulty? Can I make music then? Can I give thanks to God then?”

Especially then! It is Soul Music that gets you through those times of disaster and difficulty.

Paul says in 1 Thess 5.18, ”In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Do you remember Paul and Silas when they were in prison. The Bible says that around midnight that they were praying and singing hymns to God. The next thing they knew… a great earthquake came and Acts 16.26, ”the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.”

That night when the jail-house rocked… God was responding to their prayer and praise! Let me tell you on this Sunday night of this Thanksgiving week: prison doors shake open where there is prayer and praise!

I don’t know what is holding you prisoner and what has you in chains… but I do know that prison doors shake open and chains are loosed where there is prayer and praise.

We are thinking about the Soul Music of Thanksgiving! And beginning in verse 1… we find:

(1) The Call to Thanksgiving.

Verses 1-2a, ”Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul…”

So… what does David mean here when he says, ”Bless the LORD?” Well… to ”bless the LORD” is to praise the LORD! That’s what this word ”bless” means.

It is the picture of somebody who knells down and offers praise to God! To ”bless the LORD” is to praise the LORD.

Let me ask you a question: are you praising the Lord these days? You say, ”Pastor, why should I praise the Lord these days?” Look over to Psalm 104.1, ”Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great;”

How about praising Him for His greatness?

Psalm 106.1, ”Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

Psalm 118.1, ”Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! Because His mercy endures forever.”

Psalm 115.1, ”Not unto us, O LORD, no unto us, but to Your Name give glory, because of Your mercy, and because of Your truth.”

Psalm 117.1-2, ”Oh, praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! (do we have any Gentiles here tonight?) Laud Him, (which means praise Him) all you peoples. For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!”

Praise Him for His greatness… for His goodness… for His mercy… for His truth! The Soul Music of Thanksgiving calls us to give thanks to God.

Now… the atheist does not thank God. There’s no thanksgiving to God in the heart of the atheist. A man doesn’t give thanks to the God in whom he doesn’t believe. There is no such thing as a thankful atheist.

The trouble with being an atheist is you have nobody to talk to when you’re alone… nor to thank!

How frustrating for an atheist when he feels thankful and has no one to thank.

The agnostic doesn’t thank God. That’s the person who doesn’t deny that God exists… he’s just skeptical about it. That kind of man doesn’t give thanks to God because he’s not sure He exists.

The self-sufficient doesn’t thank God either. That’s the person who takes the credit for the food on the table and clothes on their back. He’s so full of self that he’s not hungry to thank God.

It is from the thankless heart that comes discontent… greed… lust… materialism and humanism. Therefore… ”Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”

When we gather here to bless His name… God deliver us from heartless worship! We ought to have some soul music every time we gather to bless His Name! Praise that starts deep within our soul!

Listen to this sad verse: Isaiah 29.13, ”Inasmuch as these people draw near to Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me.”

Do you know why God called their worship heartless?
Because they refused to obey His Word. They were offering lip service. They would sing on Sunday and then live like the Devil on Monday. And God said, ”these people draw near to Me with their mouths, but not their hearts.”

That is what this 103rd Psalm is all about. It’s the Soul Music of Thanksgiving. And the first thing we find is…

(1) The Call to Thanksgiving.

(2) The Cause of Thanksgiving.

And that cause begins in the middle of verse 2, ”And forget not all His benefits.” Now some things are worth forgetting. But other things are worth remembering. And David tells us that the call to thanksgiving comes out of the cause of thanksgiving.

In other words… if you are having a hard time these days offering God some soul music… then stop and consider His benefits.

Verse 2, ”… and forget not all His benefits.” Do you see the word ”benefits?” It means His work… His doing. You see… the Soul Music of Thanksgiving takes place when you see what God’s been doing in your life.

You may not be able to remember all of His benefits… but don’t forget all of His benefits… don’t forget all the things He’s done in your life!

Now starting in verse 3… David lists 6 benefits… 6 works… 6 things God has done in not only His life… but in the life of every child of God. Think of them as links of a chain. These 6 links makeup God’s chain of grace!

Look at the first link in verse 3, ”Who forgives all your iniquities…” Link number one is that…

-He spares us.

The word ”forgives” means to pardon… to spare! Thank Him! Praise Him for your pardon!

God forgives all your iniquities. Do you know what iniquities are? They are your sins… your guilt… your misery. Oh… the misery and guilt sins bring into our lives. But oh… the mercy and grace God brings into our lives.

And notice that God forgives all your sin. Not some of your misery… not most of your guilt. But Hallelujah… He pardons all of them! He spares us from all of them!

Col 2.13-14, ”He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

Now continue reading in verse 3, ”Who heals all your diseases…” He not only spares us…He sanctifies us.

Now to be sure… God heals diseases. But did you know there is a greater disease than physical disease? Well… there is. Worse than physical disease is spiritual disease. Disease of the soul!

Like hate… jealousy… greed… resentment and unforgivness. The worst disease is the sin disease. There is no healing for a sick soul until sin has been forgiven.

You see… disease is the result of sin. Isaiah 53.5, ”But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

Healed of what? Of our transgressions an sin. The cross became an altar where God took away our sins. You ask, ”Where did God take my sin?” Look down to verse 12, ”as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

The worst disease you can have is sin because it destroys you physically… emotionally… and spiritually. And once God spares us… He begins to sanctify us… to heal us.

First… He spares us. Second… He sanctifies us. And then we read in verse 4 that…

-He saves us.

Verse 4, ”Who redeems your life from destruction.” Do you see the word ”redeem?” It means to ”preserve from destruction.” Just as God delivered David from the sword of Goliath and the spear of Saul… He delivers us from the penalty and punishment of sin!

To redeem… it means to ransom… to release… to deliver… to buy something back. Remembering that God has redeemed us and delivered us… and saved us from the penalty of sin ought to put some soul music in your heart.

”Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it. Redeemed by the blood of the lamb; redeemed through His infinite mercy, His child and forever I am.”

Psalm 107.2, ”Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.”

”Since I have been redeemed, I will glory in His name, since I have been redeemed, I will glory in my savior’s name.”

He forgives all our iniquities: He spares us.
He heals all our diseases: He sanctifies us.
He redeems our life from destruction: He saves us!

Verse 4, ”who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies”…

-He surrounds us.

The word ”crowns” means literally ”to surround something. We are surrounded with the loving kindness and tender mercies of God!

Psalm 5.12, ”For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”

-He satisfies us.

Verse 5, ”Who satisfies your mouth with good things.”

James 1.17, ”Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

Knowing that God satisfies us with good things will give us some soul music of thanksgiving.

Yes… He spares us… sanctifies us… saves us… surrounds us… satisfies us…

-He strengthens us.

Verse 5, ”..so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Those God saves… He strengthens. Those He redeems… He renews! And as you go through this Thanksgiving week… don’t forget His benefits!

Verses 1-2a, ”Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is with me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul.”

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About The Author

Dr. Ernest Easley attended Baylor University and Dallas Baptist University and earned his Bachelors of Science degree in Religion. He also earned a Master of Divinity from Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Luther Rice Seminary. Dr. Easley has been very influential in the Southern Baptist Convention, serving in various capacities, including President of the Texas Baptist Pastor's Conference, and two years as the Chairman of the Executive Committee. After 31 years of serving as a Senior Pastor, Easley has retired, and is now the very first Professor of Evangelism in school history at the Union University in Jackson, TN. Read Ernest Easley’s sermons on spiritual growth and evangelism to get a different perspective for your sermon preparation.

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