Word of Encouragement (07/21/2022)

Pastor James
July 21, 2022

“Pharaoh's chariots and his host he cast into the sea, and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea. The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone. Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy....” (Ex. 15:4-6)

For the rest of the song, Moses gives vivid descriptions of the way God punished the Egyptians and delivered Israel at the Red Sea: a more literal description of how the LORD drowned Pharaoh’s chariots and his host (vv. 4-6); a more metaphorical description of God’s fury against His enemies, which He unleashed to punish them (vv. 7-10); a declaration of the LORD as the supreme God above all things (vv. 11-12); a description of the response of the foreign nations to God’s amazing deliverance of His people (vv. 13-16); a declaration of Moses’ confident trust that the LORD would bring His people into the promised land (vv. 17-18).

We all know how being specific is so important in many situations. When we apologize, being vague and general can be adding insult to injury. When we are specific in our apologies, it shows that we thought carefully about what we did and we know exactly what we did wrong; it communicates that we are truly sorry. The same goes for complimenting others, too: a compliment filled with generalities can sound insincere and empty. Imagine putting a lot of thought and time and effort into getting a special gift for someone. You get a thank-you card from him and all it says is, “Thank you for your gift.” You might not have done it, not expecting anything. But when you get a thank-you note like that, it doesn’t make you feel appreciated, does it?

This is true of our relationship with God, too, isn’t it? When we confess our sins, we should be as specific as possible—not only in terms of what we did wrong but also the circumstances in which we did wrong (including when and where and to whom we did this, the clarity of God’s law, the grace God has shown to us, etc.). The same should be true of our praises to God as well. When God shows us His grace, we should express our gratitude. When we do, shouldn’t we be as specific as we can be? Instead of taking it for granted and quickly moving on, we should take time to reflect on it and soak in the full magnitude and significance of what God has done for us.

When we pause to reflect and describe more specifically what God has done for us, our understanding of what God has done deepens and, with it, our gratitude. A wonderful thing about gratitude is that it not only increases our understanding of God’s greatness and grace, but it also multiplies our joy in seeing how much we are cherished and blessed by God, increasing our gratitude even more. Shouldn’t our thanksgiving to God reflect our thoughtful and heartfelt gratitude? Don’t you think God would appreciate such praise more?

Why don’t you take time to reflect on something that God has done for you recently? If you can’t think of any, why don’t you reflect on the cross of Jesus Christ and try to be more descriptive in your thanksgiving? I trust that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, it will renew your joy of salvation and bring more vitality to your Christian walk.