Genuine Thanksgiving

What would it be like to spend Thanksgiving Day with King David? It’s a novel thought. His military accolades tend to dominate our perceptions of his life. David, however, had a high regard for God’s Word, was known for his intimate relationship with God and routinely offered thanksgiving in many of the 73 psalms he penned.

The 145th Psalm challenges our view of Israel’s mightiest king and what it means to approach God with thanksgiving.

PSALM 145:1-4

I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.

Every day I will bless You,

And I will praise Your name forever and ever.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.

Three words encapsulate genuine thanksgiving as the psalm opens. While at first glance we may think “extol, bless and praise” are simply a poetic rendition of the same thought, each communicates an essential aspect of thanksgiving.


It’s obvious that David’s gratitude to God was not a private matter. The Hebrew word translated “extol” (ruhm,) conveys the idea of lifting up or elevating the name of another. In the introductory statement and throughout the hundred and forty-fifth psalm, David extols God’s compassion, mighty acts, goodness, provision and righteousness.


David’s affirmation, I will bless your name, is not like saying, Bless you, after someone sneezes. The word “bless” (Hebrew, berekah) expresses honor and esteem—reverence. David was awestruck by God’s majesty. He did not take his relationship with God for granted. David blessed God during the triumphs and storms of life.


The word “praise” is so familiar we rarely give thought to the meaning. Grasping the intent of the Hebrew word hillel (praise) gives depth to the intent of the psalm. David knew he wasn’t a self-made man. He humbly acknowledged God’s favor. David’s praise was an exuberant celebration in the context of mortal life and beyond.

If King David could be a guest at your Thanksgiving celebration, how might the conversation flow? I believe he would rejoice in the bounty on your table (Ps. 37:25). He would commend you for fulfilling the mandate to praise God’s works and mighty acts (145:4). And in all likelihood, I believe King David would encourage you to make thanksgiving a priority in the ups and downs, through the twists and turns and in the best times of life (Ps. 116:5-7).

The type of thanksgiving David describes in the 145th Psalm does more than fulfill a personal obligation to express gratitude to God. Genuine thanksgiving gives testimony to God’s greatness that draws the attention of others to His work in our lives.

Genuine Thanksgiving_Quote by Charles E. McCracken Copyright © 2019

    • As you enjoy Thanksgiving Day with friends or family, take time to talk about the many ways God has intervened on your behalf over the past year.
    • Be specific as you extol the works of Almighty God and bless Him in a spirit of reverential awe as you are reminded of all He has done.
    • Let your words not only express praise to God, but also encourage those enjoying the day with you.

Our Thanksgiving celebration must be more than a one-day event. According to King David, genuine thanksgiving must be an ongoing way of life.

1) “Genuine thanksgiving gives testimony to God’s greatness that draws the attention of others to His work in our lives” Quote by Charles E. McCracken, Copyright © 2019. (Image used for illustrative purposes) (Image credit: all formats, Pixabay/Digital composition, MKM Portfolios)

Copyright © 2019 Charles E. McCracken, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.