Giving Thanks and the Fear of God
May 28, 2017
This is the continuation of a series of Podcasts started in Episode #545.
While seeking the Scripture for more on gratitude and giving thanks, the Holy Spirit revealed a shocking connection between gratitude and the fear of God.
(Jennifer) And John, when you told me that, when you shared that with me because I was spiraling out a little bit, it freed me. I stopped, took a breath, said, “Yes, ok, thank You.” And you know, Martha, you’d said this in so many different ways and so many times, you know. I don’t even know what to refer to all. The Healing Power of Giving Thanks is probably one of my favorite series by you. It’s just incredible. But when I stop and give thanks, even if I don’t feel grateful, as you were saying, even if my feelings haven’t caught up with, you know, me setting my will, there is a lightening. There is a lifting of the burden when I do that. And I wonder how much of that burden is that in these situations, giving thanks to God for it, stopping and acknowledging Him as sovereign and praising Him for what He has allowed to come into my life—how much of that is acknowledging that it’s not on me to take care of myself in this situation? That it’s not on me to have the right response: to save myself, to be strong, to be something, to be anything, to be in control, to be on the throne, to know? And whenever I get hit by a bad phone call at the office or rejection from somebody, like real cruelty or just somebody that’s – oh, they’re pushing all my buttons – and I just want to say, “Get thee behind me Satan!” And I want to do it with a brick in someone’s face. You know what I mean? When that happens, there is some part of me that believes that I have any control in that situation, and that any part of it is on my shoulders to deal with instead of being where I should be, which is a sheep who turns to the Shepherd. And there’s something about giving thanks, what I’m saying, that for me somehow takes me straight to the Shepherd. And then I’m not a sheep running around and freaking out and hitting walls and trees and bleating at the top of my lungs, because now I’m where I need to be.
(Martha) That’s beautiful, Jennifer. Knowing sheep, that’s a good description.
(John) Ephesians 5:21. Ok, so 5:20 in the American Standard Version. I read this and I thought, “Oh, that’s cool.” “Giving thanks always for all things to God and the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” But then verse 21, it’s “submitting yourself one to another in the fear of God.” So, I’m wondering if it’s not an element of fear of God? How is our gratitude to God and the fear of God connected? Well, I guess because of the sovereignty issue.
(Martha) I think you hit something really significant. I don’t think I’ve ever put that together. But now that you did, I can see it all over the scripture, that people who don’t fear God would never hesitate to reject Him over bad things. So, you’re right, it is the sovereignty of God. That is awesome, John. It’s bigger, gratitude is bigger than I ever dreamed, and it grows bigger all the time because, you know, we’re trying to make it a life practice or to have… And the Holy Spirit is faithful to remind me. Ok, and my daughter is too. “Did you give thanks?” So…
(John) But I wouldn’t have just logically put fear of God and gratitude together.
(Martha) I wouldn’t have either, but it’s obvious.
(Carole) So, when I complain or grumble about something that’s going on, I have no fear of God?!
(Martha) Carole, (half laughing) oh that is a BALM, not a BOMB, because the people in the wilderness, Egypt, died because they murmured and complained, not because of the golden calf, not because of other things. They died because they murmured and complained, because the murmuring was a slander of God’s character. Idolatry was simply choosing another god, but He would not tolerate a slander on His character. And that’s what complaining is. It’s worse, yes. It’s blasphemy and of a sort. Yeah, it is. I had that thought a few minutes ago, and it’s worse. Wow, we just got a big revelation on the air. What are you getting?
(John) I’m just, I’m blown away by it. I mean, it really, it just kind of sets you back, and if you’re bringing in Israel in the wilderness and their grumbling, and they’re just not thanking God for the situation that they were in, and then God said, “You’re not going to enter My rest, because of that.” (paraphrased) That’s, that’s too much. The cost is too much.
(Martha) There’s a very chilling verse that says, “Do not grumble and complain against you brother for the Judge is standing at the door.”
(John) See, if you put it on a human level, if you put it in this plane, I can say, “They hurt me. I’m _____” you know, whatever. But if you send it up into the God realm, into sovereignty, into being grateful to Him, because He is blessing you, because you’re His, then it takes it out of this plane. It’s not who shot Annie anymore. It’s not bitterness. It’s not any of that. You’re removing the, the…
(Martha) The thorn.
(John) Umhmm, yeah.
(Martha) And you really don’t have any need to talk about it if you’re saying, “Thank You.”
(Martha) So, your mouth doesn’t sin as easily if you’re grateful.
(John) Phew… Wow. Well, I hope this is blessing everybody else, because this is certainly blessing us. Woweee!
(Carole) Well, there’s a scripture in 1st Thessalonians 5, starting with verse 16, oh, verse 15 says, “See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.” Right after that it says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” And I just saw that, that when I complain, when I’m not walking in forgiveness, which is very indicting to me right now, I’m quenching the Spirit. I’m keeping Him from doing and being what I really want Him to do and be.
(John) And it’s tied with the giving of thanks.
(Carole) Is it?
(John) Yeah, didn’t it say that?
(Carole) It says, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies…”
(John) But right before it, didn’t it tie it in with gratitude?
(Carole) Yeah, yeah, because in verse 15, it says, “See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.” “Rejoice always.”
(John) Well, rejoicing to me is gratitude. It’s giving thanks.
(Carole) Yes, yes. Then down in verse 18 it repeats again what it said in Ephesians, which is, “In everything,” in everything, “Give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
(Martha) Think about the book of Acts, how they rejoiced when they were thrown in prison unjustly, rejoiced in what God could do because they were rejoicing. That’s 1st century basic tenet of their lives. It’s rejoicing, whatever God… rejoicing when they were beaten. Would we be like, would we be like that? American Christians? Can’t say I would. So, it’s a central, essential base of responding to life and to God and to people. It’s a core issue that keeps the heavens open and keeps you from quenching the Spirit. So, it’s worth doing in other words. It’s worth praying for. Our friend prays for a spirit of gratitude, a heart of gratitude.
*If you haven’t listened to her CD series The Healing Power of Giving Thanks, I think you would be enriched and encouraged by them. We would like to offer you 25% off if you don’t have them yet. The power of thanks is so much more than simply mouthing words; it’s the experience of His abundant life and the peace we so long-fully desire. Use Coupon Code: THANKS at checkout at LivingChristianBooks.com
Giving Thanks and the Fear of God – Episode #546 – Shulamite Podcast
The issue of gratitude to God is bigger than we ever imagined! And while seeking the Scripture for more on giving thanks, the Holy Spirit revealed a shocking connection between gratitude and the fear of God. May we never get over this life-changing revelation!