Derek Prince - What Should We Thank God For
This excerpt is from: Thanksgiving, Praise and Worship
And then we'll consider this question that I've already touched on, of the approach to God. The best place to look there is in Psalm 100, a very beautiful, familiar psalm. Talking about coming into the house of God and approaching God, it says in verse 4: 'Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His Name.' Notice there are two stages of access to God. The first is through the gates. The second is through His courts. The gates give you admission to the courts. And the courts give you access to the actual house of God. But you can't get into them except by the prescribed route, which is: His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise. The first step of access to God is thanksgiving. The second, which we'll deal with in our next talk, is praise.
I am totally convinced that a person who does not come to God... has no close access to God. Unless... such a person comes the prescribed way, with thanksgiving and praise. Some of you may pray at times and feel you're a long way from God. Quite possibly, the reason is you're not coming by the prescribed route. You can stand outside the courts and shout at God, and He'll hear you and He'll have mercy on you. But you don't have access to Him unless you come with thanksgiving and praise. He's laid that down and He's not going to change it. Then you say: (Of course you wouldn't say that but others might)... 'Well, I really don't have anything to thank God for. Why should I thank Him? Things are going wrong, my life is all in a state of turmoil. Why should I thank God?'
Well, the psalmist has given you three answers in verse 5. He says: 'Be thankful to Him, and bless His Name.' Why? 'For the LORD is good, His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.' Those three things are always true. No matter how you feel. No matter what your circumstances are. These things never change. The Lord is always good. His mercy is everlasting. His truth endures to all generations. So you have three permanent, unchanging reasons for thanking God. Don't focus on your feelings. Don't focus on your situation. Focus on these eternal, unchanging aspects of God's nature and of His dealings with us. And, you will be thanking God ceaselessly. We all have so much to thank God for. It's a shame if we don't do it.
Now in Luke 17, I don't think we'll turn there, but there's the story of the ten lepers who met Jesus. You remember, as lepers, they were not allowed to come near to anybody, they were unclean. They had to continually shout: 'Unclean, unclean', warning everybody to stay out of their way because their disease was so contagious. But it says they lifted up their voice from a distance... and shouted to Jesus and said, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.' And Jesus gave them a very simple reply. He said: 'Go and show yourselves to the priests.'
Now, a person who was healed or cleansed from leprosy, had to present himself to the priest to receive a certificate that he was no longer infectious. So by telling them to go and show themselves to the priest, Jesus was saying, 'On the way you'll be healed. By the time you get there, the priest will be able to certify that you don't have any more leprosy.' That, you see, is faith. Sometimes we're healed as we go. If we just stand still and say nothing has happened, nothing ever will happen.
Well, all of them were cleansed of leprosy. But only one, who was a Samaritan, not a Jew, returned to give Jesus thanks. And he fell down on his face and thanked Him. Jesus said: 'Were there not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Why is it only this foreigner that's come back to give Me thanks?' And then He said to the man: 'Your faith has saved you.' (That's the Greek.) 'Go in peace.' The language is very important, it doesn't come out clearly in the English translation. All of them, all ten were cleansed. But only the one who returned to give thanks, was saved. Each of them had a physical healing. But only the one who came back to give thanks... received the eternal spiritual healing of salvation. And he was the only one that came close to Jesus. So you see, without thanksgiving, we have no access to God.