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Devotion for Nov. 16, 2009


On June 6, 2009, in the town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise, French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed France's deep appreciation to 38 Americans by awarding them France's highest honor, the French Legion of Honor Medal. Sixty-five years ago, during the 1944 Normandy invasion, these American soldiers helped liberate France from Nazi occupation. For many of those honored, it was their first trip back to France since the end of the war. Retired Major Delmar Boswell described this recent visit as "a crowning point of his career." He added, "It was great and made me feel proud that whatever we had done was remembered."

For those who were liberated by the Allied Forces, the desire to remember is strong and is often manifested in public memorials or annual ceremonies. Commemorating momentous events is an important part of expressing gratitude and ensuring that these events aren't forgotten. We've already seen the link between forgetting and ingratitude. It's interesting to learn, then, that the English words think and thank probably derived from the same source.

The psalmist who wrote Psalm 105 understood the connection between remembering and being thankful. This psalm offers a grateful reflection on God's numerous saving acts in Israel's history, and flows naturally from Psalm 104, which focuses on God's acts in creation.

Psalm 105 begins with a call to worship. Notice the commands to "give thanks" (v. 1), "tell of his wonderful acts" (v. 2), and "remember" (v. 5). Notice also that the psalmist urges praise because God also remembers——He remembers His covenant and His promises forever. The psalm then celebrates God's protection (vv. 12-15), especially in the life of Joseph (vv. 16-22). The psalm next recounts the manifold ways by which God led His people in Egypt through Moses and Aaron. It concludes with an account of the conquest of the land. The final exhortation to praise the Lord (v. 45) follows naturally from this celebration of God's faithfulness.

Apply the Word

If you're planning a Thanksgiving meal, consider asking your guests to come ready to share things for which they're thankful. To prepare for your own sharing, consider writing a "psalm of thanksgiving," in which you recount the mighty acts of God in your life history. As you remember these events, ask the Lord to increase your gratitude for His work in your life, although it's quite likely that this will happen spontaneously as you reflect on what He has done. You could also share your psalm with family members or friends.

BY Dana M. Harris

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