Our Gift of Gratitude to God

Yael Eckstein  |  December 8, 2022

Female IDF soldier gives a plant to an elderly Jewish man.

Give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name;
Make His deeds known among the peoples. —
1 Chronicles 16:8 (NASB)

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a renowned Jewish theologian, once said, “It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.” Please enjoy these devotions focused on gratitude during this season when families gather to give thanks.

It’s not unusual on a Friday night at the Kotel (the Western Wall) to hear some of those gathered in prayer spontaneously break out in song. The spirituality of the place is such that emotions can be expected to bubble over.

Indeed, the city of Jerusalem has been witness to such spontaneity ever since the days of King David. The Bible tells us that when the Ark of the Covenant entered the Holy City after he had arranged for its arrival, David broke out into joyous celebration along with his subjects. The revelry culminated, as we are told in Chapter 16, with a poem composed by David for the occasion.

We read the beginning of David’s poem in 1 Chronicles: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make His deeds known among the peoples.”

Our Gift of Gratitude to God

Why does the verse direct us to “call on His name” after already telling us to “give thanks to the LORD?” If I’ve just thanked God, haven’t I already called on His name?

The first person we see in the Bible who “called on the name of the LORD” was Abraham. Right after God sent him on his journey to the Promised Land and called on Abraham to be a blessing to all the families of the earth, the Bible tells us that Abraham “built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 12:8)

Abraham’s mission was to spread knowledge of the one true God to all people. When the Bible tells us that he “called on the name of the LORD,” the meaning is clear. Abraham went around teaching people about God.

And that’s what King David was talking about in this verse. The way we repay God for His kindness to us is to give Him the one thing He asks of all people of faith, what he asked of Abraham — God wants us to spread knowledge of Him to everyone on earth. The gift of gratitude we can give God is to spread His name and our faith to others.

David was overjoyed by the arrival of the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem. It was a great accomplishment for him as king. But King David did not simply celebrate. He used his feelings of gratitude to spread faith and knowledge of God to others.

Your Turn:

Use your feelings of gratitude to God as a foundation for teaching others about Him.