Our Praise and Thanksgiving

Yael Eckstein  |  September 20, 2021

Several people praying together as they raise their hands in praise.

“Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field.” —Exodus 23:16

At sundown today, my family and I will join Jews around the world in celebrating Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. Please enjoy these devotions, which were prepared for you in advance, about this joyous holiday that immediately follows the High Holy Days.

“Mommy, why did God tell us to do all these things? He can do whatever He wants. Why does He need us to thank Him all the time?”

If you’re anything like me, you probably half enjoy and half dread questions like these. I love that my child is asking questions about God, but now I actually have to answer them! In all seriousness, my child has a point. Why does God need our praise and thanks? Does it do anything for God?

Here’s what I answered. “Did you know that King David asked the same question?” In Psalm 116:12, King David wrote, “What shall I return to the LORD for all his goodness to me?

How can we repay God when we have nothing to give in return? We rejoice in the experience of God’s blessings of abundance, we are grateful, but we know He needs nothing.

Our Praise and Thanksgiving

This verse comes right in the middle of Psalm 116, which is part of Hallel — the Psalms of Praise, the name given to Psalms 113 through 118. While these psalms are sung in the synagogue on all of the biblical festivals, they are abridged on most days when they are sung. Only on the Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot, are the entire six psalms recited on all seven days of the festival.

So, you’re probably wondering, “How can we repay God?” Why does He “need” our praise and thanksgiving? King David gives us the answer in the very next verse: “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD” (v.13).

It’s true that God can create anything. It’s true that He has no needs. But the one thing that God depends on us for is faith in Him. God wants us to publicize Him, to let the whole world know about His love and goodness. The way we repay God is by calling out His name and making Him known throughout the world with our praise and thanksgiving.

At this time of year, when the land of Israel experiences the time of ingathering and abundance, we are called to repay God for the gifts He has given us by giving Him what He wants. We “will raise a cup of salvation” and call out the name of the Lord!

Your Turn:

Think of ways that you can use the blessings of God to spread knowledge of Him to others.

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