Psalm 145:15-16 (Thanksgiving Eve)
“Our God Graciously Satisfies”
Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, Enfield CT
November 26, 2014
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Our text is from Psalm 145:15-16:
“The eyes of all wait upon you, and you give to them their food in its time, opening your hand and satisfying the desire for all living things.”
We find this text used by Martin Luther in The Small Catechism in the section “Grace at Table: Blessing Before Eating”: How the Head of the Family Shall Teach His Household to Offer Blessing and Thanksgiving at Table – When children and the whole household gather at the table, they should reverently fold their hands and say: “The eyes of all look to You, [O Lord,] and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” Then shall be said the Lord’s Prayer and the following: “Lord God, heavenly Father, bless us and these Your gifts which we receive from Your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.” Many Lutherans to this day continue to use this form of asking a blessing at dinner. Others, like my family, use what we call the common table prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let Thy gifts to us be blessed. Amen.” Either one, or another table prayer, is most appropriate to acknowledge and give thanks for the food that God so graciously gives us to support this body and life.
This is what David encourages us to do in Psalm 145 which begins “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.” (vv. 1-2) He continues a few verses later, “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you!” (vv. 8-10)
Look what God does for His creatures! He is good to all of His creation. His mercy extends to everything that He has made! Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, says as much in the Sermon on the Mount, “Look at the birds of the air, . . . your heavenly Father feeds them. . . . Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, . . . even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these [which God clothes].” (Matt. 6) It is within this context that our Lord Jesus reminds us that as the crown of God’s creation, we do not need to be anxious about food and drink and clothes, nor do we need to be greedy for them. Because God knows that we need these things and, in His grace, provides them for us even without our asking.
How wonderfully do we learn this Biblical truth in The Small Catechism! Explaining the First Article of the Apostle’s Creed, Luther writes, “I believe that God has made me and all creatures. . . . He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.” Connecting this First Article to the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread,” Luther says, “God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.”
In other words, everyone waits upon God for what they need in this life—good and bad, believer and unbeliever. God gives food, indeed, daily bread, to everyone as He opens His hand of grace and satisfies His creation’s desires for the basics of life. This goes on day after day, week after week, year after year. Yet what our loving God as our King does by grace, we often fail to recognize.
Greed for more and anxiety over lack often take the place of our faithful waiting upon the Lord to do what He does in providing for us. We many times fail always to trust that God will continue to open His hand and satisfy our desires for the things that we need in this life. Thus our greed and anxiety take away the satisfaction that God Himself gives. We have a tendency to want more of things in life. When we don’t get what we want in the amounts that we want, we tend to be unsatisfied. That’s greed. We also have a tendency to wonder if God will really continue to do the good things He always has in providing for our needs of body and life. We fail to trust that God will continue to open His hand and give us enough. That’s anxiety or worry about the things God has promised to give—food, drink, clothes, shoes, house, land, money, goods, and so on.
But what does David say in God’s Word? “The eyes of all wait upon you, and you give to them their food in its time, opening Your hand and satisfying the desire for every living thing.” Does David accuse God of failing to do? Not at all! Does David say that somehow God is going to stop doing this in the future? No way! David writes the facts. All creation waits upon God the King to do for His creation what He, as a gracious God, does for His creation—give daily bread to everyone.
God is not going to back out of this. The proof is in His love for a creation that is completely corrupted by sin and subjected to futility, to decay and to death. Jesus, true God and true Man, has redeemed us, bought us and all creation back to God. He shed His precious blood on a cross to make everything between people and God right again by winning for us the forgiveness of sins. He pours out His love for us in Christ in His Gospel Word, in the waters of Baptism, and in the bread and wine, the Body and Blood of Jesus, in the Lord’s Supper. As God our Father cares for us in Christ, He erases the greed and the anxiety from us. He proves to us to His gracious love and mercy in Jesus for everlasting life, assuring us that we can trust Him to continue to provide the things we need in this earthly life.
By grace through faith in Jesus, we, who continue to wait upon the Lord for food and drink, clothes, house, and the things of that we need to support our body and life here and now, realize that our God and King continues to open His gracious hands of love to us for the sake of Jesus. He gives to us by grace everything that we need, satisfying our desires so that we neither must be anxious nor greedy. Our God and King truly does satisfy. We have forgiveness and everlasting life. We have food and clothes and shelter. And He empowers us to be content with these, even as he graciously gives us more than we either desire or deserve.
By the working of the Holy Spirit, at this time of Thanksgiving, let us pray for our daily bread with confidence and trust that He who gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater (Is. 55:10) will continue, by grace, to give us our food in its time, opening His hand of love and satisfying the desires of every living thing. May we not only trust more firmly in this Word, but also allow ourselves to be God’s instruments for His providing of food and clothes and shelter to those who are in need, so that through us, they can see firsthand how God opens His hand of love and grace to them. Amen.