Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Isaiah 12:4
In the seventeenth century, Martin Rinkart served as a clergyman in Saxony, Germany, for more than thirty years during times of war and plague. One year he conducted more than 4,000 funerals, including his wife’s, and at times food was so scarce that his family went hungry. Although he could have despaired, his faith in God remained strong and he gave thanks continually. In fact, he poured his gratitude into “Nun danket alle Gott,” the song that became the well-loved English hymn, “Now Thank We All Our God.”
Rinkart followed the example of the prophet Isaiah, who instructed God’s people to give thanks at all times, including when they’d disappointed God (Isaiah 12:1) or when enemies oppressed them. Even then they were to exalt God’s name, making “known among the nations what he has done” (v. 4).
We might give thanks easily during harvest celebrations such as Thanksgiving, when we’re enjoying an abundant feast with friends and family. But can we express our gratitude to God in difficult times, such as when we’re missing someone from our table or when we’re struggling with our finances or when we’re locked in conflict with one close to us?
Let’s echo Pastor Rinkart, joining hearts and voices as we give praise and thanks to “the eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore.” We can “sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things” (v. 5).
In times of hardship, how do you turn to thanksgiving and praise? What role does God through His Holy Spirit play in this?
Father God, I thank You for Your amazing work in my life. You love me unendingly, more than I can even express.
Salvation—a term used to express rescue, deliverance, and victory—is a major theme in the Old and New Testaments. Though used extensively in Isaiah (the noun form occurs more than twenty-five times), the first time it’s explicitly used is in 12:2–3. The root of the word translated “salvation” in these verses is the most important word for salvation in the Old Testament. It’s the verb yaw-shah’, which signifies “freedom from that which binds or restricts; . . . to deliver, liberate, give length and breadth to.”
Salvation is also a favorite word for the psalmist (used approximately forty times) including verses like, “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1). Jonah declared, “Salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). The name Joshua comes from this word and means, “The Lord saves.” The name Jesus (Matthew 1:21) is the Greek word for Joshua.