Is God thankful? Have you ever thought about the question?
Throughout the Bible we are encouraged, exhorted and instructed to be thankful. Twenty six times in the Psalms alone we are encouraged to give thanks.
The Old Testament saints were constantly stopping to present offerings to the Lord to give him thanks for victories in battle and other significant events.
When we come to the New Testament we see even more thankfulness on the part of believers and the authors who penned the Bible. For example:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
And another example:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;— Philippians 4:6
Thankfulness is so good for us that even the secular world taps into it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard motivational speakers talk about “the attitude of gratitude” and the benefits of being thankful.
Is God Thankful?
But what about God? Does thankfulness apply to him too? Is God thankful?
I believe the answer is a resounding Yes! And here are some reasons why I think so.
First, think about it from a natural perspective. In a strictly human sense good leaders don’t demand anything of those following them that they wouldn’t do themselves. If good human leaders understand that, how much more does God?
And if that’s the case how could God repeatedly exhort us to be thankful throughout scripture if it wasn’t part of his own nature?
James says believers are like firstfruits of all creatures in God’s eyes.
Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.— James 1:18
The firstfruits offering was given out of thankfulness for an increase or a new harvest. If God considers believers to be firstfruits then it means He is thankful for them.
Devil is Unthankful
The devil rebelled against God because he decided he would be like God and tried to usurp God’s authority.
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’ — Isaiah 14:12-14
Someone who is so self seeking that they try to usurp God’s rightful place is someone who is not at all thankful.
Jesus Gave Thanks
That antithesis of that is Jesus who understood and accepted his role, humbled and submitted himself to the Father of the Godhead.
Even so Jesus is still God at the same time. There are many people who get tripped up at this point and chose not to believe. But the Bible is clear on this one. For example:
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;— Colossians 2:9
Jesus is the personification of the entirety of God in physical form. When we see how Jesus interacted with people we see how the Father and how the Holy Spirit relate to people.
Throughout the Gospels we see Jesus giving thanks many times. For example:
- Before the miracle of feeding the 5,000 (Mat 15:36, John 6:11)
- At the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11:41)
- At the last supper the night before his crucifixion (Matt 26:27, Mark 14:23, Luke 22:17)
It was so common for Jesus to express thankfulness for his food that after walking and talking for some time with a resurrected Jesus a couple of his disciples finally recognized him by the way he gave thanks. (Luke 24:30-31)
Since Jesus is God in human form and he gave thanks throughout his life then obviously God is thankful.
God is Thankful
So we see that natural order, firstfruits, the fact that the devil is unthankful, and Jesus being God in the flesh while giving thanks throughout his life all seem to point to one conclusion.
God is indeed thankful.