The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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‘Twas the year of the famine in Plymouth of old,

The ice and the snow from the thatched roofs had rolled;

   Through the warm purple skies steered the geese o’er the seas,

And the woodpeckers tapped in the clocks of the trees;

    And the boughs on the slopes to the south winds lay bare,

And dreaming of summer, the buds swelled in the air.

The pale Pilgrims welcomed each reddening morn;

      There were left but for rations Five Kernels of Corn.

           This first stanza of Hezekiah Butterworth’s well-known poem introduces early Thanksgiving “feasts” experienced by the Pilgrims following their arrival to the New World while also issuing a call for thankfulness in the midst of less-than-favorable circumstances. According to the legend of the five kernels of corn, food was in short supply during the first year or two the Pilgrims spent in their new home due to drought and bitter cold. The food supply was so low that daily rations consisted of only five kernels of corn. Despite the severe lack of food, however, thanksgiving was offered to God “for the abundance of the sea and the treasures of the sand.”
Although crops planted the following spring yielded much and the Pilgrims had plenty of food to sustain them, they embraced the custom of celebrating Thanksgiving each year by placing five kernels of corn at every plate as a reminder of the hardships they had endured and the blessings they enjoyed.
          Christians have many reasons to be thankful. Many of these reasons are highlighted in Psalm 103…a psalm that has been called “the most beautiful, the most perfect, the most comprehensive, of all the psalms of thanksgiving….” With the opening words “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name” the author of this psalm implored the entirety of his personality and inner being to express praise and adoration to God. The psalmist uttered a similar command to his soul multiple times as he expressed gratitude throughout this psalm.
          “Forgetting not all his benefits” served as the basis for which praise emanated from the entirety of the psalmist’s being. Against the backdrop of Psalm 103:1-5 and in keeping with the manner in which the Pilgrims used five kernels of corn to remind them of their many blessings, please receive this edition of From Daniel’s Den as a reminder of the host of blessings for which the psalmist praised God and for which we likewise should be thankful. 
          The Kernel of Forgiveness is the first blessing highlighted by the psalmist as he praised God “who forgives all your sins…” (v. 3a). This blessing is primary and therefore is presented first. Why? Because if a person cannot praise God for the forgiveness of sin, then great is the likelihood that he or she will not offer praise to God for anything. Though completely undeserved, God is faithful to forgive all sin as we, in faith, confess our sin (2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 John 1:9, Acts 10:43, Colossians 1:13-14).   
          The Kernel of Healing is presented next. The psalmist praised God for “healing all your diseases…” (v. 3b). While not all those who suffer a disease experience physical restoration, God is the Great Physician and able to heal all diseases. As such, the psalmist commanded his soul to bless the Lord “who heals all your diseases.”
Diseases of the soul…one’s inner-most being…stem from the very sin for which forgiveness is offered. Even as the blood of Jesus cleanses us from the disease of sin, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit leads us to live for and conform to the image of Christ (Hebrews 9:11-14).
          The psalmist further praised God for the Kernel of Redemption as he experienced being “bought back” from the pit of destructive and corrupt forces of sin. Though previously separated from God due to sin, believers have been redeemed through Jesus’ vicarious and victorious death on the cross. Having been “bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20) that consisted not of “perishable things like silver or gold…but with the precious blood of Christ…” (1 Peter 1:18-19), we praise God from a heart of gratitude for our deliverance while “living for Jesus a life that is true…striving to please him in all that we do.”
          The Kernel of Love and Compassion is presented not as a jewel-encrusted and gold-laden headpiece worn by an earthly king, but as God’s amazing grace, unending love, and tender mercy that is bestowed lavishly upon His children. The psalmist commands his soul to render grateful praise to God for the manner and measure with which He relates to those who are in a love relationship with Him.
          The Kernel of Satisfaction and Renewal represents the fifth benefit for which the entirety of the psalmist’s inner being sought to offer praise to God (v. 5). Because the Hebrew of this verse is obscure, translations of the first portion of this verse are varied and include “who satisfies your mouth with good things” (KJV) or desire (NIV), or years (NASB) or you/your ornament (CSB) or my life (NLT). Despite the differences in translation, the savory, sufficient and satisfying quality of God’s goodness is unquestioned. Furthermore, His goodness has a youth-renewing quality reflective of the strength and vitality of an eagle. Renewal, refreshment, and revival are among the many benefits enjoyed by the psalmist for which he praised God.
          As you spend time with family and friends this week, remember to thank God for all of His blessings. Rather than approach Thanksgiving Day as a time to “start with the gobbler and end with the cobbler,” reflect on the gratitude of the early settlers of our country and their custom of placing five kernels of corn at each plate to remind them of God’s provision. Bless the Lord with all that is within you as you praise His holy name.


Dear Heavenly Father, may I live each day of my life with an attitude of gratitude for your love for me and the manner in which you demonstrated this love through the cross. May I be ever-mindful of the provisions of life and the accompanying blessings that you have and are bestowing upon me and my family. May my praise of you be holy and acceptable in your sight my rock and my redeemer. Amen.