“Offer unto God thanksgiving…whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright, will I shew the salvation of God” (Psalm 50:14,23). In these verses, the same word is translated as thanksgiving and praise. The Hebrew word tôwdâh (to – daw´) is properly translated as “an extension of the hand” and is usually associated with adoration (8462). When a person is offering praise to God, he is lifting his hands toward heaven in an expression of adoration.
The Israelite thanksgiving offering was a type of peace offering that was made when a person was delivered from trouble or distress. A situation that causes us distress is one that involves psychological or spiritual pain. In a sense, it can be like torture because it is outside our control and affects us deeply within our soul.
The nightmares I experienced after I was raped are an example of distress that God has delivered me from. Sometimes I didn’t want to fall asleep because of the terror I experienced in my dreams. I would wake up afterwards in a state of panic and sometimes feel the presence of demonic beings.
I think the reason the thanksgiving offering was linked with peace was because being delivered from distress results in peace and it produces a great deal of appreciation, and likewise adoration of God. I believe the key to understanding thanksgiving is first hand experience with the feelings associated with distress and knowing what trouble is really about.
The word translated trouble, tsârâh (tsar – raw´) means tight (6869) and is derived from the word tsar (tsawr) which means a tight place (6862). The idea behind both of these words is that of being stuck or unable to escape. “Tsar is a general designation for ‘enemy'” (6862), so the word implies being trapped by an enemy and unable to escape. Although there is clearly an enemy involved in the act of rape, the feeling of being trapped usually occurs afterward when the memory of what happened gets stuck in your brain and causes you psychological pain many years later.
Deliverance is typically something that only God can do. In essence, an act of deliverance is a miracle because it is an impossible situation that is turned around or made right. In order to truly deliver someone from distress, you have to eliminate the psychological and spiritual pain she is experiencing, which usually involves the elimination of memory.
There are many ways that God’s salvation can be manifested. In the same way that he is able to remove our sin and make it as if it never happened, God can remove memories and make it as if certain events or experiences have never happened. If you have received his salvation, then thank God, and praise him with your hands lifted high this Thanksgiving.