We are less than two weeks from a major national holiday here in the United States – Thanksgiving. This day has a long history and evolution. Today it has settled into a more secular observance with emphasis on “a day to gather with loved ones, celebrate, give thanks for many blessings and, of course, eat.” All this is fine up to a point. Giving thanks for blessings and being with family is good.
However, I would like to encourage the people of God to dig a little deeper this year.
We have been and continue to experience trials that we had not anticipated. We have not been shielded from the serious effects of the corona virus and some may wonder why. But as recent sermons have brought to our attention, God is never far from us under all circumstances.
Thankfulness from a biblical perspective is quite a bit more than family gatherings and food. And in all honesty, that is the emphasis where our more secular approach has led us.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word most often associated with thanksgiving is yada. It implies confession of praise to God for His attributes and works. It never has a human being as its object. Notice the example of the Levites as the ark is restored to its rightful place by King David. “And he appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to commemorate, to thank, and to praise the Lord God of Israel” (1 Chronicles 16:4).
They were to note what they were being thankful for and respond with thanks (yada). All of this is directed to God and God alone. The object of yada is always God. The New Testament takes us in the same direction. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
During this recent period of time, many prayer requests filtered through multiple Church organizations. The response was almost overwhelming. But it showed that God’s people can, and will, act together under certain circumstances. There is no doubt that God heard the prayers of His people.
Please allow this update to serve as my wife and my personal heartfelt thanks and gratitude for your love and concern. And as Thanksgiving approaches, let us turn our attention to giving God the thanks that is His. Without Him, I would not be sitting here typing this and Mike McKinney would not be on the mend.
Let each of us adopt as our thanksgiving theme the words of David. “…give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people… talk of all His wonderous works” (1 Chronicles 16:8-9).
To enhance our day of thanksgiving, be sure to read David’s Song of Thanksgiving (1 Chronicles 16) and use it as the foundation for giving thanks to God.