Thanksgiving is great for a number of reasons, one is that it is the passageway into the holiday season. Just around the corner is Christmas and New Years.
There are certain sayings that seem to mark this time of the year. Sayings like, “I’m not going to pig out this year,” but you always do. “I’m going to stick to my diet,” and you never do. “We’re not stopping until we get to Grandma’s,” and you always do, sometimes even before you get out of town!
For most people, the book of Leviticus ranks among their least favorite books in the Bible. It starts out with a number of sacrifices and offerings the Israelites were to offer in order to restore them to a right relationship with God. The Life Application Study Bible says, “God’s laws and sacrifices were intended to bring out devotion of the heart. The ceremonies and rituals were the best way for the Israelites to focus their hearts on Him.”
Leviticus describes the burnt offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, trespass offerings, and so on. But it includes an offering that does not seem to get much attention—the thanksgiving offering. It was to be offered to God as a symbolic “thank you” for all He had done for them. It was also, “Brought as an acknowledgment to others of God’s deliverance or blessing bestowed in answer to prayer” (Bible Knowledge Commentary).
God wants His people to be just as thankful and grateful to Him today as He did when Leviticus was written. It should be as natural as being thankful to God for those who prepare our Thanksgiving feasts.
I remember reading about a survey where famous people were asked: “If you could be granted one wish that will come true right now—what would that be?” Of course there were a great variety of responses, but one especially stood out: “I wish that I could be given an even greater ability to appreciate all that I already have.”
Why are people not thankful?
- Because of selfishness and ingratitude (our sin nature).
- Because of choice. It is easier to be jealous over what someone else is enjoying.
- Because of focusing on negative circumstances.
- Because of taking everything for granted: air, food, hands, friends, church, health, and a million other things for starters.
- Because of no hope (for those who are not Christians).
Let’s agree for a moment that you have it tough. But, is it not still possible to praise and thank the Lord for His excellent goodness toward you? Consider some of the things we should be eternally grateful to God for:
1. Salvation by Grace Alone
Imagine what life would be like if you had to earn salvation like so many religions teach. We realize we are saved only by the blood of Jesus: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).
2. The Holy Bible
Without it we would have no final authority, or we would be like some other religious groups who trust their church leaders or denominational teachings. Now that’s a scary thought! The Bible lets us know that our God is not the God of the Koran and Islam, or the book of Mormons and Mormonism, or the God of the Hindus or Buddhists. He is the Almighty!
3. Our Country
By the way, aren’t you thankful that our forefathers didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving with something less palatable than turkeys? We set aside other days to celebrate America every year, but each of us should be thankful for this country. This might be a good time to take a moment to thank God for the men and women who serve us by serving our country.
This would be both our domestic family and our church family. I love them both, and I’m sure you do as well. We should be careful not to take either one for granted.
The Psalmist said in Psalm 69:30: “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.” Truly, we have much to be thankful for.
During this special Thanksgiving season, let us praise Him for all His goodness to us.