Let’s not skip over Thanksgiving on our way to Christmas. May we stop and remember all God has done for us this year. Let’s truly be thankful. First and foremost, let’s be thankful for Jesus and the grace and salvation we receive in Christ. Then, we can be thankful for so much more – family, friends, church, health, etc. What are you thankful for today? What is your story of Thanksgiving? Give the Lord the praise and thanks He deserves this Thanksgiving. Our God is so good to us. Thank You, Father!
The Grumbling Israelites
The Lord led his people out of slavery in Egypt. He sent ten plagues over Pharaoh's land, and protected the Israelites by allowing their homes to be passed over (Exodus 12). Even as the Egyptian army pursued the Israelites, God parted the Red Sea so they could make their escape (Exodus 14). The Israelites soon complained to Moses and Aaron in the wilderness that they were starving, and that at least in Egypt they had food to eat. Then, the Lord said:
“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”
— Exodus 16:12
God rained down food for His people in the form of quail and manna. He made these substances appear before the Israelites, so that they had food to eat even in the wilderness. And despite all this, the Israelites complained still.
“If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”
— Numbers 11:4-6
The Israelites rejected God’s plan for their lives. Even though God fulfilled their needs in incredible, miraculous ways, they repeatedly were dissatisfied. They did not show gratitude and thankfulness for His provisions, and they didn’t trust His promises. They seemingly forgot all He had done for them as soon as their stomach grumbled.
In this Thanksgiving season, let’s not delude ourselves. We have the same struggles today that the Israelites had long ago. Most of our church family calls America home. The vast majority of us have a high quality of life compared to the rest of the world. No matter who you are or where you’re from, God has given you breath in your lungs today, and the energy to read these words.
As we sit down for our big Thanksgiving meals this week, let’s remember how that luxury is a gift from God. He provides us with immeasurably more than we deserve, and all that we have is from Him. Let’s never lose our appetites, as the Israelites did, for the blessings the Lord has given us. And if we’re in a state of need, let’s thank God first for what we have, and then ask in prayer for Him to provide for us in miraculous ways, just as He did for the Israelites.
Reflections on Psalm 100
Psalm 100 is a psalm for giving grateful praise. We hope to reflect on its truth all year, but especially around Thanksgiving, it’s so important to have on our hearts.
As we read or sing a psalm, we are worshiping God! To worship is the second most common command in Scripture. Only commands against having fear are more plentiful. Maybe that’s because these two things are linked: the more we raise our voices to thank God for what He’s done in our lives, the more confident we become that He will provide for us once again. The more we are grateful, the more the truth that He is good will resound in our hearts.
Read Psalm 100, reflecting on what it means to worship Him.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.
— Psalm 100
To worship is to boldly acclaim. Do not be afraid to shout your praise to the Lord. Tell others of the joy you have in Him.
To worship is to joyfully approach the Lord. He invites us to come before Him, telling Him what’s on our hearts.
To worship is to rightfully acknowledge that the Lord is God. As psalm 100 reminds us, He is our maker, and we belong in His loving care. He is good. And He has control!
To worship is to totally appreciate the Lord for what He’s done and who He is. Not only is He good today, but His love endures forever.
This Thanksgiving, let’s bring our thanks to Jesus in prayer.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
We can stand out in this world by giving thanks in all circumstances. When times are difficult, let’s remember the salvation and forgiveness we have in Jesus Christ. God can turn even our pain, our toils, and our persecutions into good, and each difficulty we face is a chance to grow in our reliance on our God.
Celebrating God's Goodness // Part 5: Stories of Thanksgiving // Nic Allen