The Rev. Lou Tiscione
Every day I thank the Lord for the blessings of this life. I know that everything that I enjoy is from His hand. We all enjoy the blessings of our sovereign God. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote the reality of God’s sovereign actions in the midst of his suffering. Jeremiah said, “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” God has called His people to “give Him thanks in all circumstances,” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
We are blessed in our country to have a day set aside for giving God thanks. You may know that George Washington set the day apart to thank God for His providence. Thank you is so easy to say, yet so often neglected.
Our tendency is to look at those things that are not of our liking and complain about them. It seems distasteful to thank God for even those bad things. But, that’s exactly what God’s will is for us. He said to give thanks in all circumstances.
One of the greatest celebrations in the Bible was a thanksgiving service. 1 Chronicles 16 records King David preparing and implementing a celebration of giving thanks to God. The actual event that motivated David was the reminder of God’s covenantal promise made visible in the Ark of the Covenant. David organized this great worship service to, “invoke, to thank and to praise the LORD.” 1 Chr. 16:4
The Ark of the Covenant was designed by God and it contained the stone tablets upon which God wrote the Ten Commandments. There was also with the Ark in the Holy of Holies, the golden urn containing the manna from heaven and the budded staff of Aaron.
King David knew that the people of God needed a visible reminder of His providence. They saw the Ark of the Covenant as a constant reminder that God would be faithful to His promise made to Abraham and his seed, Genesis 17:7. The people of God were reminded that He provided their food in the desert. Jesus said that the Father knows what we need and He will provide for our daily sustenance. God’s people in the wilderness were fickle as are we. God gave them a sign of His leading them through Moses and Aaron. When rebellion broke out against Moses and Aaron, God caused Aaron’s staff to bud. God told Moses to keep that budded staff before the people to remind them of His chosen leadership. It became a reminder to the people of God that He was leading them and would protect them.
Consider what God has given to us! We have been given God’s word written. We hear Him every time we read His word. Every Christian has been given the Holy Spirit who works in concert with the Word to change us and speak to our hearts. God has said that believers can approach His throne of grace with confidence because Jesus has given them access through His shed blood. As we come to the Father in our quiet moments, He has promised to hear us and to answer our prayers in ways that are beyond what we ask or think.
The above gives abundant reasons for giving thanks. But, God is good beyond all measure. He has given us families, friends, provisions and above all the freedom to worship Him.
In addition, Christians have the Holy Spirit who testifies to our spirit that they are children of God, Romans 8:16. Believers have God’s constant presence leading and protecting them. Believers now have a clearer revelation of God’s working then did the church of the Old Testament. Christians, therefore, should have a greater desire to give thanks to God.
We have been given this opportunity to offer thanks and to take time for reflection upon the providence of God. Enjoy time with families and friends. Acknowledge the one who has so graciously provided all that we enjoy.
My prayer is that as you remember and give thanks you will be filled with the knowledge and love of God. He is the source of all that we have. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17 Thank the Lord God from whom all blessings flow!
The Rev. Lou Tiscione is pastor at Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)