“Giving Thanks To The Lord”
Later this week, millions of American citizens will celebrate "Thanksgiving" as a time to be with family and friends while also considering the many blessings we've been given. Unfortunately, too many Americans won't take the time to consider the important place of God as part of this day. Far too many men and women don't worship or obey the Creator and fail to take a few extra moments to consider the greatness of our God. For Christians, Thanksgiving ought never become a "once-each-year" event but a continual part of who we are as servants of the most high God.
The phrase, "giving thanks to the Lord" is used only one time in the Bible. Under the leadership of Zerubbabel some five centuries before Jesus, returning captives of the Babylonian armies began rebuilding the great temple of God in the holy city of Jerusalem. Once the foundation was laid, the spiritual leaders led the people of God in a pseudo-dedication ceremony that included singing, shouting, and weeping on the part of the older men who had now lived long enough to have seen the original temple as well as this one now under construction. Ezra records that, "They sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord: For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel." The scribe continues by writing, "Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid" (Ezra 3:11).
The only way that the people had returned to Jerusalem was through the grace of God. The only way that the people were able to rebuild the temple was through His mercy. And the only way that these men were able to experience a rebirth that they must have dreamed about for years was through the incredible planning and allowance of the Creator. If there was ever a time in the lives of these people for them to give thanks to the Lord, it was now!
The same is true for each of us. Now is the time to give thanks to the Lord. It is only through Him that we are made free from the captivity of sin. It is only by the grace of God that we can be both reborn and rebuilt in ways that are really hard for us to describe. As we consider the Thanksgiving holiday, let us remember those in Jerusalem who gave thanks to the Lord and how much they had to be thankful for. In consideration of them, let us also be very aware of our own lives and how much we have to be thankful for. With that in mind, let us do two things. First, let's conduct our lives with obedience to God, sharing with Him how thankful we are. And second, let us do all we can to use our thankfulness to influence others to consider our God and hopefully join us in service to His holy name.