Based on: Deuteronomy 8:10-18
For many generations parents have been telling their children, “Now remember to say ‘Thank you’”. I think even Adam and Eve had to tell their children to say thank you. Certainly they taught their children to say thank you to God – the offerings they made in Genesis chapter 4 were intended to be just that, a thank you to God.
How do you feel when someone says “Thank you” or writes you a thank you card? Does it usually make you feel good? When someone sincerely says “thank you” don’t you understand by those words that you have done something good and helpful and they appreciate what you did.
God doesn’t need us to say thank-you so that he can feel good about himself. He simply wants us to recognize the truth that everything we have comes from him. That is what Moses was trying to tell the Israelites would he said, "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you." Moses is telling the Israelites to remember to say thank you.
The people of Israel were God’s chosen people and God did bless them. We can see that in all of the amazing miracles he performed as he brought them out of Egypt, provided for them in the wilderness, and gave them the land of Canaan. We also see God’s blessings in the reigns of Kings David and Solomon as they prospered politically and financially and throughout their history as he always worked to bring them back from their idolatry.
God has blessed us also, hasn’t he? We who live here in the United States are tremendously blessed. It has been estimated that over 1 billion people on this earth live on the equivalent of $1 per day or less. Yet we have plenty of food and places to live. This Thanksgiving look at how God has blessed you with the food you will eat.
Not only are we blessed here in the United States, but we are blessed by living at this time in history. Just think, King David never had a computer to use when he wrote his psalms. If he made a mistake he had to scratch it out or start over. King Solomon didn’t have a refrigerator that he could go to and pull out a cold can of Coke or Pepsi. And the apostle Paul had to walk on all his missionary journeys, taking days to cover the same distance we can travel by car in just a few hours.
Then there’s the religious freedom that we have right now in this country. If we had lived at any other time in history we would more than likely have to follow the religion of the ruler of the country we were in or suffer persecution. Even today in other parts of the world Christians are physically persecuted. In Indonesia for example, you might see a man standing on the street corner asking for donations so that his group can go out and burn churches and Christian homes, beat and even kill Christians.
We are certainly blessed, but do you think there is a temptation to take these things for granted? There certainly is. It was the same for the Israelites. That’s why Moses told them, “Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God.” Moses also told them, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.”
We know in our head that all these things come from God, but sometimes that truth isn’t always something we understand in our hearts. We act as if all of this stuff came to us as the result of our own power and strength – we use it for our own pleasure instead of serving God. We need to realize that God can take all of the physical blessings of this world away from us and, in fact, he will take them away on the day we die.
Remember to thank God for the blessings he has given you. Just think, you might have been born in a different place or at a different time, but God placed you in this country and at this period of time so that he could bless you with the things he has given you.
But even greater than this, God brought you to a place and time so that you could hear the Gospel. He orchestrated events throughout history so that would hear his message of salvation and believe. He sent others into your life so that you would hear the message that Jesus Christ lived a perfect life in your place and that there on the cross he suffered the punishment we deserve for our sin, even the sin of not thanking God for all that he has done for us. Now that God has blessed us in this way, he has promised for us a wedding feast in heaven. A feast greater than any Thanksgiving meal we will ever enjoy. This is something truly worth saying thank you for.
Now how can we say thank you to God for that? Can we perhaps give up some of the blessings that he is given us here on this earth? We certainly can. We can use our physical blessings to tell others about the spiritual blessings God has given us and prepared for them in Jesus Christ.
As you celebrate this Thanksgiving, remember these words from Moses, "When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good things he has given you."