Bible Ballistics: Thankful For What??? Vol. 7#1
I hope you enjoyed and were helped by our look at Daniel. We’ll take some time to reflect on some current issues over the next few weeks, and then we may try another continuing study of a particular part of God’s Word. Please let me know how these are working for you, as my desire to is please God through this ministry and to meet your needs through His Word as much as I can.
As we here in America are celebrating Thanksgiving, it seems an interesting “Holiday”. For while there are many who are “thankful”, there are even more who have no concept of gratitude, thankfulness or any recognition of the blessings they have received—neither from God nor anyone else! We live in a society of expectations and entitlements– a culture of “gimme”, “gimme”, “gimme”! It is at least refreshing that we can still use the word “thanks-giving”.
For those of you who follow my blog either by email, Facebook or the Bibleballistics.com website, you know I’ve been focusing on a series called “Thanks-Living”. And for those of us who believe in and follow Jesus Christ, we are called to live lives of gratitude to God and others; it should be a way of life, not just a time of year! But like everyone, we get distracted, mis-directed and forgetful of the need for an “attitude of gratitude”. One of my favorite signs of all time is the Thanksgiving one that said: “Are you humbly grateful, or grumbly hateful?” That kind of says it all—it’s a matter of attitude, and scripture reveals what our attitude ought to be:
“In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus
concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
And since we are to give thanks in “every thing”, I’d like us to take a journey through scripture to observe some of the people, places, things, and events for which some of the characters in scripture gave thanks. Let’s go:
“Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.” 2 Samuel 22:50
David is thanking God for delivering the kingdom into his hands after years of running and hiding for his life.
“Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people….. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever..” 1 Chronicles 16:8 & 34
David continues to thank God for successfully bringing the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ into Jerusalem. And if you go back and read about the earlier attempt, you’ll find that David had a very bad experience and became angry with God. But David came to learn that “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.. And when David got right with God, and followed God’s prescribed ways, he was able to rejoice in The Lord again.
“And Hezekiah appointed the courses of the priests and the Levites after their courses, every man according to his service, the priests and Levites for burnt offerings and for peace offerings, to minister, and to give thanks, and to praise in the gates of the tents of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 31:2
King Hezekiah upon calling the people of Judah to return to God and cleanse the land of idolatry. He set the Levites to lead the praise and worship of the people before God.
“And the chief of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brethren over against them, to praise and to give thanks, according to the commandment of David the man of God, ward over against ward.” Nehemiah 12:24
The re-establishment of temple worship after the return from Babylonian exile brought gratitude of heart and the desire to praise God in worship (as David had prescribed).
“Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” Psalm 18:49
If you’ll notice, this is a duplicate of what is above from 2 Samuel 22:50, where David wrote this song of praise to his God. I find it note-worthy that this was such a powerful song that it was also recorded in the “song book” of Psalms for posterity sake, and for corporate worship! And while we could list numerous verses from the Psalms, suffice it to say that the songbook of Israel is replete with praise and thanks to the God of all creation, but we must sing them from a heart of gratitude not just with lips that aren’t truly grateful! God wants people of true devotion to worship Him, and HE knows the difference even when others may not.
“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” Isaiah 29:13
Where is your heart—near to God, or are you just offering “lip” service”? Only you can answer that question, but it is a question that needs to be answered.
“And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.” 2 Chronicles 20:21
Here King Jehoshaphat is leading his army out in obedience to the direction of The Lord in a totally absurd (to the world) walk of faith. A walk that had the army led by people singing praises to God. Whoa!!! What an act of obedient faith and worship! That’s a game changer—and they won if you were wondering; go back and read the whole account. It will encourage your soul!
“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19
Jesus himself was giving thanks for the opportunity to die for me—for you! Gratitude that is so devoted to God that He could give thanks for His sacrifice! Now that puts me to shame! How about you? When was the last time we were willing to “give thanks” for the privilege of suffering for Jesus? Maybe never? Oh precious Lord, give me a heart willing to praise you in all things—I desire to be more like YOU!
“He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” Romans 14:6
Paul tells us that we are to respect the different convictions of others, in fact just a few verses earlier he reminds us that we are God’s servants, and we answer to HIM individually:
“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4
It is God who holds me accountable, and it is also God who holds me up and leads me in His Word to be what He wants me to be. He is working all things to make me more like Jesus. (See Romans 8:28-29)
“The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:56-58
Paul reminds us that whether in life or in death we have the victory—“ thanks be to God”—we win. So whether you’re facing difficulties in life, or are dealing with death right in your face, God has given us the victory and we can thank HIM and praise HIM in “all things”!!! As an old song by Marvin V. Frey (1918-1992) says:
“Praise Him in the morning, Praise Him in the noontime….Praise Him when the sun goes down…..” Just praise HIM!!!
We are not only to be thankful to and for God, but also thankful for one another:
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;” 1 Thess. 1:2
“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:” 2 Thessalonians 2:13
We are to give thanks to God for one another and the joy that we are privileged to share in knowing Jesus and the salvation that HE has provided for us.
“Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.” Revelation 11:17
We can thank God that HE will accomplish HIS purpose in and on this old world—He will rule and reign on this earth, and I don’t believe the time is very far away. Are you ready for that day? For my dear friends we must remember that:
“behold, now is the day of salvation….” 2 Corinthians 6:2b
Today is the day of salvation! You may not have tomorrow, and the question isn’t “will you bow” before Jesus–the question is when. Will you bow before Him now and call on Him to save your soul, or will it be “then” when you bow before Him as your judge, with no opportunity for salvation? Only you can answer the question!
“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient
even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,
and given him a name
which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
of things in heaven,
and things in earth,
and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2: 5-11
Please know I am praying for you to be saved if you are not, or to obey Him in gratitude if you are already saved!
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” Isaiah 52:7
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13
And what is this “good news”, the gospel that we are grateful for?
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:” 1 Corinthians 15:1-5
Jesus died for you, my friend, and there is no greater joy than to know Him and the new life that He imparts. Won’t you make this the greatest “Thanksgiving” of all—and thank and trust the one who died for you. He’s waiting for YOU!
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
And my dear ones that is one door I’ve never regretted opening. And for Jesus I am eternally GRATEFUL!! God bless you with eyes to see and ears to hear!