The Offering of Thanksgiving
I'm praying God will use this message to help you and me as we prepare ourselves for the observance of Thanksgiving.
Does it seem like 2003 has gone just like that? Here we are in the last days of the month of November, moving into December, coming to Thanksgiving. One month later we will be going into Christmas. God willing we will be moving into 2004. Time flies!
"I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call upon the name of the Lord (Psalm 116:17)."
This coming Thursday, for the 140th time, our nation as a nation, will celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Probably the first Thanksgiving feast was observed in 1621 when the pilgrims, after a very difficult time, gathered together. They brought their food and lifted their hearts in thanksgiving and prayer to God. That was probably the first Thanksgiving.
In 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving as a national holiday for us to gather in our churches and to gather as families and corporately as a nation express our thanksgiving to God for all His blessings.
I've often wondered why the secularists in our society have not protested Thanksgiving. They've objected to just about everything else we Christians have. They don't want us to observe Christmas. They certainly don't want Jesus to be mentioned at Christmas time, which celebrates His birth. Somebody was born at Christmas time but they don't want you to say who it was. The secularists don't seem to protest Thanksgiving Day. Maybe it's because they have some sense of thanksgiving. It seems to me that in an Atheistic, secularist culture probably the most uncomfortable moment they feel is to feel grateful and have nobody to thank. But those of us who believe in the Lord gather on Thanksgiving as a national day.
Thanksgiving is not just a national day, it is a spiritual duty. The Bible teaches us that we are to be thankful. In the Old Testament you read verse after verse which calls us to the responsibility of thanksgiving. It is picked up again over and over again in the New Testament.
I want you to look at this verse of Scripture. There is a phrase in that verse which is interesting to me. The psalmist says, "I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving." We know this in the Old Testament. We know that there were a variety of sacrifices. When you went to church in the Old Testament days you didn't come to a place like our church, you came to a temple. There were priests there. There was an altar there. Priests would offer a variety of sacrifices on that altar. There was a peace offering, a burnt offering, etc. and among those offerings was an offering known as the thank offering. "I will offer unto thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving."
How does that apply to us in the New Testament? If you are a born again believer, you are a priest. First Peter 2, verse 5, says to you and to me as born again believers, "Ye also as living stones are built ...
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