Living by Faith and Thankfulness
Christopher B. Harbin
Deuteronomy 1:19-33; Matthew 6:1-15; Ephesians 2:1-10
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. We set aside time to help us remember to give thanks for the blessings of life and the provision for our needs. We spend the rest of the year focused on what we can do to make a living and get ahead in the race of advancing ahead of the masses. An aside from our selfish approach does us good, but maybe we need more than setting aside a day for thanksgiving. Maybe we need a change that is somewhat more drastic. Can we learn to live by faith and giving thanks day after day?
The people had suffered in the forty years of wandering. They had escaped from Egypt and a life of slavery, but at costs that were not insignificant. They had left their homes, their work routines, and their sense of personal worth. They had experienced a new life in which they were not sure how to survive. The uncertainties of a wandering people, the constant seeking of water for so many mouths and animals, the anxiety of finding food in the semiarid land wore on them. God had provided for their physical needs, but it was still hard to trust the One we don't see to provides for us.
In the midst of their wandering, there were strife and considerable quarrels with other peoples through whose lands they passed or wanted to pass. As a people recently freed from slavery, they felt uncomfortable in waging war against peoples rooted in their own lands. Without the normal tools of war, they sought to protect themselves against enemies used to fighting for land rights.
They reached the Promised Land, which still remained under the control of the Amorites. The will to enter the land and trust to the provision and promise of Yahweh failed them. They lacked the courage to recognize the hand of Yahweh guiding them along the way, offering shelter, food, water, and everything else they needed. It's one thing to look at the past with its prob ...
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