You probably are reading this devotional during the week of one of the most celebrated and recognized holidays in all the United States—Thanksgiving. Growing up, Thanksgiving was a special time. My family would gather at my grandparent’s (dad’s parents) house, they lived only 2 miles from us, and we would feast on a table full of food. From the moment we walked in the door the smell of fresh food filled the air. Pies, casseroles, meat, and all the fixings were being prepared in the kitchen. My mom and grandmother would gather in the kitchen to put the final touches on the Thanksgiving lunch. My dad and granddaddy would sit on the couch and talk about current events, while my brothers and I watched the Thanksgiving Day football games.
The joy of Thanksgiving was not in food or football, but it was when my granddaddy or dad bowed their head to bless the food in prayer. Every year their prayers displayed the true meaning of what it meant to be thankful for all that God has done.
Reflecting on their prayer, I was reminded of a passage of Scripture that I wish to share with you and your family this Thanksgiving. In 1 Chronicles 16 we read the story of Israel praising and thanking God for the tent that had been made to house the ark of God. These particular verses stood out to me, and are the focus of what I want to share with you.
1 Chronicles 16:8-9, 12-13, 15-18, 34-36
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
8 Give thanks to Yahweh; call on His name; proclaim His deeds among the peoples. 9 Sing to Him; sing praise to Him; tell about all His wonderful works! 12 Remember the wonderful works He has done, His wonders, and the judgments He has pronounced, 13 you offspring of Israel His servant, Jacob’s descendants—His chosen ones.
15 Remember His covenant forever— the promise He ordained for a thousand generations, 16 the covenant He made with Abraham, swore to Isaac, 17 and confirmed to Jacob as a decree, and to Israel as an everlasting covenant: 18 “I will give the land of Canaan to you as your inherited portion.”
34 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.
Then all the people said, “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.”
After you have read the Psalm together, I want you to look at two important truths about thanksgiving.
Truth #1 – We Serve a God Worthy of Thanksgiving
The very nature of God produces in the heart of a believer an attitude of thanksgiving. You will notice that verse 9 says that we are to praise God and tell of His wonderful works. When you take a moment to think about all that God has done your immediate response should be one of awe and thanksgiving. Think about the changing of seasons. One of the most beautiful times of year is the change of season from summer to fall. Maybe you have been in parts of the country where you have had an opportunity to see the changing of the leaves. You can look out at a forest of trees and see every shade of color during the fall season.
What is your favorite part of the Fall season?
Truth #2 – We Give God Thanks Because of What He Has Done For Us
Another motivation for giving God praise and thanksgiving is the work that He has done for us. Look back at verses 12 and 15 in our passage. You will notice that the author says to remember. Specifically, he is asking Israel to remember all the work that God had done on their behalf. Let’s think about some of the things that God had done for Israel.
God chose Israel to be His nation (Gen 12)
God protected Israel from a great famine (Gen 46)
God rescues Israel from Egypt (Ex 12)
God parts the sea (Ex 14)
God provides food in the desert (Ex 16)
God gives the Law (Ex 20)
God gives the promise land (Joshua 1-3)
It is obvious from the first six books of the Bible that Israel has a lot to remember concerning the goodness of God. Similarly, we have much to be thankful for in our lives. Let’s look at what God has done for us.
God came to us (John 1)
Jesus rescued us from the slavery of sin (John 3:16)
God holds us eternally in His hand (John 10:29)
God provides for us (Matthew 5-7)
Wow! God has done more for us than we deserve. So, as you celebrate Thanksgiving, I want to encourage you to remember God and thank Him for who He is and what He has done.
Take a moment and pray as a family. As you pray allow for everyone a chance to tell God what they are thankful for in their life.