Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Biblical Origins of Thanksgiving

Biblical origins
The great American tradition of Thanksgiving has become a world wide phenomenon, in essence calling people everywhere back to a relationship with our Creator. Spend a few moments following its Biblical origins. In the Old Testament If you have sinned in any way you were to bring an offering to the priest who would offer it as atonement, restoring a right relationship with God. The poorest could only afford a little grain or two doves and others a ram as an offering of guilt. This act of giving to God through the priest would leave one forgiven. 

The Fellowship Offering
Leviticus 7 tells about the fellowship offering of people bringing food as an expression of thankfulness in which they offered thick loaves made without yeast and with olive oil mixed in, thin loaves made without yeast and brushed with oil, and thick loaves of the finest flour well-kneaded and with oil mixed in. Along with their fellowship offering of thanksgiving they were to present an offering with thick loaves of bread made with yeast. They were to bring one of each kind as an offering, a contribution to the Lord that belonged to the priests to share.
Bon appetit!
Gratitude through song and dance
Under the King David the expression of gratitude reached a high point. He set aside special priests for the specific purpose of making music and singing out songs of thanksgiving to the Lord. This was to take place after tending to the rituals of the sin and guilt offerings. In 1 Chronicles 16 we read, “They brought the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before God. After David had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord. Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each Israelite man and woman. He appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to extol, thank, and praise the Lord, the God of Israel. 
David was the master of giving thanks. As you will see below, through him gratitude was transformed by divine inspiration to such a level that it brought heaven down to earth. Small wonder that God elevated him from a lowly shepherd to king! I believe that regular and heartfelt thanksgiving was the key to David’s and Israel’s extraordinary success during his reign! Here are some words of one of his beautiful songs of thanksgiving.
“Let the trees of the forest sing,
let them sing for joy before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
His love endures forever.
Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior;
gather us and deliver us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to Your holy name,
and glory in your praise.”

Remember past blessings
“Remember the wonders he has done, sang the priests, “His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced.” In this song of gratitude and praise David teaches us how to reach up to heaven with our thanksgiving, remembering past past blessings, all the great things that God has done for us. 
Let us do the same as a family this Thanksgiving day and not just be satisfied with good food and fellowship. Make a list of past blessings and proclaim them out aloud. Gratitude builds the faith and expectation of good that will make them come true. How very much God has given to us. Let us give Him praise!

The priests could not stand!
Let God's glory fall!
The same chapter in the Bible tells us that the trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good, his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God!
The scriptures reveal that our bodies are the temple of God and that we as believers are now all priests and kings!
1 Corinthians 6:19
“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”
Revelation 1:6
“and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Let us learn to give thanks and praise with such sincerity that we too can experience the power of His presence!

Happy Thanksgiving and Bon Apetit!

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