A Model of Thanksgiving (3/3)

And here is the conclusion of Sunday’s message. I hope that it encourages you as you get ready for Thanksgiving.

A model of Thanksgiving
Olney Southern Baptist Church
Sunday Morning, November 23, 2008
Speaker: Travis Peterson
Text: 2 Chronicles 7:1-10

Point 5: Celebrate to show your thankfulness.
2 Chronicles 7:8-9

8 At that time Solomon held the feast for seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly, from Lebo-hamath to the Brook of Egypt. 9 And on the eighth day they held a solemn assembly, for they had kept the dedication of the altar seven days and the feast seven days.

The dedication of the temple connected with a time of feasting in Israel and amounted to a fifteen-day celebration. It lasted from the eighth to the twenty-second day of the month. In this celebration, the dedication of the temple, the Day of Atonement, and the Festival of Booths all took place.

This time would have been an amazing time to be present. The people likely would have been fed by the meat from the sacrifices. The fat of the animals would have been burned, but there would have been remaining meat that the people could eat together. In sharing in that meat, the people may have felt honored as the guests of a king would have felt honored to share in his banquet.

One thing that we in our own culture do have figured out is that we often eat together to celebrate. This has been a practice since the earliest days of mankind, and it continues. There is something special about gathering together with people around a common purpose, a common joy, and a common table. There is something special in sitting down together to share in a meal of celebration and to do so while giving thanks to God for what he has done.

As the people dedicated the temple, they feasted and celebrated together for15 days. For a full half month, the people set aside their outside concerns and got together with the purpose of enjoying the kindness of the Lord. This is something we could do well to learn to model. While we will not plan any major 15 day celebrations anytime soon, we do have a day coming up in which we will celebrate. Let us learn to celebrate and to celebrate well. Let us eat together and remember how God has blessed us. Let us share what God has given us with others so as to spread around the blessing. When you share your Thanksgiving meal this year, be sure that it really is a meal of giving thanks to the Lord for how he has shared his bounty with you. Even if you are going through hard times, God still has blessed you far beyond anything you could ever imagine.

Point 6: Live your life with joy after giving thanks.
2 Chronicles 7:10

On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their homes, joyful and glad of heart for the prosperity that the Lord had granted to David and to Solomon and to Israel his people.

And here is the conclusion of the scene. Solomon sent the people home. They didn’t stay at the party. Instead, they went back to their normal lives, but they went back thankful. The holiday enabled the people to remember and celebrate God’s goodness. That remembering and celebration strengthened the people as they went back to their daily lives.

And this week, after the celebration and after the focus on God’s kindness and provision, you will return to your normal life. The troubles of life and the struggles you face will still be there with you. But, the day of celebration, if you will take it, will be a day that will help you to have a stronger sense of thankfulness and commitment to our Lord.

So, Christians, seek the glory of God. Worship him when you see that glory. Obey him with extravagance. Sing his praise. Celebrate his goodness. And then go and live a life of thanksgiving to the Lord all year long.

And if you do not yet know God through Jesus Christ, let me offer you a reason to be thankful. You are in grave danger before God, but God offers you the way out. He has sent his Son to be the sacrifice for all the sins of all who will put their trust in him. If you will come to Jesus in faith and turn away from your former life of sin, God will forgive you of your sin and will make you his child, a part of his family. This will give you the greatest cause for giving thanks you have ever imagined. So I invite you to come to know the Lord and to begin for yourself a life of true joy and thanksgiving.