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The Offering of Thanksgiving

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Several years ago, our family was able to attend a car stunt show. We were amazed at all of the driving and explosions…etc For me the amazement was that there were cars driving backwards. It was quite amazing the stunts there were doing and all of it backwards. At the end the truth was revealed....There is one thing that this week and all of our lives we are prone to get backwards....Thanksgiving. It is a subtle change that happens in our hearts, and we must be on guard against this.
There is one thing that this week and all of our lives we are prone to get backwards....Thanksgiving. It is a subtle change that happens in our hearts, and we must be on guard against this.

Historical/Cultural Understanding:

Among Israel’s neighbors, part of the concept of an offering was that it fed the gods. Mesopotamian and Egyptian hymns credit the chief god with providing agricultural produce as meals for other gods. In Mesopotamian myth, humans were created to bear the labor of tending orchards and fields that provide food for offerings.273 So priests were largely occupied with the “care and feeding of the gods.”
Walton, J. H. (2009). Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary (Old Testament): The Minor Prophets, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Vol. 5, p. 367). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
God is calling forth all his people forth to judgment.
God is establishing what He is NOT rebuking them for and why He is not rebuking them for this. He is NOT rebuking them for their sacrifices...He is the God who owns all the fullness of the world and needs not to be fed.
This verse is what God is calling them to:
(1) Offer unto God an offering of thanksgiving
(2) Pay your vows (give according to your covenant relationship)
(3) Call upon him in the day of trouble for deliverance
This is how they glorify God. (see for a summary)
This is a telling Psalm because we see Israel offering sacrifices, but we see God speaking against Israel. It is telling that God is calling Israel to offer unto him “thanksgiving.”
What this shows to us is that you can be God’s people whom God has delivered, you can be offering your sacrifices, and you can be going through your rituals and still not be offering to God true thanksgiving!
You can work in the kidz ministries, you can serve in the youth ministries, you can serve in the music ministries, you can be giving your finances and your time and still not be offering to God anything that he calls for.
Proposition: it is imperative that we not get thanksgiving backwards. it is imperative that we know what a thanksgiving offering to God is and looks like!
Illustration: I was running a track in Lebanon off of Miller road. I noticed that every other person that I was coming across was going the opposite way that I was going. Soon I came to understand that I was going the way that tended to be more up hill. I was going backwards. Subtly, getting the offering of thanksgiving backwards can be exhausting because our expectation are wrong and we are never feeling fulfilled.

(1) The blessedness or blindness of continual sacrifices (v. 7 - 13)

They would have understood that going through the motions of offering a sacrifice had no merit, if it was not from a true heart that towards God and who He is.
The significance of the offerings was in their heart attitude. The offerings and vows were to be concrete expressions of gratitude and dedication to “the Most High” (Elyon; see appendix to : Yahweh Is El Elyon). The “thank offerings” and “vows” (i.e., votive offerings) belong to the category of voluntary offerings, in which the offerers shared by eating from the offering (cf. ; ). God desired communion with his people as they presented and ate the communion offerings. Instead of presenting “dedicatory offerings” in a spirit of pride, the people had to learn that the “Most High” (i.e., the supreme Deity and Ruler of the universe) invites them for a banquet to enjoy his presence. Of course, the offering must reflect the true intent: “thankfulness” (cf. v. 23; ). The votive offering was usually presented after the Lord had delivered someone from a difficulty or had answered his prayer.
VanGemeren, W. A. (1991). Psalms. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Vol. 5, p. 376). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
They would have understood that a history of ritual, Christian behavior can lead God's people to feel as though God is indebted to them.
Principle: Heartless, ritual, religious activities can lead a person to where they feel as though God or others owe them something. An offering of thanksgiving must come from a genuine heart.
8. However scrupulous in external worship, it was offered as if they conferred an obligation in giving God His own, and with a degrading view of Him as needing it () - See
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 363). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Important connection:
This entire turning away from the outward form of the legal ceremonial is, in the Old Testament, already a predictive turning towards that worship of God in spirit and in truth -
Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 5, p. 361). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
It is a call to God’s people to have the right heart in your thanksgiving.
You see, It is blindness because you feed on your own feelings of being under-appreciated.
It is blindness because you still offer your offerings but you do so with hopes and expectations that you will get something in return.
It is blessedness when we continually serve in commemoration of what has been accomplished “by him” (by Jesus).
You don’t need a new reason to offer to the Lord “thanksgiving” because the sacrifice of Jesus is an eternal REASON.
So, repent of pride that blinds you from the blessedness of what we already have in Jesus Christ.

(2) The basic aim of the thanksgiving offering (v. 14 - 15)

“Pay thy vows,” ver. 14, means fulfill all the commandments of God, according to thy promise on entering into the covenant, .
Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moll, C. B., Briggs, C. A., Forsyth, J., Hammond, J. B., … Conant, T. J. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Psalms (p. 319). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
They would have understood that they could call upon God in the day of trouble and He would deliver them and they would glorify the Lord.
Principle: God keeps his word of deliverance for his glory.
Illustration: Recently, I was sighting my blackpowder rifle in at 25 yards. The first shot went right through the bulls-eye. It hit the mark. My partner said, “I would leave it alone.” Once you understand what the goal is, “leave it alone.”
The difficulty here is that when we see how God has worked towards us in delivering us in Jesus Christ, we tend to take this to a point that makes men to be the reason. We even sing songs this way: “I was the reason…that one earthly reason...” but the truth of the matter is that God has delivered us for his glory.
The reason this is important is because ultimately we could not keep the vows to God.
We could not live faithfully towards God.
We were without strength, so...
God made a promise that the Messiah would come...
God kept his promise, and the Messiah did come...
God delivered and delivers ultimately for his own glory.

We offer to God genuine thanksgiving when:

(1) We live in the blessedness of what God has already done in Christ
(2) We live for what God rightly deserves (glory) and not for what we think we deserve.
(3) We express verbally and practically our thankfulness and praises to the Lord and towards others.
(1) When you think of “thanksgiving”, is your heart overwhelmed by what God has already done in Jesus Christ, or have you subtly slipped into heartless activity?
(2) When you think of “thanksgiving”, are you clear on what the goal is, or have you subtly allowed feelings of self-centeredness to enter in?
(3) When you think of “thanksgiving”, are you verbally expressing this and practically living it out as you offer yourself, or are you activities leading you to subtly believe you are owed something?
Slighting God in Stinginess
Topics: Daily Bread; Giving; Gratitude; Provision; Thanksgiving; Tithing
References: ; ; ; ; ; ;
While hurrying through Chicago’s commuter train station, I had an “Aha!” moment that stopped me in my tracks. I had just left the candy counter where I’d bought Valentine’s treats for a party a few of us were planning for our church’s single moms. Doing so took my thoughts back to a cookout the previous summer, for which I had covered the cost. The single moms, their children, and I enjoyed a glorious day at a local sunshine-drenched beach, conversing and stuffing ourselves with burgers, chips, and the trimmings.
As the afternoon ended, I sat among the moms at the picnic table as they enthusiastically divided up the leftover hot dogs, sodas, and desserts. No one thought to offer me a thing. My feelings were a little bruised. No, I didn’t need the food. And most of the moms had given little thought to where the picnic spread had come from. But the slight was significant enough that I recalled it in the train station six months later.
Then it hit me! How much more slighted God must feel when, as recipients of his enormous generosity, we are reluctant to share a portion of our resources with him. Just as I didn’t need the potato salad, he doesn’t need our money. But he does crave our acknowledgment that all we have is from him.
—Judy Keene, Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (pp. 98–99). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
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