Faithlife Sermons

Thankful Before Thanksgiving (week 1)

Thankful Before Thanksgiving  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  28:28
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God’s chosen people had a thanksgiving celebration that predates our nation by 3000 years. Following their example, we will discover 3 reasons why we should be Thankful before Thanksgiving.

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We’re coming into my favorite time of the year: Fall - Football, Food, Family & Friends!
We are grateful to announce that both Boss Mulkey & Tonya completed their radiation treatments this week and are doing great! A HUGE THANKS to all who have prayed for all of us, encouraged us, & in OUR CASE, given to us. THANK YOU!!!
This time last year, I didn’t have a clue we would be going through all of this, this year. What’s different now in the Watts home?
1) We appreciate Tonya & time with her more. 2)We are grateful for God’s provision & kindness through His people. 3) Less worried about the things that just don’t matter as much (e.g. like FL ST football).
What are YOU Thankful for - RIGHT NOW? And when is the last time you really PAUSED and took time to THANK God and THANK others?
For the next 2 weeks we are going to pause and think of why we should be THANKFUL BEFORE THANKSGIVING.
Why does it even matter? The most thankful people are typically the most thoughtful people. Show me people who aren’t thankful and I’ll show you people who don’t think about others. They are the same people who aren’t content with what they have or what they do. Consequently, they are living for the next event, the next purchase, the next relationship.
But is it possible that “THEY” is ME and YOU?
Well before the American tradition of Thanksgiving, God’s chosen people had a thanksgiving celebration you might or might not be familiar with. Let me set the table, before we dig into the meal.
CONTEXT: King David was on the throne and wanted to return the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. WHY? The Ark represented the Presence of God on earth between the 2 cherubim (angels). (The Ark contained the 10 commandments given the Moses and several other items). Be
Previously, before David’s reign, the Ark had been stolen by enemies and had been returned, but sat neglected at distant home for 20 years while the Jewish people followed false gods (1 Samuel 7:2-3). After 1 failed attempt to bring the Ark back to Jerusalem, David committed to make it happen. He gathered all the Levites, the priestly tribe, and had them appoint leaders to sing and play instruments (1 Chron. 15:16). As you are about to see, it was a great day of Thanksgiving as many thousands showed up to participate in the parade!

Celebrating God’s Presence

1 Chronicles 15:28 (ESV) 28 So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord [Yahweh] with shouting, to the sound of the horn, trumpets, and cymbals, and made loud music on harps and lyres.
Do you get the picture?!!? This is a serious celebration; a LOUD celebration! Imagine being in the city as thousands of people singing, shouting, and playing instruments get closer and closer and closer! How exciting that would be…at least for most.
But evidently, not everyone was excited about what was going on. Someone who had not gone, David’s wife - Queen Michal, stayed in her luxurious home and watched as the celebration entered the city.
1 Chronicles 15:29 (ESV) 29 And as the ark of the covenant of the Lord [Yahweh] came to the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David dancing and celebrating, and she despised him in her heart.
Michal, aka ’Debbie Downer’, thinks that her husband, the king, should be more dignified. But this young king can’t contain his excitement as he celebrates the Presence of God!
To the unmarried folks in the room - you WANT your future mate to be a person who can CELEBRATE God’s Presence & wants you to do the same! Don’t date someone who doesn’t want you to celebrate God’s Presence.
To the parents in the room: How are you LEADING your children to celebrate God’s Presence instead of squashing their spiritual excitement? PRAY with them! SHARE with them! Model what you want THEM to model for your grandkids.
To the married folks in the room - do YOU encourage your spouse to seek God’s Presence? What are you DOING to encourage that? Are you PRAYING that way? Are you sharing what YOU are learning? (MEN…I guarantee you, your wife will respond if you share what YOU are learning and how God is dealing with you.) May WE be the folks that CELEBRATE the Presence of God in our lives!
And now, the ark that represented the Presence of God, the ark that had been gone for 20 years, was finally back in Jerusalem.

Thanksgiving Offerings

1 Chronicles 16:1 (ESV) 1 And they brought in the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God.
Burnt offerings, literally meaning “ascending” (Hebrew), was totally devoted to Yahweh, consumed by fire and ascending by smoke. [NEXT SLIDE PIC] This offering was always a male animal without defect, none of which would be consumed by people (Lev. 1:3-13). This kind of sacrifice was offered on different types of occasions, including giving thanks (during yearly feasts) and seeking forgiveness.
Peace offerings, however, had only choice parts burned on the altar, while most of the meat was eaten by the people (Lev. 3:1-17), a picture of guests sitting at God’s table to share a meal, celebrating their restoration of peace.
So now, 3000 years removed from this story, what can we apply to our lives? GREAT QUESTION!
Thank God for His forgiveness. Of course, from a New Testament perspective, we don’t thank God for an unblemished animal’s death covering our sin. Instead, we recognize that all those substitute sacrifices pointed to the ultimate substitute sacrifice, the perfect Son of God, whom John the Baptist called [NEXT SLIDE PIC]The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” HE is the offering that brings us peace with God. For those who TRUST (currently) Jesus, He is Lord over your life - Thank God for His forgiveness!
In fact…
The Christian life should be marked by thankfulness for God’s forgiveness.
How WONDERFUL it is to KNOW that you are forgiven by God! David and the people were celebrating God’s forgiveness and we should too!

Thanksgiving Meal & Music

1 Chronicles 16:2 (ESV) 2 And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord [Yahweh]
David blessed the people in the name of Yahweh. Several hundred years before that God told the priests how to bless the people. Maybe you heard it:
Numbers 6:24–27 (ESV) 24 The Lord [Yahweh] bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord [Yahweh] make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. 27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”
David proclaimed God’s blessings on the people. Then David distributed the meat from the peace offerings and some extras for their Thanksgiving dinner.
1 Chronicles 16:3-4 (ESV) 3 and distributed to all Israel, both men and women, to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. 4 Then he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord [Yahweh], to invoke [NET offer prayers; CSB/NAS celebrate], to thank, and to praise the Lord [Yahweh], the God of Israel. [using harps, lyres, cymbals, and trumpets - see vv. 5-6]
The people were about to go home and have a Thanksgiving dinner! But before they did, they would PRAY & GIVE THANKS in song to the ONE who was worthy.

Thanksgiving Songs

1 Chronicles 16:7–12 (ESV) 7 Then on that day David first appointed that thanksgiving be sung to the Lord [Yahweh] by Asaph and his brothers. 8 Oh give thanks to the Lord [Yahweh]; call upon His Name; make known His deeds among the peoples! 9 Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works! 10 Glory in His Holy Name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord [Yahweh] rejoice! 11 Seek the Lord [Yahweh] and His strength; seek His Presence continually! 12 Remember the wondrous works that He has done, His miracles and the judgments He uttered,
The people were to thank God for His faithfulness in the past. He is the Creator. He is the Provider. He is the Protector. He has done miracles for the Jewish people.
QUESTION: What are some ways God has been faithful to you in the past? Write them down…RIGHT NOW. And say thanks.
The people were to be thankful for God’s faithfulness in the past, but they were also to be thankful for His Presence in the present! They were practicing God’s Presence by singing to Him and they were to seek His Presence continually!
QUESTION: What are some ways that YOU are practicing the Presence of God? We you sing, do you sing TO HIM? What are you doing to seek His Presence continually?

The Christian life should be marked by thankfulness for God’s forgiveness, faithfulness, & Presence.

Now, in the New Testament (Covenant = promise), we can KNOW that we are fully forgiven, through the sacrificial substitution, not of an animal, but of the Lord Jesus - for OUR SIN.
Now, in the New Covenant, we can look back on God’s faithfulness in the past, to the Jewish people and to us. We should NEVER FORGET how God has shown up in our lives.
Now, in the New Covenant, we can celebrate God’s Presence in the present. He has not left us alone. Jesus has given us His Holy Spirit, His Scriptures, and His people [that we will talk more about next week]
Is it any wonder that Paul, a Christian who faced many tough times, would write these words?
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (ESV) 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Spurgeon: “So many write their blessings in the sand and engrave their sorrows in marble.
”What if WE did the opposite, starting this week? What if - this week - we began to chose to BE THANKFUL BEFORE THANKSGIVING?
The Christian life should be marked by thankfulness for God’s forgiveness, faithfulness, & Presence.
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