Give Thanks To The Lord

A Short Thanksgiving Devotional by Ricky Hemme

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1 ESV)

Every year, on the fourth Thursday of November, people from all around the U.S. gather together with family and friends to share a meal, and reflect upon God’s provision and loving kindness. It is the one time of year, where we slow down and take a good look at our lives, and remember all the ways that God has richly blessed us.  This holiday is a stunning 392 years old, but this practice of annual thanksgiving is not unique to America.

A Meal of Thanksgiving in the Bible

The people of the Bible had their own annual meal of Thanksgiving. Every year in the month of Nisan, Israelites traveled with friends and family to Jerusalem to worship God and share a meal. This feast of Thanksgiving is called the Passover. The Passover feast commemorated God’s faithfulness over the years and highlighted in particular His act of freeing them from slavery in Egypt. Without God’s hand, they would never be a nation, and most of all, without God’s provision of atonement they would never be forgiven of sin. God’s people were spared the judgment which came upon the land of Egypt only through the substitutionary death of a perfect lamb. There is no doubt this annual feast was a time of serious reflection.

As families from around the country made their journey to Jerusalem, it was tradition to sing songs on the road. Many of these songs are recorded in your Bible in the book of Psalms. Some start with the small caption, “A Song of Ascent.” These songs prepared the hearts of the people for the feast, and they were gladly sung by friends and family on the road up to Jerusalem. No matter from what direction you came, North or South, Jerusalem was an ascent. Hint: “A Song of Ascent”

Take a Moment to Reflect

This year, I encourage you to reflect upon some of these Psalms in preparation for your Thanksgiving meal. Most of these Psalms can be found between Psalm 119 and 136. Like the Israelites, prepare your heart by looking back at God’s faithfulness and loving-kindness over the years. Most of all reflect upon his provision of atonement. God demonstrated his love for you by sending his Son into this world to die as your Passover Lamb. When you trust in Jesus’ finished work on the cross, God’s wrath passes over you, so that instead of judgment, you are received as a beloved child. Give thanks this Thanksgiving. God is worthy of your praise.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1 ESV)

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