1 Chronicles 16:8-9-Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works! NKJV
Thanksgiving Day is just a week away! We’re all looking forward to that time away from work and school to celebrate the day with great food, friends, family, and fellowship! But it is also a time to remember all the things we are thankful for. Even people who are not Christians can find something to give thanks for! In thinking about writing a blog for this season, I wanted to give a different approach to thankfulness, and I will be looking at the Old Testament for my inspiration.
In the book of Judges, we see the children of Israel have become a rebellious group of people! Joshua and the leaders of the tribes that were with him have all passed away, and they have forgotten how good God had been to them as a nation. While their grandparents and great-grandparents may have struggled in Egyptian bondage, they have lived all their lives in the land of Canaan, and God is no longer important to them. We see that spirit is alive and well today in 2022! We have become affluent, independent intellectuals who no longer require the faith of parents, grandparents, and forefathers and live life in complete rebellion to the God who has been so good to us! Just like the Israelites.
Then trouble came knocking at their door, and they began a cycle of temporary thankfulness. They would disobey and rebel against God, then He would deliver them, and they would be thankful for a time until they no longer were thankful enough to serve Him!
God sent many judges to deliver His people, reminding them that He was there for them. He sent Othniel to deliver them from the hand of the king of Mesopotamia. He sent Ehud to deliver them from the king of Moab. Then He sent Shamgar, who delivered them from the Philistines. Each and every victory brought rest to the land of Israel. Each victory brought thankfulness towards the God who delivered them when they cried out. But eventually, they forgot about the troubles that had them bound, which prompted them to cry out, causing God to deliver them, and of course, they were grateful. But temporary gratefulness was insufficient then, and it is insufficient now.
I recall an individual who was a victim of a shooting incident. While in the hospital, people went to pray with them and the family, offering support and encouragement. As the person grew stronger in body and health, words of thankfulness flowed from them and their family. Praise reports were high, and everyone was excited. When they were released from the hospital, they came to church, testified, and dedicated their lives to the Lord. The church was excited as the praises went forth. Within a couple of months, they were no longer around. They were back out in the streets living their rebellious lifestyle, unmindful of the things of God.
This story is not unique to my experiences. All of us can think of an individual who had a great need in their life, they cried out to God, and He delivered them. They made loud declarations of their commitment to serve Him, and then one day, they were no more!
In one way, we can still rejoice with them, for the Bible clearly states that we are to give Him thanks and speak of His wonderful works!
Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk of all His wondrous works!1 Chronicles 16:8-9 NKJV
They did exactly that! Also, we see in the scriptures that many people were grateful when Jesus healed them, much as the individual I mentioned earlier. For example, the lepers who were cleansed:
Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.Luke 17:11-14 NKJV
We know what happened next! They were cleansed on the way! All ten of them! But only one stopped to thank Jesus:
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.Luke 17:15-16 NKJV
The Samaritans were considered undesirables to the Jewish people. They were considered second-class people because they were not fully Jewish, having mixed their blood with the Assyrians who had captured the northern kingdom in 721 B. C. (See Gotquestions.org). This suggests to me that the other nine were possibly Jewish men. There was probably not much room for segregation in the leper colony because they were all in the same boat. However, only the Samaritan, who knew he was considered an undesirable person to Jewish rabbis, turned around to thank Jesus for his healing. The nine were grateful, but only one of them actually gave Him thanks while worshippping Him. As a result, he was made whole while the others were just healed.
What’s my point? We are all to be thankful to God for the things that He does in our lives. However, temporary thanks that causes a temporary turn to Him is an insufficient response to the One who has been so good to us!
David’s response to God’s deliverance was more appropriate and worthy of imitating in our lives:
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.Psalm 30:11-12 NKJV
David declared that his thanks to God would be a forever thanks, not a temporary thanks! David realized that God had taken his dead situation and turned it around to the point that he could dance again! What was once hopeless has now been reversed on his behalf! David didn’t have a temporary, in the moment praise, but he had a forever thankfulness in his heart!
When God blesses us, as He often does, gratitude should be our response to Him. Not temporary thankfulness that causes us to forget Him and to return to our sin and rebellion, but forever thankfulness that causes us to respond to Him with a life of love and service. Don’t let next week be the only time you stop and thank Him for His goodness, but let your life become a reflection of the forever gratefulness that springs from your heart. Wonderful Jesus!
2 thoughts on “Temporary Thankfulness!”
Maybe the deeper conflict for us is that true thankfulness calls for more than a changed attitude (an attitude of gratitude as people say). Forever thankfulness calls for a change of identity. That means more than just receiving a blessing, it requires letting go of who we were so that we can take hold of who Jesus is calling for us to be. May you have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!
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Hi Pastor Pete! That’s a great comment! After I hit publish I had additional thoughts about this attitude! Thank you for sharing this and I hope others read it and are blessed! You have an amazing Thanksgiving Day, also! Wonderful Jesus!