Summary: While many think that thanksgiving is an American holiday, God Iniated thanksgiving in the deserts of the middle east. There He gave instructions as to how we are to celebrate this holiday.


Deuteronomy 16:9-12

Intro: One day Bill was hunting in the woods. It had been a slow day and he had yet to shoot any game. Suddenly, he heard a noise behind him. He whirled around and saw a ferocious mountain lion only 20 yards away. Bill quickly raised his rifle to his shoulder, took aim and pulled the trigger. Click. The rifle didn’t fire. Click… click… click. Again, nothing - the gun was malfunctioning. By this time, the mountain lion had started toward Bill. In desperation, he threw down his rifle and ran.

Faster and faster he ran, with the mountain lion chasing him. The faster Bill ran, the more the mountain lion gained on him Finally Bill came to the edge of a cliff. There was nowhere to go, so he dropped to his knees and began to pray. “O Lord, I pray that this mountain lion is a Christian.”

As Bill looked up, he was surprised to see the mountain lion kneeling just a few feet away, praying, “Dear Lord, I pray that you’ll bless this food that I’m about to partake to the nourishment of my body…”

. We all give thanks in different ways don’t we.

.The holiday season is upon us and it starts this week with thanksgiving.

. Thanksgiving is different from all the other holidays that we celebrate. It doesn’t commemorate a battle or anyone’s birthday. It is simply a day set aside to express our thanks to God. Did you know that in 1789, George Washington made a public proclamation saying that, “it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor?” He recommended and assigned Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 to be a day of Thanksgiving.

. The first American Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621, to commemorate the harvest reaped by the Plymouth Colony after a harsh winter. In that year Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. The colonists celebrated it as a traditional English harvest feast, to which they invited the local Wampanoag Indians.

. By the mid–1800s, many states observed a Thanksgiving holiday. Meanwhile, the poet and editor Sarah J. Hale had begun lobbying for a national Thanksgiving holiday. During the Civil War , President Abraham Lincoln, looking for ways to unite the nation, discussed the subject with Hale. In 1863 he gave his Thanksgiving Proclamation, declaring the last Thursday in November a day of thanksgiving.

. We like to think of a day of thanksgiving as an American tradition. It is not. Many many years before our country was founded, in the deserts of the Middle East, God introduced days of thanksgiving to the children of Israel.

. God called them feasts. These feasts were set aside for the purpose of acknowledging God and giving thanks for what He had done for His people.

. In our scripture this morning, God gives instructions to the children of Israel on how they are to celebrate these days of Thanksgiving.

. Deut. 16:9-12, 9“Count off seven weeks from when you first begin to cut the grain at the time of harvest.10Then celebrate the kFestival of Harvest to honor the LORD your God. Bring him a voluntary offering in proportion to the blessings you have received from him.11This is a time to celebrate before the LORD your God at the designated place of worship he will choose for his name to be honored. Celebrate with your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites from your towns, and the foreigners, orphans, and widows who live among you.12Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, so be careful to obey all these decrees.

. Notice that this time of year was a time of celebration for the Jewish people.

. The crops have been harvested and stored up and it was time to give thanks to God.

. We see the word celebrate in the four verse three times.

. When God says something three times, it means that we are to pay close attention to what He is saying.

. God say’s that you have worked hard, you have followed me and I have blessed you, now it is time to celebrate.

. Then God goes on to tell us just how we are to celebrate or observe this time of thanksgiving.

. The fist thing that God tells us to do is WORSHIP

. vs 11 says; 11This is a time to celebrate before the LORD your God at the designated place of worship he will choose for his name to be honored.

. The designated place for the children of Israel was at the tabernacle.

. They would bring their offerings to the priests to be sacrificed to God. This was their mode of worship.

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