Summary: The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving that is described in the Book of Leviticus carries a powerful message to our world today. Let us have a heart of thanksgiving unto God.
The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving
Sunday, November 22, 2009 – AM
By Pastor James May
Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Already, turkeys by the thousands have given their lives so that we may celebrate a day of rest, although I don’t how much rest will be involved when there is so much cooking to do. It is one of those days when it takes a lot of time, effort and expense to make sure that everything is cooked just right and all of our favorite foods are on the table.
We all know that in America is based upon that first day Thanksgiving that was observed by the Pilgrims back in 1621. After a long, hard winter when many of them had not survived, they were so thankful to God for the coming of spring and a chance to build a new life in their very own “Promised Land”. The New World offered them an opportunity, but made no promises of success. Many days of hard work and great struggles lay ahead, but those who were strong, and those who would not lose faith, would make it through. Their faith in God was a major factor during those times, and faith in God has brought us to where we are today. Where we go from here will also be determined by our faith in God, or our lack thereof. The observance of Thanksgiving Day as a national day of prayer and thanksgiving to God was established officially by President George Washington during his first term.
Many in our land today have be come unthankful, but this is to be expected when man looks to himself for answers and not to the Lord. Why should men be thankful to a God that they refuse to serve, refuse to worship, or even refuse to acknowledge His very existence? Every man’s focus is upon himself, not upon a supreme Creator God.
None of this comes as a surprise to the Child of God who is rooted and grounded in the Word of God. We were warned that these days would come, and we were told exactly how the heart of man would turn away from all that is holy.
2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
2 Timothy 3:3,4 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
In those verse that Paul wrote to Timothy is a nutshell description of the society in which we live. I believe that we are raising the most unthankful generation that has ever been born. The courts of our land have taken away our right to tell them about Jesus, and has given the youth, not a freedom to choose whom they will worship, but a freedom from religion of any kind. We have created a whole generation of self-indulgent; self-worshipping people who are thankful for nothing and believe that they have the right to have everything right now that it took their parents 30, 40 or 50 years to obtain.
As I was studying for this message the very first passage of scripture that I found that spoke specifically about thanksgiving was found in the Old Testament Book of Leviticus. This is the book where God was dictating the Law of Moses which was to be the guiding instructions for God’s chosen nation until the coming of Christ, when it would all be fulfilled in Him.
Leviticus 7:11, 12 And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the LORD. If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried.
The first thing we need to recognize is that the sacrifice of Thanksgiving has to do with maintaining peace with God. A thankful heart is a heart that recognizes the greatness, mercy and provision of Almighty God, and that nothing is given to me by accident, or without His permission. When we offer up our prayer of thanksgiving unto the Lord, we are recognizing His power and control over us. We are also acknowledging His great love for us. We know that because God loves us, He provides all good things for us.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.