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Give Thanks to the Lord November 27, 2013

Posted by sandhandrews in Sermons.
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1 Chronicles 16:1-2, 7-13, 34-36


November 27th, 2013

Focus: God has given us plenty to be thankful for.

Function: That the hearers give thanks to God for the things He has given them.

Structure: This is the historical situation in the text…these are the meanings for us now.


Give Thanks to the Lord


Why are you sitting there in that pew right now?  Really, why?  Haven’t you seen the lines?  The tents are out already…in fact, they’ve been out since Sunday.  Don’t you want the best deal of the year?  I mean, $200 for a 50” high definition TV at Best Buy, $100 for 32” at Walmart….those are fabulous deals!  Really, why are you still sitting there?!


It’s a little crazy to think about isn’t it?  People lined up six days ahead of time for a deal.  They’ve taken off of work for a week, for a gadget.  They’ve given up their holiday time with family for a gizmo.  It’s gotten so out of control that big box stores like Best Buy and Walmart are opening on Thanksgiving Day, with Kmart opening at 6am!  Only in this sinful, twisted place could we celebrate Thanksgiving one day for the things we have, only to go flocking out to stores the next, so wound up that we’ll literally trample people to death.

Really, if that’s where you think happiness comes from, all that stuff, you won’t find it here.  If Thanksgiving means nothing more to you than turkey, pie, a little football, and some great deals this holiday season, welcome to 21st century America.  Honestly, if Thanksgiving is the only day of the year that you stop to give thanks…well, welcome to 21st century America.

I think it’s safe to say that our culture is confused when it comes to Thanksgiving, what it means to give thanks.  But what about us?  Do we really know what to be thankful for?  For the most part, I think we do.  But Thanksgiving is as good a time as any to reflect.

We can look at our past to get ideas, from the history that came before us, from our ancestors.  That’s what we see in our Old Testament reading today from 1 Chronicles.  We see King David and his people giving thanks.  But for what?

It was just a few years back that God’s people, the nation of Israel found themselves in chaos.  They were jealous, envious of their neighbors.  Everyone around them had a king.  But they didn’t.  They petitioned the prophet Samuel and God for a king of their own.  God gave them what they wanted, but not without a warning.  An earthly king will bring about nothing but bloodshed, taxes, and slavery.  You don’t really want what you think you want.

This led to Saul.  Samuel anointed Saul and made him king over Israel.  For a while, he ruled the people well, doing right in God’s eyes.  But it didn’t last.  The power went straight to his head and he went mad.  As he stopped following God, Israel found themselves in one war after another, constantly under pressure from the same neighbors they had been jealous of.

And if that weren’t enough, Saul’s madness began to divide his own people.  Some broke off and started to follow a young shepherd named David.  As time continued to pass, David’s followers grew.  And the Philistines became more and more violent towards Israel.

Eventually, Saul couldn’t take it anymore.  And after his suicide, Israel was once again united into one nation.  They chose to make David king and to follow him.  And because David’s heart was good in the eyes of the Lord, God blessed Israel.  He gave them victory over the Philistines time and time again.  He gave them victory over the other nations around them as well.

That’s where our text is.  David and Israel are celebrating a victory, but it’s more than that.  David has just established Jerusalem as the new capital of his kingdom.  The ark, the symbol of God’s very presence among the people, was paraded into Jerusalem.  All was good, at least for a moment.  So they rejoiced.  They celebrated.  They sang praises to Him, called upon His name, and made known His deeds among the people.

Today, we can truly be thankful for this.  Without God’s work in history, you and I wouldn’t be here.  That’s a blessing to be thankful for in and of itself.  That God has constantly been working out His plan for His creation.

That’s what “make known His deeds among the people,” and “tell of all His wondrous works,” mean.  We could go back and count off the blessings, starting in Genesis 1, all the way up to today.  That’s not bad to do.  Think about adding some of those things to your list of things to be thankful for.

But ultimately, why are we here?  Why aren’t you lined up at the stores right now, bundled up because of the single digit temperatures overnight?  There’s one thing in particular, one deed, one wondrous work of God, that we are truly thankful for.

Asaph and his brothers didn’t know the fullness of the words of their song.  “Save us, O God of our salvation!”  Save us from what?  They thought at that moment in time, they were thankful for God’s deliverance from enemies.  But we know it goes deeper than that.

We know our enemies number off more than just Afghanistan and Iran.  We know our enemies include sin, death, and the devil.  And we’d be foolish if we didn’t admit that our list of enemies even includes: me, myself, and I.

On account of sin, our sin, we deserve nothing more than Saul’s fate.  Death.  It’s our fault, we’re the ones who gave up on God and started worshipping things.  We’re the ones that can’t control our temptations.  We’ve failed, we’ve fallen short of what God made us to be.

And that’s where Asaph’s song really comes in.  That’s where salvation really comes in.  I know that the verse is abused and overused, but it’s true.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that, whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

God didn’t leave Israel, us, with a corrupt, power mad king.  Instead He sent His Son Jesus Christ.  And while all the people around Him were still expecting an earthly king, Christ knew better.  He knew that what we really needed was for God to be our king again.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be.  That’s the way God’s creation was meant to be.  That’s what Christ came to do.

By His death on the cross and His resurrection on Easter morning, Jesus Christ abolished Satan’s power.  Jesus did what we needed Him to do.  His sacrifice returned creation to God.  It restored God’s authority over everything He made.  And in His resurrection, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ shares in that authority.  The Father has given Him the power to rule over creation.  Our Redeemer lives.  Our Lord reigns on high!

That’s what we have to be thankful for.  There’s nothing more important.  No toy or gadget can buy happiness for you.  Nothing that you can camp out for here on earth can forgive your sins.  No deal is as precious as the body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And so we close with an Old Testament Canticle, a chant used sometimes in our sister churches.

“The Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.  With joy will you draw water from the wells of salvation.  And you will say in that day:  “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the peoples, proclaim that His name is exalted.  The Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.”




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