11 November 2000

"Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare"-Psalm 75:1 Many years ago, a relative of mine received a wonderful gift. His college tuition was paid by an unknown source. Though he had several ideas concerning the source of the gift, he never really knew the identity of the person who cared enough for his future to bestow such a valuable gift. Thus, as the circumstances dictated, he was unable to properly thank his benefactor. God's people are not found in such a circumstance. If our eyes are open and our hearts are a-tune to the giver of every good and perfect gift, we know well the source of our blessings and comforts: "Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks". THANKSGIVING DAY HAS A BIBLICAL PATTERN If you have a good encyclopedia and it remains untouched by the evil mind you will find recorded therein: "Thanksgiving Day is a day set aside each year for giving thanks to God for blessings received during the year. They were entirely religious and did not involve feasting." We will also learn that the first Thanksgiving Days in New England were harvest festivals, or days for thanking God for plentiful crops. For this reason, the holiday still takes place late in the fall, after the crops have been gathered. Where do you suppose they came up with such an idea, to have a festival, or harvest Thanksgiving? They got it from the Bible! The third of the great annual feasts that Israel celebrated was called the Feast of Booths also known as The Feast of Ingathering. It was held after the ingathering of harvest, the same time the Pilgrims first observed our Thanksgiving. It was held to thank God for the ingathering of the "fruit of the earth" and their freedom from Egyptian bondage. Thus, the Pilgrims were found thanking God, not only for their freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, but also for the provisions they so desperately needed. THANKS! RIGHTEOUSNESS EXALTS A NATION AND THEIR GOD How is it, that a group of Pilgrims, with scanty provisions could land in an unknown and uncivilized country and become the most powerful nation in the world? Solomon had it right when he wrote, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people"-Proverbs 14:34. The first settlers of this nation were not perfect people, yet, they believed and loved God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Let us not allow modern historians to paint any other picture. These settlers were not successful because of their luck, their physical stamina or even their ability. God, by His kind hand of providence made a way for these people because of their righteous intentions. Have you considered that the power and glory of this nation reflect God's sovereignty and His ability to exalt a nation when and where He pleases? It does not exalt man, politicians or even modern technology. It has shown the whole world that God can take a little rag tag bunch of settlers and exalt them to become the most powerful and influential people in the world. Surely, he did that with Abraham's seed as we see the splendor of Solomon's kingdom. Righteousness exalteth a nation. Let us bow before our great Lord who has exalted Himself in blessing His people and thank Him for His watch-care over us. Recently, I received an article from a friend with these facts from an unknown source, "If you own just one Bible, you are abundantly blessed-1/3 of the world does not have access to even one. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people around the world. If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest or torture of death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world." Have we properly thanked God for these? At its conception, Thanksgiving day was designed to give "thanks" to God for His blessings. Let us teach this great truth to our children lest they rise up and forget the source of their blessings(as Israel of old did as they waxed fat and kicked and lost all) and say it really does not matter which god we worship, what kind of people we have as leaders and forget to thank God for present comforts. God's arm and not man's has exalted us. Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks! Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Visit our web page at www.primitivebaptist.org/donaldson/ Singing begins at 10:30 each Sunday morning followed by preaching at 11:00. By His mercy and grace, Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor