Tim Johnson, editor
November 23, 2008
Power of the Written Word
The First Thanksgiving?
The first recorded instance of thanksgiving in the Bible did not include pilgrims and Indians or turkey and giblets. It involved Israelites and cakes! The first time the word thanksgiving is found in most English translations of the Bible is in Leviticus 7:12-13. The context of this passage contains the regulations of the Law of Moses regarding the peace offering. The text says, "If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer, with the sacrifice of thanksgiving, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, or cakes of blended flour mixed with oil. Besides the cakes, as his offering he shall offer leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace offering."
It is interesting that this first thanksgiving, like our modern American holiday, included some good things to eat. The difference is that those who participated in that first thanksgiving didn't eat the food! They sacrificed it! That first thanksgiving wasn't about stuffing yourself with stuffing, or cramming pie down your pie hole, or gobbling up turkey; it wasn't a time to receive more blessings, it was a time to give thanks to God for the blessings He had already bestowed.
Now don't get me wrong. God made turkey and ham, pumpkin and pecans, apples and cranberries to be eaten and enjoyed. "For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving" (1 Timothy 4:4). Receiving God's blessings with gratefulness is thanksgiving, but it is not all there is to thanksgiving.
Deeper, fuller more meaningful thanksgiving requires actively doing something to show appreciation for what God has done for us. It requires sacrifice. "Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing (Psalm 107:21-22).
What have you done to show God your thanks? What have you given to Him? What have you left for Him? What burdens have you borne for Him? What gifts have you brought to Him? Are you really thankful to Him?
I gave my life for thee, My precious blood I shed,
I wonder if we truly realize the power of reading the word of God. Information contained in the Scripture will not find its lodging in our hearts through osmosis or some other magical transformation. No, it is going to take the decided effort on man's part to take a copy of the Bible, sit down with calculated purpose, and try to understand exactly what is said, using the brains, intelligence, and abilities for rational thought God gave us.
Yet, we hear some people say, "I would really accept it
if I could hear Jesus say it with His own mouth", or "I
would really be convinced if I could hear the Lord's chosen apostles
teach it personally." While I admit it would be time well
spent to be in the audience of Jesus or one of His apostles, such is
not necessary to know the thoughts God had at one time in His mind
and later revealed them (1 Cor. 2:7-13). Notice what Christ and
one of His apostles said about this:
The apostle Paul
Even though Jesus and Paul were physically on the earth, teaching what God wanted taught, they still made appeals to the written word. What if all saw the importance of God's word and stuck to it? (cp. Rom. 1:16; Jas. 1:21) Wouldn't all division, disputes, and disagreements in religion go away because of the universal acceptance of an objective standard, one that is understandable and revered?
"Have you not read?"
-- Jeff Smith
Via West Knoxville church of Christ Article Database