Giving Thanks This Thanksgiving
Psalm 9: 1 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. (ESV)
This week we will all gather around our Thanksgiving Day tables and enjoy the feast set before us. A tradition primarily in the United States and Canada, Thanksgiving Day was set aside as a day to give thanks to God for all of His provision. So much for the theory that the people who settled this land did not believe in the one true God. The earliest recorded Thanksgiving Day actually pre-dates the generally accepted Plymouth Plantation feast. As far back as 1565 it actually goes. So, for the past 444 years Americans have paused to give thanks to God Almighty for the glorious provision He has made. Amen.
Our key verse for this Thanksgiving comes from King David in Psalm 9. There are essentially two parts. The first is that King David declares that he will give thanks to the Lord with his whole heart. David pours himself out to the Lord in praise as we see throughout the Psalms and his life. He holds nothing back from God in his praise unto Him. Perhaps we can read this opening line in Psalm 9 and gloss over it but it is important as we pause this Thanksgiving to seriously look at how we praise and why we praise God Almighty.
We are in a constant spiritual battle on this earth. The Bible tells us so. There is a Savior in Jesus Christ and there is an enemy in the devil. The world has done a masterful job of turning the devil into a caricature. A cartoonish fellow in a little red suit with a pitchfork. That is not however how God warns us about him:
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8: 44
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2Corinthians 4:4
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2Corinthians 11:3
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1Peter 5: 8
Do not underestimate the enemy you face beloved. He was a murderer from the beginning, the father of lies, blinder of the unbelievers, and a cunning lion on the prowl seeking someone to devour.
But praise be to God! He has provided us with divine weapons to use in our confrontations with the enemy:
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2Corinthians 10: 3-5
In a recent devotional I focused on the top offensive weapon, the Word of God and the top defensive weapon, prayer. But praise and thanksgiving unto God is also a powerful and mighty weapon God has given us. David understood this in the key verse above. What makes praise so powerful? For starters, it places the focus back onto God. The devil seeks to make us impotent for the kingdom of God. He knows he has lost the battle for your soul but he wants you crawling into heaven, bound and shackled for your walk here on earth. How did Jesus say our walk on earth was supposed to be?
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
In contrast to the enemy who only seeks to steal and kill in your life Jesus came to provide you with a full life; an abundant life. The enemy will seek to steal your progress in Christ, kill your joy, steal your passion and kill your hope. All of those things will deprive you of the full life Jesus said He came to give you! How many Christians do you know who are still so bound by the enemy and the lies this world sells? That is not God's design.