giving thanks

David brought the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem. All of the people were so excited that there was much shouting to the sound of the horns, trumpets and cymbals, making loud music and dancing as they went. 

Why was the ark of the covenant so significant? The ark held the word of God in the form of the 10 commandments, written in his own hand. The ark itself was a symbol of God dwelling among them. David and the people thought so highly of the ark of God that, when they finally had it back in their hands, they celebrated. 

They rejoiced, shouted for joy, danced, and sang over God's gifts, his presence and his words. Their response was appropriate.

David pitched a tent and placed the ark of God in it and then gave thanks. 

These were David's words written in 1 Chronicles 16:8-36.

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
    make known his deeds among the peoples! 

 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
    tell of all his wondrous works! 

 Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! 

 Seek the Lord and his strength;
    seek his presence continually!

Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
    his miracles and the judgments he uttered,

O offspring of Israel his servant,
    children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

He is the Lord our God;
    his judgments are in all the earth.
Remember his covenant forever,
    the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
the covenant that he made with Abraham,
    his sworn promise to Isaac
which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,
    to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan,
    as your portion for an inheritance.”

When you were few in number,
    of little account, and sojourners in it,
wandering from nation to nation,
    from one kingdom to another people,
he allowed no one to oppress them;
    he rebuked kings on their account,
saying, “Touch not my anointed ones,
    do my prophets no harm!”

Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
    Tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
    and he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and joy are in his place.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth;
    yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
    and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
    before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!

 Say also:

“Save us, O God of our salvation,
    and gather and deliver us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
    and glory in your praise.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting!”

Then all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord.

Before the first American thanksgiving, David celebrated his own thanksgiving - he not only celebrated having in his own possession of God's written word, but he gave thanks for God's guiding, leading, saving, soverign and protecting hand and most of all, that God willingly and lovingly dwelt among them. He reflected on all that God had done for him and his people and he worshiped with words of thanksgiving, honor, and recognition to the God of Israel. 

May we also be a people who love, revere, and are excited to have God's word to the degree that David did while also recognizing that God still dwells among his people, by way of the Holy Spirit, through Christ Jesus. John 1 tells us Jesus is God's Word made flesh, God literally dwelling on earth, not in the form of artifacts or vessels or stone tablets, but in a real flesh, blood, and bone dwelling. Christ then told his disciples that there was a greater advantage for him to go away and that his literal dwelling was second to what was to come. (John 14:16-18, 25-6a, 16:5-8, 13-14), which was the gift of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

John Owen says it this way: 
The great promise of the Old Testament, the principal object of the faith and hope of believers, was that of the coming of the Son of God in flesh; but when that was accomplished, the principle remaining promise of the New Testament respects the coming of the Holy Spirit. 

As we eat our Thanksgiving meals, in honor of the many blessings we have, big or small, may we remember to give thanks for God's salvation gifts and blessings that have eternal significance. 


After the Thanksgiving meal is eaten, with dishes still piled high in our sinks, houses that need to be put back in order, we realize that our one day of giving thanks eventually comes to an end. As we reflect on our earthly blessings with mountains of food, then no sooner than it takes to prepare it all, we realize that even our day of thanksgiving is fleeting. With full, content, and satisfied stomachs, we are reminded once again that blessings come and go. 

Once we recognize that the God of Creation gives and takes away tangible blessings that are here today and gone tomorrow, or here today and gone in an afternoon, let us allow our minds to remind our hearts to stand fast knowing that God's word endures forever, his Son reigns forever, and his Spirit takes up residence in our souls, allowing us to live forever with him. (John 2:25). 

Romans 6:23 tells us For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


May we repeat David's words in Chronicles, not only on this Thanksgiving day, but for all of our days. 



May we be a people who do not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Mathew 4:4) because we have learned that all scripture, even the stuff that does not immediately make sense to us, is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16) 

Isaiah 40:8 - The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever