Let Us Give Thanks

“Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the LORD. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” —Colossians 3:15-17

THROUGHOUT THE UNITED States, Thursday, November 24th, is set aside by presidential proclamation as Thanksgiving Day. It will be a holiday for most workers, and services of thanksgiving to the Lord will be held in many churches. It will also be a day of feasting for those who can afford to feast. While many will observe the day with a true spirit of thanksgiving to God, with millions it will simply be looked upon as another holiday, and a time to get together with friends and family, but with little thought of the Lord, the Giver of all the blessings for which all those who truly reverence him are whole-heartedly thankful.

While it is appropriate to have a day specially set apart for thanksgiving to the Lord, those who are genuinely dedicated to him and his service think of every day as being one of thanksgiving. Certainly the blessings provided by the Lord, which we value so highly and cherish so fondly, are showered upon us daily, and our thanksgiving for these lessons should not wait even one day, but be expressed to the Lord before the close of the day in which they are received. The Lord’s “compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:22,23) Since the Lord’s mercy is manifested toward us daily, as indeed are all his blessings, it is our privilege to express our thanks daily.

For those who do not know the divine plan, it has been a disconcerting year. Many nations have been experiencing civil wars; upheaval due to revolutions; starvation; hunger; disease; crime of all kinds has increased; riots for and against abortion have plagued many of our nation’s cities, small and large; and there have been so many other disheartening circumstances that it is difficult to list them all. But for the truth-enlightened Christian these manifestations of man’s inhumanity to man are seen to be part of a pattern of trouble with which the present age is ending, and. by which the world is being prepared to welcome the rulership of Messiah’s kingdom which is now nearing. So these stormy conditions in the world do not dampen our spirit of thanksgiving, but rather increase it.

Indeed, one of the great causes of our thanksgiving is that the Lord has opened the eyes of our understanding to know the significance of what is taking place around us. We are thankful that we are living at such a time, and that in a small way, as we have opportunity, we can witness to our friends and neighbors concerning the fast-approaching kingdom of Christ. David wrote, “All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.”—Ps. 145:10-12

In addition to being thankful that the Lord has given us the truth, we can be thankful also that in his mercy and love, and by the power of his Spirit, he has kept us from falling away from the truth. The same conditions in the world which are producing atheists and agnostics by the millions are increasing the faith of the Lord’s people in the great erities of his Word. If we have been living up to our privileges, Thanksgiving Day this year should find us standing more firmly in the truth than ever before. Truly this is cause for thanksgiving to God!

It is through the truth of the divine plan that we have come to know and appreciate some of the glories of God’s character—his love, his wisdom, his justice, and his power. How precious indeed is this knowledge. Jeremiah 9:23,24 reads, “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”

It is our understanding of present truth that assures us that God delights to ‘exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth’. The chaos and suffering throughout the earth today do not suggest that God delights to display his love and his justice toward his human creation; but the truth of the divine plan gives us this assurance despite so much that seems to indicate otherwise. Through our knowledge of the truth, we know that God displayed his love toward the human race by sending his only begotten Son to be the Redeemer and Savior of the people. We know that ultimately this will lead to restoration of life to all who will accept the provisions of divine love, and obey the laws of the Messianic kingdom, now so near.

The Apostle Paul wrote concerning Jesus, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (II Cor. 9:15) We are thankful for Jesus, both because of what his ministry means to us who are following in his footsteps of sacrifice, and also because of what his ministry will mean for the whole world of mankind in God’s due time. He will be the King in the kingdom soon to manifest itself in power and great glory. Under his rulership all the enemies of God and of man will be destroyed, even death. (I Cor. 15:15,26) The destruction of death necessitates the restoration to life of all who have died. The Bible describes this great and loving work as the “restitution of all things.”—Acts 3:19-21

As the world of mankind are awakened from the sleep of death and, in keeping with the divine plan, given the opportunity of being restored to perfection and living forever, then they also will understand that while temporarily they suffered as a result of the reign of sin and death, the plan of God through Jesus was moving forward for their ultimate and everlasting joy. They will learn then, as we know now, that God delights to exercise loving kindness in the earth.

And think of what Jesus, the “unspeakable gift” of God, means today to us who are walking in his steps, assured that if we suffer and die with him we shall also live and reign with him. (II Tim. 2:11,12) He is our Advocate with the Father. He is our sympathetic and loving High Priest who was touched with a feeling of our infirmities. He is our Good Shepherd who tenderly leads us beside “still waters” and makes us to “lie down in green pastures.” Even though we walk “through the valley of the shadow of death,” we “fear no evil,” for his “rod” and his “staff” comfort us.—Ps. 23

Jesus is also our ‘Head’, and we are members of his body. As our Head, he directs us in the way in which we should go, and in the manner in which we should serve. To the extent that we are subservient to him, we will not exercise our own wills; neither will we seek to walk in our own ways. We will know that, if we do his will as the called of God, all things will work together for our good. Thus we will have peace of mind and heart. And what a blessing this is in this world of chaos and fear! It is the “peace of God” which rules “in the heart” of all those who, through Christ—and trusting in the merit of his sacrifice as a “robe of righteousness”—yield themselves fully to doing the Father’s will as expressed through his “unspeakable gift.”—II Cor. 9:15; Phil. 4:7; Isa. 61:10

Jesus is also the “Captain of our salvation.” (Heb. 2:10) This reminds us of the fact that we are ‘good soldiers’ of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (II Tim. 2:3,4) As soldiers under Jesus, our Captain, we will not only strive to avoid the entanglements of the world, but we will endeavor to “put on the whole armor of God,” that we “may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil.”—Eph. 6:11-18

How thankful we are to have Jesus as Captain of the great salvation to which we have been called! It has been by following his leadership, and keeping on the whole armor of God that we have been kept from falling, and that we are still rejoicing in the glorious hope that is set before us in the Gospel. The chief aspect of that hope is that, in “due time,” if we are faithful unto death, we will be associated with Jesus—he as our heavenly bridegroom, and we as his “bride.” If faithful, we will have the blessed privilege, through the kingdom, of inviting the people to partake of the water of life freely. (Rev. 22:17) How thankful we are for such a glorious prospect!

Thanksgiving and praise are closely associated in the Bible. We can think of thanksgiving as an expression of appreciation to God for all the rich blessings which he showers upon us from day to day. Peter wrote, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises [Margin, “virtues”] of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”—I Pet. 2:9

We do not show forth the Lord’s virtues simply by saying, “Praise the Lord!” No! We praise him by telling of his wondrous works as represented in the precious doctrines of the divine plan.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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