Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Why Thanksgiving?

Courtesy Google.com
As Thanksgiving Day approaches this week, my thoughts have turned to a modern rendition of the old hymn, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," I have heard on the Sound of Life Radio from time to time. The second verse always catches my attention:

Here I raise my Ebenezer;

Hither by Thy help I come.

It brings back a memory of a time years ago when an elderly Christian lady visited our new church planting in Gloversville, New York. She gave her testimony based on the word, Ebenezer, saying, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped me." 

I'd heard the word and knew the definition, but when I got home, I looked up Ebenezer in my concordance to find the story behind the word and found it in 1 Samuel 7:5-13. 

Samuel had just become judge over the Israelites and had gathered all the people at the town of Mizpah to confess their sins to the Lord and to worship Him. When their enemies, the Philistines, heard that all Israel had gathered in one place, they saw their opportunity to annihilate their enemy. They mobilized their army and advanced on the defenseless Israelites.

Fearfully, the Israelites begged Samuel to plead with the Lord to help them.

Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering when the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. The Lord spoke with such a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that the Philistines were thrown into great confusion. The Israelites soundly defeated them that day. From then on throughout Samuel's judgeship, the Philistines did not invade Israel again.

After their great victory, Samuel took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer (which means "the stone of help"), for he said, "Up to this point the Lord has  helped us!" (1 Samuel 7:12).

In the Psalms and in the New Testament Epistles, we are frequently admonished not to worry in the face of trouble but to make our requests known to God "with thanksgiving" (Philippians 4:6). 

Courtesy Google.com
Have you ever wondered why God tells us to pray with thanksgiving?  Thanksgiving is not only for God's benefit, but for ours too. As we give thanks, we are reminded of what God has done for us in the past, and our faith is strengthened to believe that He'll do it again in our present situation.

What impossible situation are you facing today? Remember the word Ebenezer! Up to this point the Lord has helped us. He's not going to quit helping us now.

This Thanksgiving Day let's thank God for all He has done for us. Not only on Thanksgiving Day, but let's continue to thank Him every day all year long.

Happy Thanksgiving!  

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