Saturday, November 17, 2018

Eternal Thanksgiving

If you've followed my blog entries lately, you know I've been reading and studying through 1-2 Samuel. The chronological account dovetailed with 1 Chronicles this morning as David established himself in Jerusalem and brought the ark to its final resting place.

In his initial excitement he overlooked God's method. Focused on getting the job done and achieving his goal, David and the men put the ark of God on an ox-cart and Uzzah lost his life.

Later, after gathering the sons of Aaron and the Levites, David reflected, "Because you did not carry it at the first, the LORD our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance." (1 Chron. 15:13). In other words, no matter how important I am, how many promises God has fulfilled, how blessed I may be, obedience matters. God has not changed. We don't get special privileges because we experience His favor; we experience His favor as a privilege.

With the priests in row, David prepared for the finest celebration:gifts of bread, meat and raisin cakes for each man and woman; sacrifices along the way, burnt offerings and peace offerings in Jerusalem. The time had come for David to realize the anointing he received from Samuel many years ago. God would fulfill His covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. After years of living in hiding, assaulted and hunted by King Saul, fighting Philistines and Amalekites, being lied to, betrayed, and manipulated, God brought it all together. David was 37 years old when he began to rule from Jerusalem (2 Sam. 5:4-5). That's a LONG way from his anointing as a shepherd boy.

Is it any wonder he danced with all his might? That he rejoiced, celebrated, and praised God? He called Asaph and his relatives to give thanks. And they did (see below). As I read their words in preparation for Thanksgiving, I was humbled at how short-sighted I am; how little I think of God; how much He is due, and how little I know Him. I was reminded of how fickle we are. In a couple of short chapters, David will assault Bathsheba, conspire against Uriah, use Joab, and set himself up against God.

But in this moment, today, like David, may I be found on my knees, humbled by a God who loves me and gave Himself for me that I might experience the blessing, joy, and riches of His grace. By His grace, may I choose to serve, obey, and seek Him--in the good and the difficult, the ease and the struggle, the joy and the grief.

Thanksgiving is a hallmark of eternity that doesn't have to wait. With David, the priests, and people, I can lift my heart and voice, experiencing Heaven and the divine nature as I live in, choose, and express thanks.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples.
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
Speak of all His wonders.
Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.
Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually.
Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done,
His marvels and the judgments from His mouth,
O seed of Israel His servant,
Sons of Jacob, His chosen ones!
He is the Lord our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.
Remember His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded to a thousand generations,
The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac.
He also confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan,
As the portion of your inheritance.”
When they were only a few in number,
Very few, and strangers in it,
And they wandered about from nation to nation,
And from one kingdom to another people,
He permitted no man to oppress them,
And He reproved kings for their sakes, saying,
“Do not touch My anointed ones,
And do My prophets no harm.”
Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
He also is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are 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 holy array.
Tremble before Him, all the earth;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not 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 it contains;
Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord;
For He is coming to judge the earth.
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Then say, “Save us, O God of our salvation,
And gather us and deliver us from the nations,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
And glory in Your praise.”
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
From everlasting even to everlasting.

Then all the people said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord. (1 Chronicles 16:8-36)

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