Let Us Thank Him

Bible Book: Leviticus  22 : 26-33
Subject: Thanksgiving; Gratitude; Praise

An Internet search reveals that Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving find their roots in England, dating back to the time of the Protestant Reformation. The practice of holding a day of prayer and thanksgiving in America dates back to the Pilgrims who celebrated the First Thanksgiving in 1621. In the Middle Ages in England a day of thanksgiving was celebrated to thank the Lord for a good harvest.

The concept of thanksgiving can be traced back to the Law the Lord handed down through Moses to the Children of Israel and that is certainly a good example for believers of all times. Listen to Scripture that may not normally be associated with the celebration of Thanksgiving:

“When you sacrifice a thank offering to the Lord, sacrifice it so that you may be accepted. (30) It is to be eaten on the same day. Do not let any of it remain until morning; I am the Lord. (31) You are to keep My commands and do them; I am Yahweh. (32) You must not profane My holy name; I must be treated as holy among the Israelites. I am the Lord who sets you apart, (33) the One who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the Lord.” (Lev 22:26-33, HCSB)

Did you notice that the thank offering was expected by the Lord? He did not say, “if you sacrifice a thank offering,” but “when you sacrifice a thank offering.” Did you also notice that the Lord decides what is acceptable in offering thanks to Him, we don’t? What right does He have to tell us how to express thanks to Him? He answers that, too: “You are to keep my commands and do them.”
He offers no argument: He does not beg them, He commands them to keep His commands, and that includes thanksgiving. What right does He have to tell me whom to thank, when to thank them, or how to do it? He has an answer for that, too: “I am the Lord.” Until we understand that His lordship gives Him total authority over us we will never really appreciate Him, and if we do not appreciate Him we cannot thank Him.


A. Believers Should Know to say, “Thank You.”

Lost people can say the words. In fact, lost people say, “thank you” all the time. You hold the door for a lady at a busy department store and she says, “thank you,” but hardly notices you. You hold a door for a man and he says, “thank you,” because he is surprised. You hold the door for a particular lady and she says, “thank you,” but her facial expression carries the message that speaking to someone beneath her social class is a bother to her - but she will say it because it is expected of her. You look at her, and maybe at her husband and realize that they would never invite you to their home, their club, or to their party.

I have waited at a door to hold it open for an elderly man or woman who might have been struggling with a load and at times they showed genuine surprise that I had made a point of helping them. At times like that, the people, saved or lost, may show a sincere appreciation for a small courtesy.

Lost people can be genuinely thankful for a good deed. My mother helped a lot of people with clothes, food, and other things. Some of those people were not saved, but they expressed a genuine gratitude for her kindness. She would plant an extra garden and work it out early in the morning before beginning her work for the day so she would have something to share with “those less fortunate.” I often wondered why, if they were hungry, they didn’t plant their own garden. After all, we all had to help Mother at times. Some had the same opportunity we had to plant a garden, but it never seemed to occur to them.

Mother helped with more than food and clothes. We learned a lot about my mother after she died following an eight year battle that began with a brain tumor. We learned that a lot of people came from some distance to visit her when she was in the nursing home. Some of those loved her and felt indebted to her for listening to their problems, or for helping them when they had special needs. A number of young women drove to our home to talk with her - about marital problems, I supposed. She never said. Some needed help in dealing with other problems.

We met friends at the visitation in the chapel of the funeral home in Water Valley, Mississippi the evening before the funeral service. My younger son Mark was around eleven years old at the time and he told us later that he was standing in front of the casket looking down at my mother when a lady walked up and stopped by him and looked down at my Mother’s face for some time. Finally, she said, “She loved me when I was good, and she loved me when I was bad.” She had grown up in church but had drifted into a life that was not of the Lord, but I had no idea whether or not she had ever been saved. What I am convinced of was that she was expressing her appreciation to my mother for being there for her when she needed her. She was thanking her for not judging her.

B. Genuine Believers Will Thank Others.

In fact, genuine believers will thank others when a word of thanks is due them. Christian parents should make a point of training their children to thank others when there is a reason to do so. I have often witnessed teachers in church and school who would remind children to say, “Thank you” when someone does something to help them. These teachers reinforce the instructions children and young people receive from Christian parents. Parents may instruct their children to say, “Thank you” in order for others to know they have received proper training at home. However, Christian parents should have deeper and more godly motives than that.

For the Christian, the Second Great Commandment should be a sufficient motive for expressing gratitude to other when it is due. A host of personal relationships are solved or resolved when we love one another as we love ourselves.


A. David Is an Example of One Who Thanked God for His Blessings.

1. David Had a Lot of Reasons to Thank the Lord. One of the best illustrations of the gratitude of David is seen in his dealings with Mephibosheth, son of Jonah. David wanted to know if there were people in the kingdom to whom he owed a debt of gratitude and he was made aware of a son of Jonathan, who was handicapped.

“Mephibosheth son of Jonathan son of Saul came to David, bowed down to the ground and paid homage. David said, “Mephibosheth!” “I am your servant,” he replied.

“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “since I intend to show you kindness because of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all your grandfather Saul’s fields, and you will always eat meals at my table.”

Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant that you take an interest in a dead dog like me?”

Then the king summoned Saul’s attendant Ziba and said to him, “I have given to your master’s grandson all that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You, your sons, and your servants are to work the ground for him, and you are to bring in ⌊the crops⌋ so your master’s grandson will have food to eat. But Mephibosheth, your master’s grandson, is always to eat at my table.” (2 Sam 9:6-10, HCSB)

We could list all sorts of reasons David had for thanking the Lord, and for thanking others. I believe he was expressing his appreciation to others when he listed his 30 mighty men who protected him and others. We do not have a record of the gratitude David expressed to or for others, but there are indications. For example, as he reflected on his life and his reign he remembered his friend Jonathan, the son of Saul who protected David from his father. David, as some of my old neighbors used to say, “never forgot where he came from.” He came from the fields where he tended his father sheep. We know he never forgot that when we read in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd.”

2. The Bible records David’s expression of gratitude to the Lord. David expressed his gratitude to God in many ways, but those we know best are those recorded in the Psalms. He wrote, “I will thank the Lord for His righteousness; I will sing about the name of Yahweh the Most High.” (Ps 7:17, HCSB) The best known and most often quoted Psalm in the history of the world is the Twenty Third Psalm:

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. (3) He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (4) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (5) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (Psalms 23:1-6, KJV)

Now, let me read Psalm 23 from the Holman Christian Standard Bible:

1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. (RELATIONSHIP)
2) He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. (PROVISIONS)
3) He renews my life; (RENEWAL)
He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake. (SANCTIFICATION)
4) Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger,
for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff —they comfort me. (ASSURANCE)
5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; (ACCEPTANCE)
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (ABUNDANT BLESSINGS)
6) Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live. (SECURITY)
Is there any wonder David would write: “I will thank Yahweh with all my heart; I will declare all Your wonderful works. (2) I will rejoice and boast about You; I will sing about Your name, Most High.” (Ps 9:1-2, HCSB)

B. We Should Follow David’s Example.

1. First, there is David’s Prayer of Thanksgiving:

(18) “Then King David went in, sat in the Lord’s presence, and said, ‘Who am I, Lord God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far? (19) What You have done so far was a little thing to You, Lord God, for You have also spoken about Your servant’s house in the distant future. And this is a revelation for mankind, Lord God. (20) What more can David say to You? You know Your servant, Lord God. (21) Because of Your word and according to Your will, You have revealed all these great things to Your servant” (2 Sam 7:18-21).

2. Then there is David’s Song of Thanksgiving. We will only look at a few verses from David’s song, but we should get the message.

(1) David spoke the words of this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. (2) He said: The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, (3) my God, my mountain where I seek refuge. My shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold, my refuge, and my Savior, You save me from violence.
(7) I called to the Lord in my distress; I called to my God. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry for help ⌊reached⌋ His ears.
8) Then the earth shook and quaked; the foundations of the heavens trembled; they shook because He burned with anger.
9) Smoke rose from His nostrils, and consuming fire ⌊came⌋ from His mouth; coals were set ablaze by it.
22) For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not turned from my God to wickedness.
24) I was blameless before Him and kept myself from sinning.
25) So the Lord repaid me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in His sight. (2 Sam 22:1-31, HCSB)

This is the David who was a man after God’s Own heart, the king by whom all his successors to the
throne would be judged. There was never another like David.


A. David Was a Man After God’s Own Heart.

1. He was chosen by the Lord to be King over Israel. The Lord sent the prophet Samuel to anoint David to be the next king over Israel. Let me remind you of something here. You will remember that at thee end of the Period of the Judges the people of Israel demanded a king. Samuel the prophet of Yahweh was deeply hurt and offended, but the Lord told him to anoint the most likely looking man in Israel as their king over Israel. He was told to anoint Saul (1 Samuel 9:14ff). We know that Saul was a complete failure in every sense of the word. Did God make a mistake? No. Absolutely not.
It was already in His plan that the Messiah would come from the line of Judah and Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin. The people demanded that Samuel would ask the Lord for a king like the kings of the Philistines, and they would not listen to Samuel who reminded them that the Lord was their King. So, the Lord gave them Saul. They had an opportunity to learn a great lesson, but they were no better at learning lessons than we are.

2. He became a mighty warrior and commander of the army. David visited he army to take cheese and other things to his brothers who were fighting for Saul against the Philistines. You know the story. David heard Goliath challenge the Israelites to choose a warrior to fight him. They had no one who could stand up to the giant who mocked Israel and Saul. David volunteered to fight Goliath and killed him. Before long he was leading Saul’s army and the Lord was blessing everything he did.

3. He love the Lord, as we see in his Psalms. One example is seen in these words: “Whoever sacrifices a thank offering honors Me, and whoever orders his conduct, I will show him the salvation of God.” (Ps 50:23)

4. David wrote great hymns ( poems) before he discovered Bathsheba. You know the story of David’s sin with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah the Hittite. The question is, How could that have happened? Sometimes one may simply become caught off guard. One day David was on a mountain peak and the next day he was down in the valley.

a) Then there was the temptation. Bathsheba, we can be sure, knew she was bathing where David would see her. As my Old Testament professor told us, “This was normally the time when kings went to war.” At a time when David had always been at war he was idle. He was ripe for temptation. We know the story. David, rather than acting like the servant of the Lord, acted like the kings of this world. The temptation was there and he had a choice: He could call on the Lord to deliver him from temptation, or he could yield to the temptation.

b) Then came the sin. David sent for Bathsheba and she came willingly to the palace. You know the story. David committed a horrible sin and then Bathsheba revealed that she was pregnant. What a shock this must have been

c) Then came the cover up. Maybe we should say, the attempt to cover up his horrible sin. He sent for her husband and tried to get him to go home to his wife, but Uriah, being more honorable than David, refused to go while his army was at war. David tried again to get him to go home and spend the nigh with his wife, but he refused. Then David did the unthinkable - he had Joab, his commander in chief to set Uriah up so he would be killed.

d) Then came the confrontation and the conviction. You know the sordid story, the tragic story. David made an effort to go on about the business of running the kingdom until the Lord sent the prophet Nathan to confront him with his sin. There were kings who would have had Nathan killed, but not David. He knew he was guilty. So, what to do?

e) Then came the confession (Ps. 51). When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin we may repent or we may continue to refuse to do so until the Lord stops bothering with us. What did David do? It was certainly not what the kings of the earth would have done before that time. He repented, as we see in Psalm 51, and while I am going to read from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, I want to point out something from the King James Version first. In the KJV, David confesses (1) sin, (2) Transgression, and (3) iniquity. Sin means to miss the mark, as an archer’s arrow falls short of the target (goes over it, or to the side of it). Even if he is doing his best to hit the target, if he may misses it he has “sinned” (missed the mark).
Transgression means to set over the line with your eyes wide open. My younger brother Mike was stationed near the line between Germany and Czechoslovakia during the Cold War and he told me that he was on duty one time and, like other soldiers he wanted to say he had been behind the Iron Curtain. He told me he stepped over the line stood for a moment and then crossed back into West Germany. Enemy soldiers often did the same thing when they had an opportunity. They crossed the line with their eyes wide open and if they had been caught they would have had no defense. It is the same when people, saved or lost, deliberately step across God’s line. They are guilty, and unlike the Communist enemies, God never misses a transgression.

Iniquity carries the idea of being warped, twisted, and bent out of shape. That is the effect of sins and transgressions over a period of time. When one begins to drink alcoholic beverages he may think he is only being social. When he gets a DWI people begin to take notice. If he becomes an alcoholic people are no longer amused at him, they avoid him. He has become warped, twisted, and bent out of shape morally and spiritually. Now, let us look at David’s confession and repentance:

(1) “Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love; according to Your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion.
(2) Wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin. (3) For I am conscious of my rebellion, and my sin is always before me.
(4) Against You—You alone—I have sinned and done this evil in Your sight. So You are right when You pass sentence; You are blameless when You judge.
(7) Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
(10) God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(11) Do not banish me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
(12) Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit.
(13) Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways, and sinners will return to You.
(14) Save me from the guilt of bloodshed, God, the God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing of Your righteousness.
(15) Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise. (Psalms 51:1-19, HCSB)

f). Then came the praise, Ps. 32.

(1) How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!
(2) How joyful is the man the Lord does not charge with sin and in whose spirit is no deceit!
(3) When I kept silent, my bones became brittle from my groaning all day long.
(4) For day and night Your hand was heavy on me; my strength was drained as in the summer’s heat.
(5) Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You took away the guilt of my sin.” (Ps 32:1-5)

B. All kings of Israel were judged by David.

He was a man after God’s own heart. Did the Lord not remember David’s sin with Bathsheba or the murder of Uriah? No. He did not remember them! At least, He did not remember them judicially. He remembers the sins historically, but once or sins are forgiven they will never be brought up for judgment or punishment again. I have heard people say that David never accomplished much after his sin with Bathsheba, but that statement denies the biblical record, and it disputes the meaning of forgiveness and restoration. All we have to do is read Psalm 51 and Psalm 32 to decide whether or not David was forgiven and restored.


A. Let Us Prepare to Thank Him.

We must take thanksgiving seriously. But how do we do that? Well, let me ask you this: has the media prepared you to offer thanks to God this Thanksgiving? Did all the emphasis on Halloween this year motivate you to count your blessings and praise the Lord? Did the decorations of October and the secular Christmas movies shown before Thanksgiving prepare you to thank the Lord?

Let us go on from there. According to Wikipedia, “Thanksgiving has its historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, and has long been celebrated in a secular manner as well.” Do you get the feeling that the folks at Wikipedia need to learn something about the Lord? There are a lot of religious exercises that have absolutely nothing to do with the Lord and show very little knowledge of the Bible. There can be no secular Thanksgiving service! Thanksgiving, from the days of the pilgrims and from the days of George Washington means to thank God, the source of our blessings, for His blessings.

There was a time when, in spite of my intentions, I would become so caught up in football games and hunting that I knew when the Thanksgiving season was over that I had failed to thank the Lord as I should have. I wonder if I am the only one who has let hunting, football, or sales at the mall rob us of a special time of thanksgiving with our Lord. There is nothing inherently wrong with going to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, nor is a football game or a hunting trip evil. It is a sad thing, however, when we claim to celebrate Thanksgiving but do not seriously offer thanks to the Lord for our blessings. Do we agree now that we should thank Him? Good.

B. Let Us Thank Him.

1. Prepare your heart to thank Him. How do we do that? First, count your blessings. Second, count the blessings that you did not earn and do not deserve. Third, look around and see if you can determine the source of your blessings. Fourth, spend some time in the Word of God, looking at various passages. In Genesis we meet our Creator. In Exodus we see the One who delivered Israel from the place of death, bondage, and suffering by His mighty hand. In Deuteronomy we learn more about the God of the Covenant. In I and II Samuel we read about the United Kingdom, and as we move on we read about the Divided Kingdoms, and then the judgment of the Lord on both kingdoms. Israel was destroyed, except for a remnant that became united with Judah, and Judah was taken into captivity ib Babylon for seventy years. Read Isaiah and Jeremiah and you will see how the Lord warned the people of Israel to repent. He sent prophet after prophet to challenge the people of the Northern Kingdom to repent, including Amos and Hosea. In the Southern Kingdom he sent Isaiah and Micah, and after some time, Jeremiah to warn the people of coming judgment if they did not repent. They did not repent.

In the prophets we read of the coming of the Messiah. In the Gospels we read about the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His ministry, miracle, and teachings. Finally, we read of his death on the cross for you and me, and His resurrection. In Acts we read of the commission to go unto all the earth with the Gospel, and the promised return of our Lord. In Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians we learn sound doctrine. In the Revelation we learn of the place Jesus is preparing for all who place their faith in Him.

Examine your salvation, your blessings, and the joy of your salvation and see if it is not time to stop and thank the Lord our God for His blessings. You do not have to wait until Thanksgiving to thank Him for our blessings, but by all means, when a day is set aside to thank the Lord for our blessings, take some time to be with the Lord and thank Him.

2. Thank Him with all your Heart. Anyone can pray, “Thank you, Lord, for your many blessings,” and then go on and live just like the unsaved, but those who really know Him will make a point of praising Him personally and sincerely.

3. Let us plan to express our thanksgiving in the days ahead. I have preached a sermon that I called Thanksgiving by Thanks-Living, and I really believe that if we genuinely thank the Lord for His blessings we will show it in our daily life not just in word spoken on special occasions, like a testimonial when we are among believers..

C. Make Your Thanks Personal.

When I graduated from Mississippi College I only owed a very small amount of money. In the first place, I grew up on a farm where I worked long hours and we really did some hard work. At age ten I spent ten hours a day in the hot humid Mississippi Delta. I didn’t get paid because we were all working to pay for our farm land. When I was at Mississippi College a good friend told me about his summer job with the Quitman County ASCS office, a division of the USDA. I made enough money to pay for my college education in a couple of months. Following my second and third years in seminary I served as a Youth Minister and made as much the first months as I had made the first week the year before, and I had expenses that I didn’t have the year before.

I didn’t know about going out into the city and getting a job, and jobs on the camps were limited. So, at the end of my third quarter my first year in seminary I packed up and moved home so I could work and pay bills and save up for another year. On the following Monday morning Mr. and Mrs. L. M. Street drove up in our drive way, which was simply the gravel road from the main road out to our house, about 200 yards long. Mr. Street got out and said, “Well, Johnny, I hear you dropped out of school.” I said, “Yes, Sir, Mr. Street, I did.” He then said, “Well, I want to know why.” I told him I ran out of funds and when he was satisfied that was the reason he asked, “How would you like to go back?” I assured him that I would love to, but I was out of funds and had borrowed all I could pay back that summer. He said, “You won’t have to pay this back. Percy Scruggs and I are going to give you the money to finish the year.” Nothing like that had ever happened to me. Neither man lived in my community or went to my church.

I drove back to school and went to the registrar’s office and learned that no absences were counted against me and there would be no late fees. My pastor, Bro. Henning Andrews, was pastor of the Lula Baptist Church, Lula, Mississippi, which sponsored our mission church and he and Dr. H. Leo Eddleman, President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, were good friends. Dr. Eddleman’s father had been pastor of the Lula Baptist Church many years earlier. Brother Andrews had explained the circumstances to Dr. Eddleman and he had called the Registrar.

I went by my post office box and opened it and pulled out a letter. The return address showed that it was from the Rice Elliots, members of the same church as the Streets and Scruggs. That church sponsored our mission church until we were organized into a church, so I knew many of the members. I drove through Lula and made a point of stopping by the Elliot’s store to thank them for the check they sent, with a note telling me to buy a suit or what ever I needed. They had not even heard about my problems or what Mr. Street and Mr. Scruggs had done.

I thanked those gracious and godly people by mail and in person a number of times. This week I checked and saw the name, Lee Dean, on Facebook and contacted him because, I believed he might be the son of my high school English teacher. I told him about the time she took three students to Ridgecrest, but didn’t mention the fact that I had no idea how much she paid for my expenses and fees. A number of years later I learned that she was living in a retirement apartment in Batesville, Mississippi and made a point of going by for a visit and to thank her again. Lee Dean responded that his mother had mentioned me many times and that she had told him about taking me to Ridgecrest.

Do you see where I am going with this? Those people who helped me bach then are all with the Lord now, but I am still thanking them and the Lord knows how much I appreciate what they did for me. I could add many more people to my list, including my family, but now it is time to thank the One behind it all. I thank God for what He had done for me and I thank Him for what other believers have done for me.


Why do I thank the Lord today? I am glad you asked. Here is my first reason: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, KJV)

With that in mind I can celebrate with David:

(1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack (RELATIONSHIP).

(2) He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. (PROVISIONS)

(3) He renews my life; He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake. (RENEWAL)

(4) Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; (PROTECTION)

Your rod and Your staff —they comfort me. (COMFORT AND ASSURANCE)

(5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; (WELCOME, PROVISIONS)
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (WELCOME, ABUNDANCE)

(6) Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live. (Ps 23:1-6, HCSB) (HOPE AND ASSURANCE)

Now, let us thank the Lord for His blessings