Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving is Remembering

Deuteronomy 8
Thanksgiving is Remembering

Context: Israel is read to enter the “Promised Land.”  Moses then gave his farewell speech where he recaps the Law and retells the story of their adventures.

Point: Wealth will either DISCIPLINE or DESTROY you.  You will be thankful (a spiritual discipline) or be thankless and destroyed.

I.    The problem with thankless:

    A.    [v 17] It is easy to become proud.

        1.    Wealth can be a trap [v 12] (which is relative and about our attitude)... satisfied with food, fine homes [v 13], herds, flocks, gold and silver multiply.

        2.    The pride of life is a dangerous thing.  “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” [Proverbs 16:18]

        3.    Pride keeps us from God [Romans 1:18 – 20].

    B.    [v 14] It is easy to forget.

        1    Forget what?

            a.    God’s work: He brought you out of slavery [Romans 6:16 – 18].

            b.    God’s leading: thirsty land, venomous snakes, etc...

            c.    God’s provision: water, manna in difficult times. [vv 16 – 18]

The danger is we think we produce the good things but God gives the ability to produce good things.

        2.    The result of forgetting is devastating,.

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. [22] Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools [23] and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”
[Romans 1:21 – 23]

            a.    We become stupid (“thinking became futile and there foolish hearts were darkened”).

            b.    We lose sight of who God really is and replace Him with gods of our own invention.  (We even reshape Jesus into a benign, wishy washy candy man.)

Thanklessness is connected to being proud, forgetting God, and leaving God for false gods.  The result is destruction.

II.    The discipline of being thankful.

    A.    Be careful to obey [v 1].

        1.    The key to “success” with God is obedience.

        2.    God made a promise, but asks something of us.

    B.    Remembering is a key to thankfulness.

        1.    Remember to be humble [v 3].

            a.    [v 3] “to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

            b.    We need food, but the “word” that comes from the LORD is

        2.    Remember to pass the test.

            a.    God k knows if we will pass, the test is a learning experience for us.

            b.    Desert areas are life’s testing grounds.  (e.g. Moses’ 40 years, Elijah, Jesus, Paul, etc...)

        3.    Remember to accept discipline.

            a.    [v 5] “ Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.”

            b.    Discipline is a teaching process (not a punishing process).

If you are not being disciplined by God, then you need to check “who’s your Father.”

Thanksgiving is a time deliberately set aside to remember and exercise gratitude.  Back in the late 1930 America was in a terrible depression.  On top of that, crops were failing and nothing seemed to be going well.  The President issued the yearly proclamation for Thanksgiving and the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism objected.  They claimed there was no reason for thanksgiving.  Their problem is they associated the “good things” of the “roaring 20's” with a reason for giving thanks and missed the important things like friends, family, love, liberty, freedom, and God’s grace.

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