THE CHRISTIAN'S THANKSGIVING

    Printer-friendly versionSend by email

    [Psalms:107:1-43].

    Lesson No.: 
    47
    Class: 
    Junior
    Memory Verse: 

    "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness"  (Psalm 107:21).

    Notes: 

    Freedom of Worship
    When our Pilgrim Fathers came to this country to make homes for themselves in a new land, they were looking for a place where they could worship God in righteousness and true holiness. They did not care that there were no cities to come to, no stores in which to buy the necessities of life. They were willing to endure hardships and suffering, to get along with the little they could make for themselves, in order to be free in spirit and to worship the Lord as their conscience told them was right.

    It is hard for us in this land of liberty today to realise that everyone has not had the privileges we have of going to any church we want to, whenever we want. We shall be more grateful for the blessings of God if we stop to consider the toil and tears of some faithful saints of the Most High who were willing to die rather than give up their belief in the Almighty God. History tells us that an estimated 50,000,000 people died as martyrs because they stood for the truth of God's Word. They died cruel and inhuman deaths: crucified on crosses, torn in conflicts with wild animals, burned at the stake, pulled limb from limb -- all because they would not yield their faith in Christ, their hope of eternal life. They went to be with Jesus and received a glorious reward, while those who tried to stamp out Christianity will suffer the pangs of torment throughout a lost eternity.

    Trust in God
    The Pilgrims had faith in God that He would take care of His children in this virgin country. Their hardships and privations were severe that first winter. These early settlers besides having difficulty in getting enough to eat, found that the unfriendly neighbours would come upon them, steal from them, and sometimes burn down their houses which had been so hard to build. But the Pilgrims, although often discouraged, never lost their trust in God. When summer came their crops grew abundantly, and at the harvest time they gathered in produce to be stored for the winter. How grateful they were for the providence of God! They did not forget God when they had their houses built and food stored for the following winter. They proclaimed a special day of thanksgiving to their Saviour Who had brought them through grave trials and provided for their needs.

    Grateful Hearts
    That first Thanksgiving morning the people came from all around the settlement to the little church built of logs. They came with glowing hearts to thank God for the blessings of a home in which His name could be honoured, a church which no government would restrict. They knew there were still hardships ahead, but had not God brought them this far with victory, and would He not lead them on triumphant? Oh, the joy that filled them that day, that they were free in heart and conscience! In that clearing in the wilderness a group of people met and sang songs of praise to the Lord of the harvest Who had not forgotten His own.

    The Song of Moses
    They must have remembered other children of God who had stepped forth boldly on God's promises and been led into a "promised land." Perhaps they read the song of Moses, which the Children of Israel sang when they came out of Egyptian bondage: "I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.... Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation" (Exodus:15:1-19). The Pilgrims could say Amen to that song, for surely the mercy of the Lord had led them forth, just as He had led the Children of Israel.

    Jerusalem's Walls Rebuilt
    Nehemiah had also been the leader of a group of God’s children when he took them from Babylonian captivity to rebuild Jerusalem. One day as he was performing his duties as a servant in the palace of a heathen king, he felt the call of God upon him to repair the Holy City that had lain waste for many years. He gathered a few followers around him, and, with the permission of the king, set to work to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. After much opposition and toil, the work was completed, and the people gathered for the dedication, "with gladness, both with thanks-givings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps." "Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off" (Nehemiah:12:27, 43).

    David's Gratitude
    In David's time, when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem after the Children of Israel had triumphed over the Philistines, there was great rejoicing among the people. David was the writer of many Psalms, and he wrote one on this occasion: "Give thanks unto the LORD call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.... Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.... For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised" (I Chronicles:16:8-36). Blessed is the people who give glory to God for His deliverance, who recognise the hand of God in their victories.

    The Happy Man
    All these people worked hard, fought battles and won them, denied themselves physical comforts to do the will of God; and they found joy in their sacrifices. What is it that makes people happy? It is not having all the money they want, nor the things that money can buy. Many poor people think if they had as much money as the rich they would surely be happy, but the Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. Where there is sin there is no happiness. "Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness" (Proverbs:14:13). Solomon had very great riches; he said at one time that whatever his eyes desired he took unto himself. He built great houses, planted beautiful gardens, made pools of water for his pleasure, gathered silver and gold about him. He had more than anyone in Jerusalem had ever had. But was he happy? This is what he said: "Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought,... and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun" (Ecclesiastes:2:11). All the works of our hands, all the things we possess will never make us happy.

    Then who is the happy man? "Happy is that people, whose God is the LORD" (Psalm:144:15). "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom" (Proverbs:3:13). That means godly wisdom: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm:111:10).

    When a man is happy he will naturally praise God; he cannot help but praise God; the praises will bubble up in his heart even when he is distressed or afflicted. Someone asked Haydn, the great composer, why his church music was always cheerful. He answered, "I cannot make it otherwise. I write according to the thoughts I feel: when I think upon God, my heart is so full of joy that the notes dance and leap, as it were, from my pen: and since God has given me a cheerful heart, it will be pardoned me that I serve Him with a cheerful spirit."

    That happiness which the love of God puts into our hearts makes our labours lighter; one will not get so tired at his work if he has a song in his heart. Nehemiah said, "The joy of the LORD is your strength" (Nehemiah:8:10). The joy in the heart will be reflected on the face; and when others see that smile they will smile, too. Oh, the joy that comes in full surrender to God! "For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands" (Isaiah:55:12). ( Refer to Lesson 31, Book 3. )

    Questions: 

    1. Why did the Pilgrims come to America?
    2. Were they the only people who suffered for God?
    3. What did the Pilgrims do after their crops were harvested?
    4. Who led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, besides Moses?
    5. When Nehemiah completed the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, who took part in the dedication?
    6. Who is the happy man?