“It is He that sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in” (Isa. 40:22).
The grasshopper can only see what’s in his immediate area. God has a 360°+ perspective. He’s at work around us always, even when we don’t recognize it. His perspective and way of doing things is so beyond the capacity of our own thinking (Isa. 40:21-31).
When God tested Abraham to offer up his only beloved son Isaac as a burnt offering, he did so as God directed. When Isaac asked about the lamb for the burnt offering, Abraham replied (in faith), “My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:8). Abraham called the name of that place “Jehovah-Jireh”, which in Hebrew means “Jehovah will provide” (Gen. 22:1-14). See also: Gen. 22:15-18, Heb. 11:17-19.
Later in the Scriptures, in the book of Exodus (which in Greek means ‘the way out’), we read of the Israelites’ time in bondage under Egyptian rule. Their lives were hard as they toiled rigorously building the Egyptian’s storehouses and serving them in all manners of the field (Ex. 1:11-14). God was at work even though the Israelites couldn’t see it at the time. The enemy of the Israelites was raising up and preparing the very man who God would use to set them free (Ex. 2:1-10, 3:1-22, 6:6-8, Heb. 11:23-27). Through His servant Moses, the plagues, the institution of the Passover, and the parting of the Red sea, God displayed His great purpose, power and provision (Ex. 6:6-8). The Israelites sang and praised God for what He had done (Ex. 15:1-21). But it was short-lived as they began murmuring against Moses and his brother. They complained how they were stuck in the wilderness wishing that God had let them die in Egypt where at least they didn’t thirst or hunger (Ex. 15:23-24, 16:1-3). But the Lord provided for them again with water and bread from heaven (manna) every morning and quail every evening (Ex. 15:25, 27, 16:4, 8, 13-15).
We, like the Israelites, have been delivered from an enemy and no longer have to live in bondage to sin and the fear of death (Col. 1:13-14, Eph. 1:7, 2:1-3, 8-9, Hebrews 2:14-15). Yet many of us today, like the Israelites, grumble about our present circumstances or what we lack instead of what God has so graciously provided. We are hesitant to move in faith with our focus upward where God has provided all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14, 19-21, Eph. 1:3, 13-14, Col. 3:1-3). Believers today have access to Living Water (John 4:14), the Bread of Life (John 6:32-33, 35), and a protective spiritual wardrobe (Eph. 6:11-17). Everything that’s needed is found in Christ Jesus (Col. 2:10, 2 Cor. 12:9). Our praise and thanksgiving to God should not depend on the success of our plans but on God’s nature, enduring love, and faithfulness.
Please Pass the ‘P’s. Though not a traditional Thanksgiving dish, you’ll want to keep this recipe handy.
(A Prescription of Praise from the apostle Paul’s Perspective in Philippians chapter 4):
· PRAISE God Perpetually (v. 4).
· PRAY with PRAISE to God instead of being PLAGUED with PROBLEMS and you’ll find a PROTECTIVE PEACE from Him in Christ Jesus (v. 6-7).
· PONDER PERSISTENTLY the POSITIVE things that are: true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (v. 8).
· Be PATIENT no matter your PROBLEMS and POSSESSIONS, for God has PROVIDED Christ to give you POWER to PRESS on (v. 11-13).
· God will PROVIDE all you need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (v. 19).
God is our Jehovah Jireh! PRAISE GOD for PROVIDING all you need to have PEACE in the midst of your life today and for His future PROMISE of a heavenly hope, PERPETUALLY with Him!
In 1647, William Bradford wrote in his famous historical work, Of Plymouth Plantation:
“…Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation; let the glorious name of Jehovah have all the praise.”
On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a formal proclamation, passed by an Act of Congress, initiating the first annual National Day of Thanksgiving:
“No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy…I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens…it is announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord…It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”