A Heart of Thanksgiving
by Michael Chu 10/07/2006 / Christian Living
Whenever we think of Noah’s ark we will readily recall God’s rainbow in the cloud -- a sign of the covenant between Him and Noah, and every living creatures that never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth. But, how many of us can recall distinctively that after coming out of the ark Noah built an altar and offered burnt offerings to the Lord (Genesis 8:21)? Truth be told, the Lord was so pleased with Noah’s thanksgiving that He initiated the aforesaid covenant, and blessed Noah and his lineage.
When Abram was seventy-five years old he obeyed God’s call to leave Haran and go to a land that God said He will show to him. At Shechem in the land of Canaan, the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give you this land.” And there Abram built an altar to the Lord. (Genesis 12:8) Abram journeyed on and pitched his tent at Bethel (House of God). There he built an altar and called upon the name of the Lord.
Isaac obeyed the Lord to dwell in the land of Gerar notwithstanding that there was a famine. There Isaac began to prosper and became so prosperous that the native Philistines envied him. At Beersheba, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for My servant Abraham’s sake.” There Isaac built an altar to the Lord and pitched his tent. (Genesis 26:25)
After God delivered him from the hand of Esau, Jacob came to Shechem where he bought a parcel of land, pitched his tent and built an altar there. (Genesis 33:20) The God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” There Jacob built an altar to God, “who answered me in my day of distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone.” (Genesis 35:1,3)
In Rephidim Moses held up the rod of God, assisted by Aaron and Hur, and brought victory to Joshua and the Israelites over Amalek and his people. And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner; because God said He will destroy the Amalekites.(Exodus 17:16)
Will we remember to thank God (build an altar to Him) for His blessing or His answering our supplications, prayers and intercesssions? Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 5:17: “in every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:14, 28)
We give thanks to God for what He has done for us. Well and good. Would we not then move on to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving (building altars continually along our sojourning on this earth as the patriarchs did)? “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
This would mean, amongst other things, that we are to:
* Be without covetousness, and be content with such things as we have. Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”(Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:19)
* Follow the good conduct of our leaders by crucifying our flesh and bearing our own cross without murmuring or grumbling. “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me? My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”(Hebrews 13:6b; Psalms 73:26)
* Guard against diver and strange doctrines, knowing Whom we have believeth and that our faith is not in vain. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Nor is there salvation in any other name, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Hebrews 13:8; Acts 4:12)
However, let’s also remember: “Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)
(All Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Copyright 1983 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.)