Giving thanks is more than bowing our heads and praying a little prayer over our daily food. It is also more than just a once-a-year event celebrated with friends, relatives, turkey, and pumpkin pie. It is an attitude of heart and life, that leaves us in humble gratitude before God and men. Let’s use Noah’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to focus on this principle.
Read: Genesis 8:20-22
I. The Place of Thanksgiving.
- The Bible says, “And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord” (Gen. 8:20).
- Overwhelmed with gratitude for the Lord’s protection during the flood, and deliverance out of it, he constructed something with which he could praise God.
- The place that thanksgiving had in his life is most enlightening.
- Although the flood was behind him, Noah didn’t turn his back on God.
- Rather, he continued to put first things first, and the first thing he did was build an altar to honor the Lord.
- To say the least, his procedure of worship reflects the priority that should be given to this matter of thanksgiving.
A. Thanksgiving Should Have First Place In Our Attitude
“FOR AS HE THINKETH IN HIS HEART, SO IS HE: EAT AND DRINK, SAITH HE TO THEE; BUT HIS HEART IS NOT WITH THEE.” (PROV 23:7)
1. Our actions are governed by our attitudes.
2. In other words, what we are determines what we do.
3. We must be right on the inside before we can behave correctly on the outside.
4. For thanksgiving, then, to work its way into our daily living, it must begin in our hearts.
5. Jesus taught this same principle during His earthly ministry.
“A GOOD MAN OUT OF THE GOOD TREASURE OF HIS HEART BRINGETH FORTH THAT WHICH IS GOOD; AND AN EVIL MAN OUT OF THE EVIL TREASURE OF HIS HEART BRINGETH FORTH THAT WHICH IS EVIL: FOR OF THE ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART HIS MOUTH SPEAKETH.” (LUKE 6:45)
a. What’s on the inside is what is going to come out!
b. To be thankful, then, involves self- discipline.
c. We must heed the admonition of Solomon.
“KEEP THY HEART WITH ALL DILIGENCE; FOR OUT OF IT ARE THE ISSUES OF LIFE.” (PROV 4:23)
6. There is nothing easy about cultivating an appreciative attitude.
a. It is something that we have to work on constantly in our inward man.
b. But, as we humble ourselves, and cooperate with His Spirit, the “sweet aroma” of a grateful spirit will begin to issue out of our lives.
B. Thanksgiving Should Have First Place In Our Actions.
If we are thankful in our hearts, we will be thankful in our daily living. “Thanksgiving is thanks-living!” That is, a thankful spirit is translated into our actions.
1. First, our daily lives should display our gratitude to God.
“EVERY GOOD GIFT AND EVERY PERFECT GIFT IS FROM ABOVE, AND COMETH DOWN FROM THE FATHER OF LIGHTS, WITH WHOM IS NO VARIABLENESS, NEITHER SHADOW OF TURNING.” (JAMES 1:17)
2. We should be determined, then, by the grace of God, to always show our appreciation for His blessings.
3. Our daily lives should demonstrate our appreciation to those around us.
a. Thanksgiving is not just a vertical principle.
b. It has its horizontal relationships, as well.
c. When we are sincerely thankful to God for His blessings, we cannot help but be grateful for the kind deeds of others.
d. Let’s not forget to express a “thank you,” to others.
C. Thanksgiving Should Have First Place In Our Approach to God.
1. When we think of approaching God, we usually think of prayer.
2. But, the Bible instructs us to come before God, not only with “prayer and supplication,” but also “with thanksgiving” (Phil. 4:6).
3. Prayer and thanksgiving are seldom seen one without the other in the Scriptures.
“ENTER INTO HIS GATES WITH THANKSGIVING, AND INTO HIS COURTS WITH PRAISE: BE THANKFUL UNTO HIM, AND BLESS HIS NAME.” (PSA 100:4)
4. What Noah did certainly agrees with the law of approach, then, doesn’t it?
5. His ” prayers” and “giving of thanks” came first.
6. He was quick to give God the glory for what He had done!
7. We need to learn to follow this pattern of worship.
“LET US COME BEFORE HIS PRESENCE WITH THANKSGIVING, AND MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE UNTO HIM WITH PSALMS.” (PSA 95:2)
II. The Purpose of Thanksgiving is to Glorify God.
Note: Ps. 148:2-5
“AND EVERY CREATURE WHICH IS IN HEAVEN, AND ON THE EARTH, AND UNDER THE EARTH, AND SUCH AS ARE IN THE SEA, AND ALL THAT ARE IN THEM, HEARD I SAYING, BLESSING, AND HONOUR, AND GLORY, AND POWER, BE UNTO HIM THAT SITTETH UPON THE THRONE, AND UNTO THE LAMB FOR EVER AND EVER.” (REV 5:13)
“AND THAT EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER.” (PHIL 2:11)
A. The Direction Of Thanksgiving
1. The thankful life is one that moves us toward God!
2. Giving thanks is cooperating with the divine purpose, or simply doing what we were created to do – – glorify God!
3. That’s what we see here in this post- flood scene.
4. Noah built an altar “unto the Lord” (8:20).
“NOW WHEN DANIEL KNEW THAT THE WRITING WAS SIGNED, HE WENT INTO HIS HOUSE; AND HIS WINDOWS BEING OPEN IN HIS CHAMBER TOWARD JERUSALEM, HE KNEELED UPON HIS KNEES THREE TIMES A DAY, AND PRAYED, AND GAVE THANKS BEFORE HIS GOD, AS HE DID AFORETIME.” (DAN 6:10)
B. The Distinction Of Thanksgiving
1. We are not told that Noah gave thanks, but he did give unto the Lord.
2. The special feature of thanksgiving is that it has “giving” in it.
3. Actually, the “thanks” is rather insignificant without the “giving.”
4. Thanksgiving is simply giving something for something given.
a. It is giving something back for something received.
b. It is giving honor to the One Who has honored us!
c. It is blessing Him Who has blessed us!
d. It is a reciprocal offering!
5. Noah had much to be thankful for, but what about us?
C. The Delight Of Thanksgiving.
1. When Noah gave his offerings unto the Lord, the Bible says that “the Lord smelled a sweet savour”.
2. This means “to perceive with delight; or to accept.”
3. He was greatly pleased with the aroma of the Noah’s sacrifices.
4. Thanksgiving is one of the few things that is said to please God.
a. He is pleased with the preaching of the Gospel. cf 1Co. 1:21
b. He is pleased with Jesus Christ. cf Col. 1:19
c. He is pleased with faith. cf Heb. 11:5-6
d. But when we offer up “the sacrifice of praise…God is well pleased” cf Heb. 13:15-16
5. The Lord delights in, takes pleasure in, our offerings of thanksgiving.
a. Have we been pleasing the Lord?
b. Is He well-pleased with us?
c. He is if we are thankful!