The Thanksgiving Mandate (Part 3)

1 Chronicles 16:7-13: Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the Lord into the hand of Asaph and his brethren. 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. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

Daniel Whyte III

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Today, I want to conclude our short series on the biblical command of thanksgiving which is found in David's psalm in I Chronicles 16. So far, we have seen six aspects of this command to be thankful. 

1. God wants us to be thankful for His blessings. 

2. While we are remembering and being thankful for what God has done for us, God wants us to remain in communication with Him.

3. God wants us to tell others about His goodness. 

4. God wants us to sing praises to Him.

5. God wants us to speak regularly about what He has done. 

6. God wants us to shine forth His glory in our everyday lives because of our gratitude for what He has done. 

Today, I want us to move on to verses 11 and 12 of this passage and see the final three aspects of this "thanksgiving mandate" that are given in this passage of Scripture.

1. First, God wants us to get to know Him better. Verse 11 says, "Seek the Lord and his strength..." What does it mean to 'seek the Lord'. The Hebrew word for "seek" means 'to search for, to enquire about, or to consult with'. 

God does not just want us to take His blessings without getting to know Him. As a parent, you would not want your child to take the candy and the presents that you bring home for him or her and not ever spend time with you, talk to you, and ask questions of you. You want to get to know that child and you want that child to get to know you. It is the same way with God. 

Unfortunately, many Christians treat God like they treat the grocery store. They only go to Him when they want something for themselves. 

Part of showing our gratitude for God is our desire to get to know Him, to spend time in His Word, and to communicate with Him through prayer. J.I. Packer said that we can gain knowledge about God by "turning each truth that we learn about God into a matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God." Our gratitude should not lead us to take blessings from God's hands and run away to enjoy them, but to linger long near the Eternal Source of the blessings and learn more about Him.

2. Second, God wants us to desire for His presence to be in our lives. Verse 11 goes on to say that we should "seek his face continually." The Hebrew word used for this second 'seek' is different from the word used for the first 'seek' in verse 11. This seeking of the face of the Lord means to desire to be in His presence all of the time -- not just to gain knowledge about Him. The Bible tells us of many examples of people who sought the Lord and desired to be in His presence.

- 2 Chronicles 17:4 tells us that King Jehosaphat "sought the God of his father" David.

- 2 Chronicles 26:5 tells us that King Uzziah "continued to seek God" and that "as long as he sought the LORD, God prospered him."

- 2 Chronicles 31:21 tells us that King Hezekiah sought his God "in every work which he began."

- In Psalm 34:4, King David says that he "sought the Lord" and the Lord answered him and delivered him from all his fears.

- In Daniel 9:3-4, the Prophet Daniel says he "gave his attention to the Lord God to seek him by prayer and supplication."

- And in Matthew 2:1-2, we read of the wise men who came seeking Jesus Christ at His birth.

The Bible also tells us of people who did not want to be in God's presence. For example in Genesis 3:8, we read of Adam and Eve who "hid themselves from the presence of the Lord". And in the next chapter, we read of Cain, who in his defiance against God "went out from the presence of the Lord." This shows us that we will not want God's presence to be in our lives if we are harboring unconfessed sin.

One way of showing our gratitude towards God is to desire His presence in our lives. For the children of Israel, God manifested his presence with them by appearing as a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire within their camp. As Christians, God manifests himself in us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and we should want to do whatever it takes to keep God's presence in our lives.

3. Third, God wants us to remember everything that He has done. Verse 12 of our passage says, "Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth." God does not want us to be a forgetful people -- especially when it comes to what He has done for us. Someone once said, "Thanksgiving is possible only for those who take time to remember; no one can give thanks who has a short memory." 

In the Old Testament, God commanded the children of Israel to hold feasts and celebrations every year because He wanted them to be reminded of what He had done for them in the past. He wanted them to talk to their children and their grandchildren about what He had done. And He wanted their hearts to be filled with praise and thanksgiving for all of His works. Psalm 107:8 says, "Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!" You cannot thank and praise God for His blessings unless you remember them.

Another saying that comes to mind here is: "A thankful heart enjoys blessings twice -- when they're received, and when they're remembered." My friend, your remembrance of God's blessings will serve you well when you are going through difficult times. Too often, when hard times come, we forget all of the blessings that God has bestowed on us in the past. In reality, during the difficult times, we should look back and remember the times of blessing and abundance.

In closing, dear friend, I hope that you will get to know God better -- not just because of his blessings, but because you really want to know Him for yourself and because you want his continual presence to be in your life. And I hope that this short series has helped you to see the importance of having a thankful and grateful heart for all of the blessings that God has bestowed upon you.

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If you are listening today, and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, allow me to show you how you can get to know Him today. 
Please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God's laws. However, in spite of your sins God still loves you and He does not want you to be separated from Him forever. Romans 5:8 tells us that "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Because Jesus Christ died for your sins, all you have to do is believe in Him and receive His free gift of salvation. If you do so, you will not have to suffer eternal punishment in hell, but you will live eternally in Heaven with God. 
If you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your new found faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read "What To Do After You Enter Through the Door". Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
God loves you! We love you! God bless you! And I want to encourage you to make every day a day of thanksgiving.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of sixteen books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel's Report and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor's degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master's degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3.

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