The Israelites had a serious lack of something essential. They lacked thanksgiving.
It’s something that becomes very obvious as you read about them groaning about this or that over and over again, and it can be easy to get a bit judgmental of them until I realize just how much I do the same thing.
“We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” Numbers 11:5-6
Even Aaron and Miriam, Moses’s own siblings, become jealous and dissatisfied with their place, wanting more authority and honor.
“They said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he spoken through us too?” But the Lord heard them. Numbers 12:2
Aaron was chosen as high priest, even though he himself had led Israel into sin at times, and yet he wanted more?
And when it came to the beautiful promised land that God had provided them, instead of seeing the abundance of the land, all the people could see was the size of the current occupants.
This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country- a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! Numbers 13:27-28
What was the problem of these people? A God who could divide a sea and take out the army of the greatest country of the time in one blast could certainly lead them to victory in this land of giants.
He provides their every need, yet they question, groan, and are constantly dissatisfied.
What is their problem?
What is ours? Every day He provides for our needs in a thousand different ways, and yet most days we can’t even see it, much less be thankful for it.
How do we remain, as individuals, thankful to God, as way we ought to be? Lets be honest here, we can spend quite a lot of time questioning and groaning and being dissatisfied.
There are many offerings that the Israelites are instructed to give to the Lord, but one that I find fascinating is the Thank Offering
When you sacrifice a thank offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. Leviticus 22:29
Did you know that thanksgiving is something we can choose to offer God? But even more than that, it is something we need to offer Him!
Because as we offer Him our thanksgiving, we not only learn to be grateful, we stop seeing those things that made us dissatisfied to begin with.
Think about it, if the Israelites had been thanking God for their miracle bread, they wouldn’t have been thinking about eating meat in Egypt, they would have been to busy being amazed by the fact that they had MIRACLE BREAD!
If Aaron had been busy being thankful that God still chose him as priest even after all he’d done wrong, he would have never started to whine about wanting the recognition Moses had.
If the whole of the people were busy being thankful that God was giving them a land full of good things, they would have been able to recognize that the sons of Anak being so huge didn’t matter, because even though these giants were bigger than the Israelites, they had a God who was bigger still.
When we are busy looking at our problems, we forget that He is far bigger than any problem we have.
When we are busy looking at what we want, we forget about all He has provided.
Thanksgiving is essential to our lives!
Today I pray that we can all learn to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God every day of our lives. He has given us so much, overflowing and abundant. Just open your eyes, you will see!
Joy Aletheia Stevens
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