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Bible verses about Thanksgiving
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Deuteronomy 8:2-3

God must work with great wisdom to expose our weaknesses, our spiritual poverty, to us, which is what He is explaining here. It took Him forty years to expose the weaknesses of the children of Israel so that they would begin to cry out to Him to fill the vacuum in their lives. What God does He does to break pride's power over us and destroy our continual focus on ourselves, allowing us to compare ourselves with the true standard, Him. Pride's power gives us perverted judgment of what reality is, making us unable to give true praise and thanksgiving except in a general way. Pride's power makes us think that we did it ourselves.

John W. Ritenbaugh
New Covenant Priesthood (Part 3)


 

Psalm 14:1-3

The fool is a man who is dominated by his pride. The person of pride also has desires, even as we have desires, but his thoughts are not related to God. "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God." He cannot relate his thoughts to God, and so his needs are not related to God and His purpose.

"God is not in all of his thoughts," and thus there is no gratitude and thanksgiving. He thinks with all his being that he did everything himself, whereas someone like Paul says, "What do you have that you did not receive?" (I Corinthians 4:7). He challenges us to try to think of something that has not ultimately come from God.

Our pride does this. Pride forces a person to think only about himself, his world, and what is important to him. It is pride's power that largely blinds us to the reality of God's intimate involvement in our individual lives. We tend to see God as only generally involved, which inhibits us from more fully understanding much of what He has to reveal of Himself to us. It is this revelation that God wants to give to us that should lead to thanksgiving.

John W. Ritenbaugh
New Covenant Priesthood (Part 3)


 

Psalm 23:6

This psalm began with the sheep, as it were, bragging across the fence to his neighbor. Through the course of the psalm, we went through the cycle of a year, and in this last verse, we find ourselves back again at the home ranch. The sheep is speaking about his shepherd's house, which is not up on the high tableland but down where the home ranch is.

The psalm began with a buoyant, "The LORD is my shepherd!" and it closes with an equally buoyant, positive note. The sheep is utterly satisfied. He is saying, "Boy, I love it here! Nothing will get me out of this outfit! You see, I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

We have come full circle with the sheep giving a statement of composure and contentment. In Ephesians 2:19, the house is defined as the family of God, of which Jesus is the Head.

Do our neighbors see us as being contented, happy, at peace? Do they see the effects of our intimate relationships with God in our lives? Are we good witnesses for His way? That is the question we are to ask ourselves as the psalm ends.

The sheep proclaims, "I will dwell in the presence of the LORD forever," concluding this poem of praise and thanksgiving of the sheep for his shepherd. The sheep had experienced life in the shepherd's care, and he wanted more of it! That thought should be a guiding beacon for us the remainder of our lives, as long as they might be—that it is our fervent desire to dwell in the presence of the Lord always.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Psalm 23 (Part 3)


 

Psalm 92:1

We should give thanks to Him, first, because it is good for us to do. It is good for God too. Although He does not need our thanks, He is glad when His children offer them. It is certainly beneficial for us. In contrast to the dangers of ingratitude, the benefits of a thankful attitude include:

» Guarding against ungodly attitudes and works.

» Subduing what one commentator calls "man's potentially animal-like nature."

» Teaching God's "way of give," as we give thanks.

» Promoting good spiritual, mental, moral and physical health.

In addition, it is common sense to thank God when He has answered our prayers. After all, we undoubtedly will need help again!

Staff
Thanksgiving


 

Psalm 92:11

The psalmist encourages us to thank God for His justice upon His and our enemies. Is it right that we should be thankful for God's judgment and punishment upon them? We certainly should not gloat over their fate (Proverbs 24:17-18). However, we would be wise to remember the just punishments of Nadab and Abihu, of Eli's sons, of Uzzah, and of Ananias and Sapphira. We must beware of thinking of God as harsh or rash in His judgments. God's enemies are our enemies too, and His punishment of them is for our good (and ultimately theirs).

Staff
Thanksgiving


 

Psalm 107:21-22

Thankfulness is offered as a spiritual sacrifice. It is given in combination with other spiritual sacrifices. As a spiritual sacrifice, thanksgiving can be offered in the form of a prayer and/or praise. Prayer, praise, and thanksgiving are almost inseparable, and they are most often offered together. Thankfulness is a peace offering (Leviticus 7:11-13). It produces peace (I Timothy 2:1-2).

Martin G. Collins
Thankfulness


 

Ecclesiastes 9:10

Solomon is teaching us that now is the time to work with care, energy, and purpose to get the most and the best from life and to prepare for the hereafter. His basic reason is that the clock is ticking. Time is running out.

We let our requests for what we think we need from God be made known to Him with ease. In other words, they are at the forefront of our minds, and it is very likely that before we actually get down on our knees—or however or wherever we pray—we have been thinking about what we are going to request of God for a long time. We have many reasons to give to God why we want or need what we are asking Him for.

Thanksgiving in prayer requires prior preparation too. It is not something most of us tend to work at with all of our might. This is because of the human proclivity to merely accept things—especially things that we might consider as blessings—as due us. In other words, in some cases we go to God with the thought that we deserve it. This attitude is there, and this is what makes so many of our prayers nothing more than "the gimmes." Other vital elements that are needed to make an effective prayer before God are often overlooked, forgotten, and neglected, and sometimes never used, or maybe they are just brushed over in the rush to get to whatever we want to ask Him for. Nevertheless, true thanksgiving—an expression of sincere gratitude for what we have been given undeserved—needs to be a part of every prayer.

John W. Ritenbaugh
New Covenant Priesthood (Part 3)


 

Matthew 14:19

Jesus gives public thanks to God for the food, revealing the importance of acknowledging who provides everything and from whom blessing comes. Thanksgiving is the primary ingredient in receiving blessings from God.

People who neglect a close relationship with God forget to appreciate and thank Him for His daily, continual miracles. Paul writes, "Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened" (Romans 1:21). Yet, he commands the saints, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (I Thessalonians 5:18).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Feeding the Five Thousand (Part One)


 

Acts 16:20-25

Unlike the Jews, the Romans were not limited to 39 stripes, so the beating Paul and Silas took was severe. The stocks they had to endure afterward were two large pieces of wood pierced with holes at different distances, designed to restrain the feet and produce pain.

Confined to the pitch-dark bowels of the prison, Paul and Silas now lie on a filthy floor on their bloody, shredded backs, their legs painfully distended. One might think they would have every right to complain about how unfairly the Philippians had treated them—or at least to spend all their time beseeching God to relieve them of their pain. Notice verse 25, however: "But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them"!

Not only were they singing praises of thanksgiving to God, but they were also doing it loud enough for the other prisoners to hear them! Just as James says in James 5:13: "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms." They were praying for their affliction, but they were also singing songs of praise to God from hearts filled with thanksgiving!

Are we willing to do this, or will we just thank God when we think He deserves it? We need to make it a sincere habit to thank God fervently every day for all His benefits, glorifying His holy will and purpose for us. He is never undeserving of our praise and thanks—indeed, we cannot thank Him enough.

Mark Schindler
Ingratitude


 

Romans 1:18-21

Paul is describing the perversity of human nature. That a Creator God exists is evident. Every normally intelligent person, converted or unconverted, has enough capacity to be aware of God. The natural outgrowth of this knowledge should be to glorify Him through praise and thanksgiving. The perversity appears when mankind largely ignores or resists what should be a natural inclination.

However, not everyone suppresses this tendency. Those who follow the natural inclination to praise and thank the Creator and Provider usually give their thanks to something that is not really God, but an idol. Thus, while sincere, the inclination is wrongly applied, frequently resulting in a harvest festival, as history shows.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Thanksgiving or Self-Indulgence?


 

1 Corinthians 15:17

We should be thankful to the God the Father first, then God the Son, giving thanks in the name of Jesus Christ. All thanksgiving should be expressed through Christ.

Martin G. Collins
Thankfulness


 

Philippians 4:6

Our prayers should reflect our gratitude toward God for what He has done in our lives and what He gives to us. Our everyday words and thoughts should reflect a positive mindset of hope and joy in thankfulness towards God our Father for His great plan of salvation and our parts in it.

Thankfulness is a form of contentment, or we could view it as peace of mind or tranquility. A truly thankful person is usually not an individual who worries a lot. Being thankful puts our thoughts on God, rather than on our problems. In Colossians 3:15, Paul writes encouragingly, "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts to which also you were called in one body and be thankful." The more we allow God's peace to be in control, the more settled and more thankful we will become. On the flip side, the more thankful we are, the more God's peace will rule our hearts and minds.

In our society, many problems like discouragement, depression, anger, and other mental and emotional troubles are treated with chemicals and drugs. These medicines are designed to offer some form of relief. Some work and some do not. Many have side effects that, in some cases, are worse than the original problem. Some are addictive. For us, though, thankfulness and praising God are effective and beneficial antidotes for discouragement, depression, and anger.

Supplication with thanksgiving will enliven our prayer life. It will lift us up and give us a more positive perspective. A thankful attitude will help to erase any doubts we may have as we pray, and it will also decrease uncertainty in our lives in general because we know where our help comes from (see Psalm 121:1-8). Proper thankfulness will help us increase our faith in God because we will constantly be relating to and reflecting on Him.

God is always deserving of our praise or thanks—indeed, we cannot thank Him enough. How does our heavenly Father feel when we express only a qualified "thank you" occasionally or not at all? How does He feel, knowing that He has done what is the absolute and perfect best for us, and we just shrug it off? How do we feel when this type of unthankful behavior happens to us? Our thanksgiving to God should be so effusive that He will never feel that way!

Ingratitude, whether passive or active, is a tool that Satan can use to turn us away from God and His Family. By succumbing to thanklessness, we can allow him to plant us as tares within the church and spread our ingratitude to others. A steady outflow of gratitude to God will knock this weapon from the Devil's hand.

Such a constant attitude of thankfulness and earnest thanksgiving, no matter the circumstances, is a gift from God to us. Gratitude spreads a healing balm among those with whom we fellowship, and it will help to speed us along the path to God's Kingdom.

Staff
Daily Thanksgiving


 

1 Thessalonians 2:13

The principle of thanking God without ceasing means often and for everything. Anytime is appropriate. Nevertheless, the principle of balance holds true as well. Thanksgiving would be just vain repetition if we thoughtlessly repeated our thankfulness all day. Conversely, ingratitude is a deadly but common sin. Human beings tend to neglect giving God proper gratitude more than being excessively thankful (Romans 1:20-21).

Martin G. Collins
Thankfulness


 

1 Thessalonians 5:18

It is God's will for us to be thankful because He knows that it is good for us to have an attitude of thankfulness towards Him. When we have a thankful attitude and an attitude of appreciation for Him and what He does for us, it does not leave much room for ingratitude in our lives.

In reading Psalm 8:3-6, we can see ourselves in perspective to God's creation:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man, that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet. . . .

God has given us—humanity—dominion over the things that He has created. And beyond that, out of all humanity, we have been given a tremendous responsibility to develop righteous character and have the potential of living eternally in His Kingdom. This thought alone should help us to be thankful each day.

Staff
Daily Thanksgiving


 

1 Timothy 6:6-8

When we are thankful, it means that we have been impressed with a sense of kindness that has been expressed toward us, and we desire to acknowledge it. Essentially, it indicates that we are grateful. Thankfulness is the actual expression of our gratitude and acknowledgement of the kindness done to us. Thankfulness is also a state of mind, an attitude. It is a content and positive perspective, which does not focus on what one does not have, but rather values what one does have, no matter how basic.

Paul continues this thought in the following verses, explaining that greediness creates a great many problems, ultimately bringing upon us discontent and unhappiness. This is just the opposite of the thankfulness that real contentment generates.

Reading these verses on greed and considering the greedy state of man's mind, a popular bumper sticker from several years ago comes to mind: "He who dies with the most things . . . wins." Of course, it did not take long for those whose thinking ran counter to this to reply with their own that read, "He who dies with the most things . . . is dead." This is true; the pursuit of material gain to the exclusion of all else ends in death.

Being thankful is part of being content. Unfortunately, many people feel that being content means that they have to give up on their dreams and goals. It does not. Like thankfulness, contentment is a state of mind. God wants us to be content with and thankful for what we have been given. That does not mean that we cannot want better and work to make our situations better, but it does mean that we should not approach our proper desire for more with a greedy, covetous attitude.

Nor can we compare what others have and what we may not have from an attitude that we deserve the same or even better. Maybe we do deserve it, but right now God has chosen not to give it to us, and we must be content with that and thankful for what we have been given.

How thankful and content we are can be seen in the illustration of water in a glass. Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Our answer depends on and reveals our state of mind.

Staff
Daily Thanksgiving


 

2 Timothy 3:2

"Thanksgiving" means virtually the same thing in Hebrew, Greek, and English: a heartfelt and cheerful acknowledgment of favors bestowed on us by others. This is especially interesting because it involves consciously thinking about a circumstance that makes one feel a sense of obligation. The English "thank" comes from the same root as "think." Its Indo-European root is tong, whose basic meaning is "to know or form in the mind, regard or consider; to determine by reflecting." Thanking involves thinking. Spiritually, it is consciously looking for the good with God in view.

Some say that ingratitude is the most common of sins. II Timothy 3:2 shows that it is a hallmark of the end-time generations not to consider, or reflect deeply upon God's part in our peace, prosperity, and liberties. This is a practice that we must develop by exercising it on a daily basis.

The Greek word translated unthankful, means "to refuse to recognize debts; to feel one has the right to services and be without obligation." The American attitude is not disregard of God, but rather failing to remember the good He has done. We have become indifferent in relating blessings to God, and He calls upon us to reverse this in our lives. This right worship of Him requires a true knowledge of Him, keeping His commandments and steady communication with Him in prayer and study so we really come to know Him. Then we can be truly thankful on a daily basis.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Thanksgiving or Self-Indulgence?


 

Hebrews 13:15

Praising God is a spiritual sacrifice. Sincerely offering praise to God is an acceptable sacrifice that pleases Him. Praise is a form of spiritual worship that helps us stay focused on God.

It was the continual responsibility of the Levitical priesthood "to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at evening" (I Chronicles 23:30). Also, David organized the Levites in "their duties (to praise and serve before the priests) as the duty of each day required" (II Chronicles 8:14). Whole families of the tribe of Levi were set apart to praise God in the Temple through vocal and instrumental music (I Chronicles 25).

King David set us an example. He praised God seven times each day (Psalm 119:164). The principle here is that we should be praising God continually or be prepared to do so at any time, not a specific number of times a day. Oftentimes, if we do something by rote, its meaning and sincerity suffer greatly.

Martin G. Collins
The Sacrifice of Praise


 

Hebrews 13:15

The Bible links thanks and praise so closely that they almost seem to be the same thing. They are not, but they are closely related. The reason they often appear together is that praise grows out of thanksgiving. The process goes from being grateful to God to extolling, lauding, commending, and acclaiming Him for His works, purpose, and nature.

Notice that Paul describes them as a sacrifice, giving up some cherished thing for the sake of another. We must give up time, energy, and effort to think about, thank, and praise God for the good He has done. We could have used this time, energy, and effort on ourselves or taken it for granted as owed to us as our right or privilege. Perhaps this magnifies what is wrong with Thanksgiving in America. Though not pagan, Americans still do not keep it in honor of God, as their conduct shows. It is thus a hollow shell of what it could be and should be to us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Thanksgiving or Self-Indulgence?


 

Find more Bible verses about Thanksgiving:
Thanksgiving {Nave's}
Thanksgiving {Torrey's}
 




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