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November 23, 2016, 1:53 PM

Attitude of Gratitude


In looking up information on Thanksgiving, I found this article in the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible.  It was exactly what I was looking for and exactly what I needed to read.  I thought that I would share it with you here. 

Gratitude:

Natural expression of thanks in response to blessings, protection, or love. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, gratitude is not a tool used to manipulate the will of God. It is never coerced or fabricated in one’s mind; rather, gratitude is a joyful commitment of one’s personality to God.

In the OT, gratitude to God was the only condition in which life could be enjoyed. For Jews, every aspect of creation provided evidence of God’s lordship over all life. The Hebrew people thanked him for the magnificence of the universe. When they received good news they thanked God for his goodness and great deeds. When they received bad news, they also gave thanks, trusting that he was a just God.

These same sentiments are found in later Jewish writings such as the Talmud. The people of Israel thanked God for his faithfulness to covenant promises: (1) for deliverance from enemies (Ps 18:17; 30:1; 44:1–8) and from death (Ps 30:8–12; Is 38:18–20; (2) for forgiveness of sin (Ps 32:5; 99:8; 103:3; Is 12:1); (3) for answers to prayer (Ps 28:6; 66:19); (4) for compassion toward the afflicted and oppressed (34:2; 72:12); (5) for executing justice (Dt 32:4; Ps 99:4); (6) and for continuing guidance (Ps 32:8; Is 30:20, 21).

Gratitude was such a vital part of Israel’s religion that it pervaded most ceremonies and customs. Thank offerings acknowledged blessings from God. Shouts of joy, songs of praise, and music and dance all added to the spirit of thanksgiving in worship. Feasts and festivals were celebrated in remembrance of God’s steadfast love throughout their history. King David appointed levitical priests to offer God thanks. This custom was carried on by the kings Solomon and Hezekiah, and by those who returned from the exile.

Thankfulness is a key to scriptural living, but is it a key part of our daily life?


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