Where should our focus be during Thanksgiving?
[Darris McNeely] It’s one of my favorite times of year – the American Thanksgiving. The fourth Thursday of every year in November is the American Thanksgiving, when people travel by planes, trains, automobiles, and gather with family and friends for food, football, and hopefully to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving 2016 is a very interesting year as we find ourselves at the end of a very long and protracted and divisive election season. We have a new president-elect and the reminder that America has much to be thankful for, but also America has many, many divisions. In an earlier Beyond Today Daily we talked a little bit about that, and I pointed you and all of our viewers to prayer for the new president, for the nation, and I come back to that as we think about Thanksgiving 2016, where we are, what needs to be done.
I pulled out the Thanksgiving proclamation made in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. Every president every year makes a Thanksgiving proclamation, from the time of George Washington. But the one that was given by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 in the midst of the American Civil War brought out a very interesting point that I think helps us to be pointed back to the Bible and to Bible prophecy and the historic and prophetic role that the United States and all English-speaking peoples have in our modern world.
As Lincoln talked about the times in which they lived and the position America found itself in, he said, “No human council has devised, nor has any mortal hand worked out these great things,” speaking of America’s abundance and national greatness. “They are,” he said, “the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins” – the sins he was specifically talking about then was the sin of slavery, which was part of what embroiled the states in the Civil War. He said, “God nevertheless has remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.” Words true then, words true now – that we should acknowledge God’s gracious, benevolent hand upon America and upon many other nations in this world at a particularly acute moment in world history and American history.
There’s a scripture in 2 Chronicles chapter 7 that has been on my mind of late, where Solomon gave a prayer at the dedication of the temple that God allowed him to build in Jerusalem. And as an answer to that prayer, asking God’s grace and benevolence upon Israel, God appeared to Solomon and He said that when problems would arise, and difficulties and challenges for the nation – much like what we see right now with America being divided economically, politically, culturally, and having deep, deep problems right now – He said if people will acknowledge who He is, He said to Solomon something unique. In verse 14, 2 Chronicles chapter 6 – 7 – he said, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” If. The big question mark. “If My people will humble and pray and acknowledge their sins, I will hear.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 2 Chronicles 7:14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
American King James Version×)
Will that happen? Well, we could talk about the likelihood of that for a long, long period of time. But I know this, that if you pray, if I pray, then at least we can orient ourselves in an aspect of humility toward God that allows us to be thankful, and there are many things for us to be praying for at this time. Certainly be praying that God would grant the ability for the gospel to be freely preached, that religious freedom is guaranteed in this land, to be preserved and protected. And pray that there would be a repentance. And pray that God will call those and maybe even you to understand His great purpose and plan for mankind.
And so above all on this Thanksgiving 2016, be thankful. Think about humility and pray to God and humble ourselves in a unique period of time to acknowledge God and all of His blessings. We wish you all a happy Thanksgiving here from Beyond Today.
That’s BT Daily. Join us next time.