1 Deuteronomy 8:1-10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thanks Be to God!


●   Introduction

 ■   A scene on the Arabah (east of the Jordan River)

  ○   [Explanation: Beni = my son; Immeken = your (singular) mother]

  ○   Abba, Abba, I can see the mountain in the land of promise!

  ○   Yes, Beni, we are very near.

  ○   Abba, Abba, are we going into the land now?

  ○   Beni, Beni, you will have to wait for what Moshe has to say

  ○   Abba, Abba, look! My shirt is too small; will I get a new one before we go into the land. I should have a new one!

  ○   Beni, that shirt is like new. It isn’t worn at all. Perhaps you can have one of my shirts from when I was your age; it’s like new, too. Go and ask Immeken.                                                                                              (Pause)

  ○   Abba, Abba!

  ○   Yes, Beni.

  ○   Abba, Abba, I need new shoes, too!

  ○   Why, Beni? … those aren’t even scuffed up?

  ○   Abba! ... they’re too small too!

  ○   Alright, Beni; we’ll save them and the shirt for your young brother; ask Immeken for new shoes and shirt and give her the old ones to keep.                                                                                                                    (Pause)

  ○   Abba, Abba!

  ○   Yes, Beni; what now?

  ○   Abba, I have an idea!

  ○   What is it, Beni!

  ○   Well, Abba, there is lot’s of manna this morning and tomorrow we will be in a hurry to go to the assembly that Moshe has called; let’s gather enough manna for tomorrow as well!

  ○   Oh Beni! Beni! ... we cannot do that!

  ○   Why? Abba, why?

  ○   Because Beni, because … if we do that it will all go rotten.

  ○   But Abba! ... we do that at the end of every week before Shabbat; we gather two days manna then; why not now!

  ○   Well, Beni, Shabbat is a day Yahweh has set apart for rest, and so we are not to work gathering food that day; but the six days of the week we are to work; that includes gathering food. Now go play with your brother.       (Pause)

  ○   Abba, Abba!

  ○   Yes, Beni! ... are you back again?

  ○   Abba, can I go to the assembly tomorrow?

  ○   Yes, Beni …

 ■   In Deuteronomy 1:3 we read these words: “And it came about in the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that the Lord had commanded him to give to them” (NAS), which introduces today’s Scripture reading:

●   Scripture Reading

 ■   in this passage let us note the following

  ○   1. It was God’s purpose to bless the people of Israel, and that they in turn should bless, or thank, Him

  ○   2. Moses recounts their hardships & gives the reason

  ○   3. This people, Israel, like us today, needed reminders

   •   a. how God had blessed them in their past

   •   b. how God was going to bless them in their future

   •   c. that they & we might bless God; give thanks to Him

  ○   4. For behind all earthly blessing there is God

 ■   Deuteronomy 8:1–10, “All the commandments that I am commanding you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to give to your forefathers. And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. Thus you are to know in your heart that the Lord your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you shall eat food without scarcity, in which you shall not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.” (NAS)

 ■   keep in mind that these words were spoken to God’s people

  ○   ‘God’s people’ can refer to two distinct groups of people

  ○   the first group is the geo-political nation

   •   the human descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

   •   along with all the servants and others who came with them when they left the land of Egypt

   •   particularly as these lived in the land of Canaan

   •   this nation was to be a testimony to Yahweh to rest of mankind

   •   it was from this chosen people that Isaiah 42:1says there was to come the God’s Chosen One, Messiah

  ○   the second group is the spiritual nation

   •   being by faith the spiritual descendants of Abraham

    °   in the OT, the faithful remnant within the nation

    °   in the NT, those who are in Christ by faith in that Chosen One of God: the Lord Jesus

   •   and we, this NT assembly, need the same reminders as Moses gave to the OT assembly

●   Thanksgiving Holiday

 ■   this is the Thanksgiving weekend

  ○   how sad it is that even as Christians

   •   we so often need to be reminded to give thanks

   •   how soon we forget all that has been given to us

   •   it was true of the Israelites; it is true of us

  ○   in training our children,

   •   we teach them to say “Please” and “Thank You”

   •   or have them learn a simple blessing or “thanksgiving prayer” such as “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food.

   •   we seek to overcome the world’s attitude that we earned the things we enjoy, so why give thanks?

   •   in Cubbies, I have seen Maureen encourage gratitude by saying at snack time, “I’m glad you said, ‘Please.’”

  ○   this lesson is not just for children but us adults, too

   •   how easily we forget the joys and pleasures given to us

   •   a current example it the complaints of the Jays fans of a losing season after two exciting winning ones!

   •   a slight aggravation coming our way clouds our sky

   •   past blessings? ... forgotten; gratitude? ... all gone

   •   as though we were saying to God, “What have You done for me lately?”

 ■   So, this morning, it is a good thing for us to pause, to meditate and to consider all the reasons for giving thanks to God

  ○   frequently I give sermon outlines in the bulletin

   •   to help you to follow the points of the message

   •   or giving other references with difficult passage

   •   or are teaching some involved Christian doctrine

  ○   but on other Sundays

   •   where the meaning and application seem self-evident

   •   a handout with many references might be distracting

   •   (you can get those references later on our web-site!)

  ○   so, this morning, for that reason, there is no hand-out

   •   may the Holy Spirit remind you of some blessing

   •   then even perhaps lead you away from what is being said in the sermon, to stop, to contemplate, to worship God, to pour out thanks to Him

 ■   the NT people of God, like OT people of God

  ○   has been created for a single, ultimate purpose

  ○   has been redeemed for that same ultimate purpose

   •   that we worship God

   •   that our thoughts, words, actions glorify Him

   •   it seems impossible to distinguish between the various forms of worship

   •   praise is thanksgiving, and thanksgiving is praise

  ○   the Psalms are filled with verses

   •   praising God, giving the reason as all God’s works

   •   “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits” (Psalms 103:1-2)

   •   thanking God, giving the reason as who God is

   •   “I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness, And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.” (Psalms 7:17)

  ○   I trust our hearts are turning to thank God this morning

 ■   let us briefly apply Moses’ points to us and our lives:

  ○   1. God’s desire is to bless mankind

  ○   2. There is a reason why we have to suffer hardships

  ○   3. We need to be reminded of …

   •   a. how God has blessed us in the past

   •   b. how God is going to bless us in our future

  ○   4. Earthly blessing is only a sign, spiritual blessing is reality

●   1. God’s desire is to bless mankind

 ■   when Abraham was called by God

  ○   and he followed and obeyed by faith “looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10)

  ○   he was given a promise by God, “And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:18)

  ○   we do not need to guess: God Himself declares His purpose

 ■   God’s attitude to mankind is kindly, loving, good

  ○   Jesus taught that our “… Father who is in heaven … causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)

  ○   this echoes Psalm 145:9, “The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” ()

  ○   Paul speaking to the Gentiles at Lystra, “and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17)

●   2. There is a reason why Christians suffer hardships

 ■   it is a proof of God’s caring attitude to His children

  ○   “for those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives.” (Heb. 12:6)

  ○   Paul knew this from personal experience writing, “And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me—to keep me from exalting myself!” (2 Cor. 12:7)

 ■   though afflictions come, take comfort

  ○   “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Cor.4:17)

  ○   “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11)

  ○   God is working all things together for your good

●   3. We need to be reminded

 ■   how God has blessed us in the past

  ○   you may have had a good education and so can hold a well-paying job … Who enabled you to learn? God.

  ○   you may have a manual skill to do intricate work that is admired by others … Who graced you with that gift? God.

  ○   you may have physical strength and stamina so you can do hard labour ... Who gave this physical ability? God.

  ○   you may be have patience so you can do dreary but needed tasks ... Who gave you this quality? God.

  ○   God’s blessings go far beyond material goods to embrace every aspect of life: “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights,…” (James 1:17,)

  ○   so, be reminded of God’s constant goodness, that you may overcome the ingratitude of envying other’s possessions

 ■   (We need to be reminded) how God will bless in the future

  ○   In their most troubled time, Jesus assured his disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3 AV)

  ○   and Paul, quotes Isaiah, reminding, “but just as it is written, ‘things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

●   4. Earthly blessing is only a sign; spiritual blessing is the reality

 ■   all these things

  ○   the good things of the harvest

  ○   the physical benefits we enjoy daily

  ○   the gift of each new day with new opportunities

  ○   God-given skills in our hands, fingers, feet, mind, voice

  ○   all of these are temporal, a token of the spiritual, eternal

  ○   a dim anticipation of His ultimate goodness to us

 ■   the practical outpouring of God’s love in salvation

  ○   “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son [His unique, one of a kind Son], that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16)

  ○   “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

  ○   “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

  ○   what ingratitude to reject such a gift! How thankful we should be!

 ■   If we as Christians do not express our gratitude to God for this, both privately and publicly,

  ○   what kind of testimony is that to the world?

  ○   what conclusion unbelievers make about God?

  ○   Let us then, this morning, give to God thanksgiving, praise and worship for His infinite grace in what He has done for us.


Endnotes

1

© 2017 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii:13).


           Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in {braces}. Versions are identified as:

 

           AV             Authorized (King James) Version

           NAS           New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)


           Some of my favourite commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:


           BM – Biblical Museum, Editor James Comper Gray, ca 1870

           EBC – The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, Michigan

           K&D – Commentary on the Old Testament, by Keil & Delitzsch; Volume 7, Isaiah, by Franz Delitzsch

           Kerux – The sermon and illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick to be found at the web-site, www.holwick.com.