Over the past several years one of the things I have struggled with is discontentment. To be honest with you I have struggled with the issue of discontentment for a long time. I have allowed myself to complain, grumble and to wallow in self-pity. Most of the time when I find myself complaining I feel very justified in those complaints. I find myself feeling like I am being treated worse than anyone else and that I deserve to be treated better.
I find that I easily fall into the comparison game, and begin to feel sorry for my life because it isn’t as good as someone else’s life.
I don’t want that type of spirit to be a constant characteristic in my life. I don’t want to be full of bitterness and envy because I believe God has some how given something to someone else that I feel I should have gotten.
November is a month when we see our social media pages filled with many people like me who spend most of their year complaining about how hard their life is, suddenly reverse themselves and try and demonstrate how thankful they really are for the month. For some reason a national holiday gets our attention when God’s word can’t seem to penetrate our harden hearts.
We have missed the point.
God wants Thankfulness to be a constant characteristic in our lives, not just one month out of the year.
Because of this problem within my own heart I decided to do a word study in scripture on thankfulness. I am really surprised by what I have been finding. I am hoping to spend the next few weeks sharing with you what I am learning and how I hope to change my own perspective from one of grumbling to one of thanksgiving. Are you in? Will you join me on my quest to move away from complaining and towards a thankful heart?
Let’s dive right in.
The first verse I came upon in my study on thankfulness brought me to Leviticus chapter 7 verse 30
With their own hands they are to present the food offering to the Lord; they are to bring the fat, together with the breast and wave the breast before the Lord as a wave offering.
So my first question was: What does this have to do with thankfulness? So I dug a little deeper. This verse is talking about the presentation of the fellowship offering that the Israelites were to make.
What in the world is a fellowship offering? I am so glad you asked; I asked too.
“The peace (or fellowship) offering. The peace offering emphasizes the fact that the people of ancient Israel had the opportunity for close communion with the Lord.” [Source BibleStudyTools.com]
This offering was a very special offering, it was one that was to signify that the people could have a relationship with God the Father. This offering was to show that there was peace between the people and God himself.
Go back and re-read that verse again. Did you see what is so special about this verse?
God was asking the people to present the fellowship offering with their own hands. Why is that important? Because normally the priest was the one who would lift up the sacrifice and present it before the Lord before it was placed on the altar. The exception is the fellowship offering. God wanted the people to realize that his fellowship was between each person and Himself not just between the priests and God.
God wants a relationship with us! That is pretty amazing. God wants a direct connect with us!
The way to achieve that was through worship. God was giving the people a specific sacrifice that could be made to demonstrate that they were in fellowship with God himself. The people would offer a sacrifice which was their act of worship. Through their worship they were restored to fellowship with God.
It is important to note here that the fellowship offering was made only after the sin offering was made. In fact the last sacrifice that was to be presented on the altar was the fellowship offering. The way had to be paved by the sin offering before the fellowship offering could be presented. [source Biblestudytools.com]
All this sounds very technical, but it is also pretty amazing to me. For the ancient Israelites to be in fellowship with God they had to go through many different sacrifices first. Now things are different. Jesus did all that for us. We can approach the throne of grace, because Jesus paid the penalty of sin for us already. We have fellowship with God now.
What a powerful gift. God enabled us to approach Him and to have fellowship with him. That way of having fellowship with him was through worshiping God for what he had done. In other words the people of Israel were restored to fellowship with God through……Thanksgiving!
There are things that can cause problems to develop. We can break fellowship with God quite easily. Next time I will dig into how fellowship can be broken, and what we need to do to rebuild that fellowship with our heavenly father.
For now let us remember the gift that God has given us through his son and be thankful that we can approach the throne of grace with confidence.