This first mention of Thanksgiving in the Bible is when God instructs Moses on the Thanksgiving Offering. This is the beginning of our series on “gratitude”! So, join us for this foundational study on Thanksgiving for Families! (Leviticus 7: 12-15)
There are few things that will impact your life more positively than understanding and cultivating thanksgiving in your own heart and mind. The ripple effect of a thankful heart can be seen not only in you, but also in the lives of those around you. So, let’s start today!
[00:00:00] David Nunnery: Hello. This is David Nunnery, and thank you for joining me on the Homeschool Family podcast by Teach Them Diligently where we discuss marriage, parenting, discipleship, homeschool, and everything else that comes into play when you’re following God’s plan for your family. Today, I’ve taken over the podcast to talk about thanksgiving, and in case you haven’t realized that, I don’t know if you can hear the bird, uh, back here in the background, but I am outside on my back porch.
[00:00:29] And I thought this would be a nice environment to talk about thanksgiving. And in October of about a year ago, uh, the Lord directed me to thanksgiving. I was having a morning devotion, and I actually was struggling one morning with what I was going to start on. I was-had finished up a study and I wanted to start a new one and I was actually struggling a little bit, and I was floating [00:01:00] around and I came across thanksgiving and it was about October of that year.
[00:01:04] And ever since then, I have literally not been able to get away from it. It has been a subject that has stuck with me and now I can’t- I can’t hardly study anything in the Bible. Every story and teaching that I come across in the Bible, I end up looking through this lens of thanksgiving, and what has happened is, is that I have actually come to the point where I believe that thanksgiving is foundational in our understanding of the scriptures.
[00:01:35] I think that it is transformational. And over the last year, I have studied every mention of thanks, thanksgiving, gratitude in the Bible. There are over 160 of these in the old and new Testament. And I think each one of these are instructive to us. And I believe there are a few things that will impact your [00:02:00] life more positively than understanding and cultivating thanksgiving in your own heart. And I think the ripple effect of a thankful heart can be seen not only in your own heart and mind. But I also think that it impacts your physical health. I think it impacts your home.
[00:02:20] I think it impacts those that are around you, the relationships that you have around you. I even think that people can see it from a long ways away-is evident in you. I think you can see it in the brightness of people’s eyes. I think you can see it in their smile. I think that a person that has cultivated a thankful heart lights up a room.
[00:02:47] I really do believe that. And so I want to actually share with you what God has shown me, in studying thanks giving over the last year. [00:03:00] And so we are actually going to go through literally every mention of thanks or thanksgiving. Again, i was saying before, there’s 160 of them, and I don’t plan on doing this on one podcast.
[00:03:10] So, you know, it’s, it’s OK. Each of these are going to be about 20 minutes long, but I wanted to actually take the time, and I wanted to share with you what I have learned and am learning regarding thanksgiving because I think I still have a lot to learn. My goal is to go through every single one of the references, and I believe that you will benefit the most from this study of thanksgiving by me unpacking each of these references.
[00:03:39] And so we’re going to be here for a while. We are going to have a lot of segments of this series on thanksgiving, and I’m going to do it through podcasts, and each podcast is going to be transcribed. It’s going to show up on the blog, we’re going to promote it on Facebook, we’re going to promote it [00:04:00] through, through email.
[00:04:03] And even during the Teach Them Diligently at home virtual event or events that we’re doing, we are going to talk about Thanksgiving. You’re going to hear Facebook lives where I’m going to be interviewing some people regarding Thanksgiving. And so first things first, I want you to understand my approach to Thanksgiving.
[00:04:27] There’s two things you need to understand. First of all, I believe that there are many things that exist in two categories, and they’re actually diametrically opposed to each other. These two categories, they don’t mix. They’re actually opposites. So in this case, thanksgiving actually kind of hangs out.
[00:04:48] It’s like they’re having a party together. Okay? And they will hang out with appreciation. They will hang out with generosity. They will hang out with mercy, [00:05:00] humility, peace. And then you have on the opposite side, you’re going to have things like envy, judgment, entitlement, pride, anxiety, and anger. And if you are drawing this out, you would draw two circles.
[00:05:14] And in one circle you would draw the one element that is associated with thanksgiving and appreciation. And then on the other circle, you’re going to put exactly the opposite which is envy, judgment, entitlement, anxiety, which is an important one because I think that there are a lot of people that are suffering with anxiety nowadays.
[00:05:37] And again, I think that to the point that one of these elements exists, one side of these elements exist, the other one diminishes. So in other words, what I am saying is that if you want to push things like envy and anxiety out of your life, [00:06:00] the answer is not necessarily trying harder to not be envious or entitled or anxious, but to push in more thanksgiving.
[00:06:10] The reason is that envy and entitlement and anxiety do not exist in the same space at the same time as thanksgiving, generosity and peace. So if you want to be less anxious, your answer to that in the way you are not anxious is to not try harder to not be anxious but to be more thankful. And so as we continue, the other thing is, is that thanksgiving is not natural.
[00:06:41] It is not something that just appears in the heart of a person without any work. It is like a muscle that needs to be exercise and strengthened. If you want gratitude to be a reflex, it takes conscious effort and nobody all of a sudden wakes up one day, and they are like excellent [00:07:00] at being thankful.
[00:07:02] Thanksgiving is like a muscle, and it’s something that you have to work at time and time again, and you’re going to fail on this. I mean, first of all, we are-We have faults, right? And so things like anxiety, fear, envy, they’re going to sneak in from time to time, but it is worth working on this. So let’s look at Leviticus 7:12-15. This is the first mention of the Hebrew word, “Todah”, which is thanksgiving or praise in the Bible.
[00:07:37] So sometimes “Todah” is going to be translated in your Bible as thanksgiving or thanks, and sometimes it’s going to actually be translated as praise, which is like Thanksgiving out loud. And that is significant because when you go to the first mention of a particular subject- so when we [00:08:00] go to Leviticus 7, we’re going to the first mention of thanksgiving in the Bible.
[00:08:05] And that is significant because when ever you go to the first mention of a particular subject or theme in the Bible, it is foundational. That means that everything, again, is- let me back up. The idea of seed and harvest is so important in the Bible, and when you’re studying the Bible, the Bible will give you things that kind of become a seed that will germinate later into this harvest.
[00:08:35] And recently I’ve gotten into gardening, and I enjoy it, but-We have blueberries and raspberries in our front flower beds, and I love the fact that we have that, but I’m still killing a lot of plants. But what I’ve learned is that you have to tend the ground if you’re going to plant something. You don’t just blindly throw a seed into the soil.
[00:08:57] You spend time preparing the soil to grow a [00:09:00] bountiful harvest. To me, that is why the first mention of thanksgiving is important. You understand what is important foundationally on a subject or theme when you go to the first mention of that subject. Additionally, and this is specifically when we’re talking about the first five books of the Bible, when you study the feasts and the holidays and the offerings of the old Testament, it is important to remember that these are not recipes, and I’ve recently got into cooking, but I’m not really a great cook.
[00:09:31] I just know how to follow a recipe and I am like daconian. I am like strict in.following these recipes, and I don’t like to bounce off of them. That’s how you know that my wife is such a better cook than I am because she doesn’t pay attention to recipes at all, but I really pay attention to the recipes, and these feasts in these offerings. you don’t treat them like they’re a recipe. At this time you do this. At this time, you do this, and it is [00:10:00] somehow, if you mess up the recipe for these these offerings and these feasts that somehow you’re sinful. I don’t think that’s the point. Especially not to us today.
[00:10:11] The point is what is the premise? What is it that God wants us to know? Why did God tell the Israelites to do this? He had a reason. What was the principle or premise that led to these instructions by God? Now in Leviticus 7, God is describing to Moses the peace offering, specifically the thanksgiving offering. And feel free to stop this podcast and read chapter seven of Leviticus, but if you think about this peace offering, the way we think about peace offerings in our modern culture, you might have the wrong idea of a peace offering, as mentioned by God in these verses.
[00:10:55] To us, we think of a peace offering as something you do to to make [00:11:00] up for a wrong. Maybe you would do a peace offering to get back into good graces with your wife. I feel like I’m getting really good at this actually, especially with us not being able to leave the house very often right now.
[00:11:13] I think I’m getting actually pretty good at this. And you know, husbands out there, you know what you do. You go out and you buy roses or you do candy, or you do something else that maybe your wife would like, because what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to get back into good- the good graces of your wife.
[00:11:31] You’re trying to kind of erase that mess up. And that is not what is meant by the thanksgiving offering here. I mean, even though thanksgiving offering is a kind of peace offering, there’s three kinds of peace offerings in the Bible, and specifically we’re talking about the thanksgiving offering here.
[00:11:50] The peace offering as we know it in our modern culture is not what- it’s not the same sort of thing. The [00:12:00] thanksgiving offering as described here was voluntary. It did not have a prescribed time or holiday associated with it. However, if you did do a thanksgiving offering, God was specific on what it should mean.
[00:12:16] And it was also done-A Thanksgiving offering was done by somebody that had right communion with God. They were in right standing with God already. They weren’t making up for something or trying to get back into the good graces of God. They were not trying to earn something. I mean today, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are in the right community.
[00:12:43] You are in right standing with God. Your sins have been erased. They have been put on Jesus Christ and the work of the cross has finished all of this. So this is expecially true for us today.
[00:13:01] [00:13:00] You were not doing this out of a heart. You were not doing a thanksgiving offering out of a heart that was trying to put God in debt to you. You are not trying… You are not- The offering did not think, “if I do this, then God will have no choice but to do this.” It was not like a tit for tat. This was not out of a heart of entitlement.
[00:13:25] “I’ve done so much that is good. Therefore, God has to do this. Therefore I’m going to do this thanksgiving offering so that God has to provide a blessing back to me.” The Thanksgiving offering actually came out of an overflow. It was a result of what God was already doing and was going to do. It was a recognition that- Not an urging to God, you are expectent of additional blessing when you did the thanksgiving offering.
[00:13:55] You did not do this, trying to urge God to do more. [00:14:00] What you find in Leviticus 7 is that on top of the normal animal that you would have found or that you would’ve found in some of the, in the scriptures that deal with a sin offering, meaning an animal that was cattle, goat, sheep that was without blemish.
[00:14:20] You would also bring unleavened loaves, unleavened wafers, loaves of fine flour and loaves of leaven bread. This was a lot, and it did not increase or decrease according to means. Meaning that whether you are poor or wealthy, you would bring the same circumstances. It did not determine whether you brought a thanksgiving offering or how much you brought.
[00:14:44] It did not impact thanksgiving offering. Just as in our own life, we are not to be less thankful or more thankful when circumstances change. Poverty or wealth did not matter. You would slaughter the animal at the door of the [00:15:00] tabernacle and then bring in the slaughtered animal and roast it on the alter.
[00:15:03] You would give it to the priest and they would drain the blood and filet the fat while the meat roasted on the altar. And the grain was mixed with the oil. You would tell or testify to the priest and those around the alter what you were thankful for. Then you would give a portion to the priest, and you would take a portion while also providing some as a heave offering to the Lord.
[00:15:28] Then you would consume all the offering that same day, leaving none until morning. So this was not really an offering as much as a feast, and there was no way you were going to consume all of this offering by yourself. This was not something that you did by yourself and just as it was impossible for you to consume the entire offering on your own in one day or with even one other person, thanksgiving is meant to be shared.
[00:15:55] You will find that a person doesn’t just think thankful thoughts and keep them [00:16:00] to themselves. Thanksgiving is meant to be shared. Matter of fact, I will tell you that a truly thankful heart or thankful person cannot keep it to themselves. If you are thankful, you are going to share it. It must be shared, and it must come out.
[00:16:17] You can’t keep it to yourself. Thanksgiving, that is kept yourself is stifled. It fizzles out. However, by sharing it, you will find that it grows and multiplies. It actually impacts you deeper, and by sharing your Thanksgiving, it also sweetens the life of those around you. Additionally, while this Thanksgiving offering was voluntary, it was most prevalent under certain conditions or a certain mindset.
[00:16:44] In order to do this, you had to have a certain state of mind, and this was voluntary, but you were going to do it. And you are most likely to do it, which is probably a better way to put it. When [00:17:00] you had a certain mindset, first you had to believe that it was just the start, meaning that what you were offering was not all that you had.
[00:17:11] You were expectant. A thanksgiving offering would come out of a belief that you served an abundant and generous Father, that He truly did possess the cattle on a thousand Hills, and He was not done sharing with you. You have faith that there was more to come. You’re not rationing a gift of God, but overflowing out of an abundance of blessing.
[00:17:36] And I just want to ask, do you believe that? Cause it is a whole lot easier to live in thanksgiving if you believe that God is not done, and you are in the midst of blessing. God is going to continue to heap blessings on you and from his storehouse. Do you believe that? Also that He cares for you and He has not forgotten about you.
[00:18:01] [00:18:00] Whatever you’re going through, and I don’t know what that is. And we’re all going through different things, and we have different anxiety in our lives, but if you believe that you are in the midst of punishment, how hard is thanksgiving? If you believe that what you are going through doesn’t impact the fact that God is good and He’s abundant, it really provides this soil that allows for greater growth of thanksgiving in your mind and in your heart.
[00:18:35] Now, something that is unique about this offering is that it includes leaven and unleaven bread. Matter of fact, I think this is the only offering that includes both leaven and unleaven bread, which I think is really interesting. Leaven in the old Testament tradition represented what was unholy or impure or sinful, and this, I believe, there is [00:19:00] a recognition that God is good no matter what. All works together for the good of us and the glory of our Father in heaven.
[00:19:08] In other words, leaven and unleaven, though unholy in the Holy, are worthy of thanksgiving because they both work together for good. Then unholy does not have the power to strip God of His generosity, goodness or strength our Father brings to bear on the world. Matter of fact, the impure and unholy actually directs back to a good Father that loves and cherishes us.
[00:19:36] And if you believe that God is good, and you believe that everything works together to actually prove out the fact that God is good, and it works out to your own good and it, it’s a lot easier to be thankful. So what does the thanksgiving offering illustrate to us about thanksgiving? Well, it [00:20:00] is that thanksgiving is meant to be shared, and it is most prevalent in a heart that is convinced we serve a Father that cares for us, is abundance with us, and is good.
[00:20:10] So go ahead and share. Be specific cause that’s important. When you share what you’re thankful for, it is much more beneficial to you and everybody else if you’re specific, even if it means that you are repeating, you’re getting into the detail of your day or your relationship with somebody when you are actually very specific and detailed about what you’re thankful for, it has much greater impact. What is your Thanksgiving offering?
[00:20:44] So in summary, a heart that believes that God is good, and all He does is good, is much more liable to be more thankful. A heart that believes that God [00:21:00] is abundantly generous with his people, is much more liable.
[00:21:08] That believes that God is abundant will be more likely to be thankful. A heart that believes that God owns-He truly owns all is much more likely to be more thankful. If you believe that God is not done with us, that person is much more likely to be thankful. If you believe that God is good and all He allows will ultimately show his goodness, you are much more likely to be thankful.
[00:21:48] And lastly, a person who is thankful. We’ll be generous and they will share. So tomorrow or the next day that we’re able to get [00:22:00] together, I’m actually going to go through 1 Chronicles 1, and this is the story of King David actually separating out a group of priests, that their job and their only job was to write hymns of praise and to be thankful before God.
[00:22:24] So we’re going to look at that, and that’s the next place we’re going. So if you want to read 1 Chronicles 16, go for it and I will see you again very soon. Thank you.
[00:22:41] Leslie Nunnery: [00:22:41] Thank you for listening to the Teach Them Diligently podcast. We believe that every family is called to teach them diligently. So we’re here to help. We would love to get to know you onsite at one of our many events each year and throughout the year when you become part of the Teach Them Diligently [00:23:00] 365 community.
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[00:23:49] Hope you have a fantastic rest of your day, and I look forward to visiting with you again real soon.