December 11, 2006, Enterprise Dispatch
Pastor's Column

A season to give thanks

Pastor Dan Swanson, First Baptist Church, Cokato

In my private reading today, I read the Old Testament prophet Micah. In Chapter 6, I read that God had an indictment against His people. (6:2)

The problem was that they had forgotten His work on their behalf in their history. He had brought them up from Egypt. He had redeemed them from slavery.

He had given them Moses, Aaron, and Miriam as leaders. He had defeated King Balak’s attempt to curse them through Balaam, and they should have remembered all the things that had happened.

Micah 6:5 says that God’s purpose in all this was “That they might know the saving acts of the Lord.” (Micah 6:5b)

It dawned on me rather unexpectedly that we have to remember what God has done for us before we can/will give thanks for it.

This is such a basic insight, in which we are called upon to give thanks for all that God has done for us. If I don’t recognize something has indeed been done for me, how can I give thanks?

And God’s indictment upon Israel, here in Micah, was largely because they failed to see God’s hand in their nation’s history; and so they did not give credit where credit was due.

Let’s be clear – they were quite religious. Amazingly, so is America still today.

The next verses (6:6-8) review exactly what pleases God. They are so very basic to understanding God’s expectations for His people.

It is not just religious deeds or sacrifices for which God is looking. The people of Israel were quite religious about worshiping God; but they had removed Him from any meaningful ways.

And this classic verse ensues; “God has shown you what is good – and what does the Lord require of you?

“To do justice.

“To love kindness.

“To walk humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8)

Walking humbly, for Israel and for you and me, includes recognizing that it is His gracious care that keeps us. And at a basic minimum, we humbly recognize and give thanks.

When we come to the Lord’s table at our communion services, those two reminders are there: the broken bread and the cup that remind us what God has done for us. Interestingly, it is called the Eucharist – a Greek word that means to give thanks.

Every day ought to be a humble day of giving thanks, but especially when we are called to do so.

Have a humble and blessed walk of giving thanks.

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