“And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings that one may offer to the Lord. If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thanksgiving sacrifice unleavened loaves mixed with oil, unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and loaves of fine flour well mixed with oil.”
(Leviticus 7: 11-12)
I think sometimes, when we think about Leviticus, we think about all these sacrifices and offerings and how they cover over the sins of God’s people, which is definitely a predominant picture we see. But we also see, for example, here in Leviticus 7:11 and 12, a peace offering, a thanksgiving sacrifice that present a much different picture. This picture is of people who are simply grateful to God for his grace, for his provision in different ways. They’re overwhelmed with God’s mercy toward them, God’s blessing on them, that they’re provoked to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
If we are not expressing continual gratitude to God it is likely a sure sign there is something wrong in our communion with God.
I look in the New Testament, and I see how critical this is to our Christian lives. Yes, when we sin against God, we need to confess our sin before God, be reminded of the grace of Christ, the blood of Christ that covers over our sin. Without question, that’s a huge component of our communion with God, our relationship with God. But so is offering thanksgiving and gratitude on a continual basis, a daily basis, an all during the day basis. For us to have grateful hearts before God, where we’re constantly looking up to heaven and saying, “God, thank you for this. God, thank you for that.”
If we’re not careful, we can become pretty quickly pretty ungrateful people, where we almost become accustomed to God’s blessings, to the point where we presume upon them. We assume that God’s going to provide in this way or that way. I think about the simple act of praying before a meal and thanking God for our food. If we’re not careful, that can obviously become something pretty rote, pretty routine, even mindless, which obviously can be dangerous in that way. At the same time, it is right, every time we sit down before a plate of food, to pause and realize this comes from God, and we are grateful, incredibly grateful. This shouldn’t be rote, routine, or mindless. This should be mindfully engaged, being reminded that this food that we’re about to eat is not presumed upon. It’s not just assumed. It’s given from God’s hand for our good, and we are thankful for it.
You think about that applied to so many other gifts, ways God provides for us. Are we pausing regularly throughout our day, at the end of our day at night, just to look back over the day and say, “God, thank you for this, God, thank you for that”? We wake up in the morning, just to thank God for his grace the previous day and thank God in advance for his provision to come that day. We are called to be a grateful people, and if we are not expressing continual gratitude to God, it is likely a sure sign that there is something wrong in our communion with God.
So, we pray. God, thank you. Thank you, God. You are so generous, kind, good, loving, faithful. Oh, God, I think about the meals I eat today. I think about the blessings I enjoy today, the food, clothing, shelter, the work I have, the opportunities I have, the relationships I have. Oh, God, you have filled my life with so many good things, and not just mine. I know, for people who are listening to this, wherever they are, God, so many blessings, even amidst trials that people may be walking through, God, still you are so good. You’re providing in so many ways.
God, forgive us for oftentimes a lack of gratitude in our hearts, a lack of acknowledgment of all the good things you are providing for us that we just assume or presume upon. God, may it not be so. May we, like kids receiving gifts from a parent, Lord, may we be that kind of grateful sons and daughters, knowing that every good gift we have comes from you. Help us to offer sacrifices, prayers of thanksgiving all day long, and, in the process of doing that, we pray for increased communion with you, just growing intimacy with you as we express continual gratitude to you. Thank you, God, for your grace toward us in countless ways, ultimately in Christ and his sacrifice for our sins. We praise you and thank you, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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