November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving Eve — Devotion

Passage: Job 2:9-10

Sermon for Thanksgiving 2019

Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, give thanks unto the Lord for He is Good, His Mercy endures forever. Amen.

Job 2:9-10
9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,
To whom we owe endless thanks and praise,
Dear Fellow Saints, and Citizens of the House of God –

He was a man that some might say had everything.

He had enormous wealth, owning 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 1000 oxen, 500 donkey and a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

He wasn’t only blessed with material wealth. He also had been given 7 sons and 3 daughters. It appears there was little infighting among his children because they would take turns holding feasts in their homes, inviting their brothers and sisters to dine with them – not unlike some of you will be doing tomorrow/today.

But most valuable of all was his confidence in the One True God, who had blessed him so richly. He expressed that confidence in God by regularly offering up sacrifice on behalf of his sins and those of his children.

He is described as one who could not be accused of gross sin, who lived according to God’s precepts, who respected God and hated evil.

Every day was Thanksgiving Day at Job’s house. Every day? Every single day?

What about the day that messengers came with the news that the Sabeans had fallen on his oxen and donkeys and stolen them, killing all but one servant? If that had not been enough on the heels of the first messenger came another, and another and another.

 Fire fell from the sky and consumed all his sheep and servants, but one.
 The Chaldeans raided his camels and killed all his servants but one.
 A great wind collapsed the house where his children were eating and they were all killed, save a single servant who brought word.

Most would say today that Job didn’t have much to be thankful for. He had been given so much, but God allowed it all to be taken away in a single day.

In such circumstances most would complain that God wasn’t playing fair, that it was wrong to allow a Child of God to be treated in that fashion, even if it was Satan that orchestrated it. Most would only thank God when He gives, not when He takes away. Job wasn’t like most.

Was that day still Thanksgiving Day at Job’s house? Yes, it was still a day for worship and thanksgiving. Even when all this happened Job humbled himself, tore his clothes, shaved his head and worshipped the Lord, saying:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

Blessed be the name of the LORD, the covenant God of mercy and love?

Thank the Lord for having nothing? Thank the Lord for taking away? It was still Thanksgiving Day for Job.

What about the next day when Satan afflicted Job with painful sores from the top of his head to the soles of his feet? All he could do for his personal comfort was take a piece of broken pottery and scrape himself with it as he sat in ashes.

Was it still Thanksgiving Day at Job’s house? Yes, it was.

This was all too much for his wife. She had a few choice words for Job. He refused to question or even blame God for what had happened to him!

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity?
Curse God and die!”

“Enough already! God hasn’t been fair or faithful to you. Why do you hold fast to Him?”

Would we agree? It’s pretty artificial to ask that question here, as we sit in a heated church knowing that we have food and family waiting for us.
But if we lost all our earthly goods in a day, would we still cling to His Promises and offer up thanksgiving -- or would we turn on God? Would we try to try to bite the hand that feeds us day after day and has for year after year?

A day of Thanksgiving or Thank-lessness? Consider Job’s answer:

But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?”

It is evident that Job’s answer to his own question was a resounding – NO!

Shall we be like the foolish? Shall act like spoiled children and only be thankful and receptive when God gives us something but throw a fit when something doesn’t go like we want it to? NO!

God help us to be thankful in all things. God help us to be thankful when in His wisdom He takes from us.

While we’ve never lost on the same scale as Job, our gracious God and father does allow adversity to come our way.

When we are proud of what we have accomplished, when we conclude like the rich fool that things are good and we can start doing what we want to do -- He may allow the bottom to fall out.

When you are about ready to make something else more important than Him – He may take it away.

He lets us fall down, not so we can pick our selves up again – but so that we learn that He is always there for us. He allows these things to happen for our good, so that we learn again – that above all we need HIM. Like a loving father corrects his children, so He may choose to correct by taking away.

Thank Him, not only for His giving, but His taking away – and remember -- We’ve never lost like He did to win us. In order that we should be His own, God gave up, He turned His back on His innocent, sinless Son. It was the only way that He could redeem us!

Knowing this, believing this with our whole heart, how could we ever question Him when He takes a pittance here and a job there?

We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow or 10 years from now! But our heavenly father does and you know what He does?

He adds and subtracts from our lives at just the right time so that we keep our balance, and stand on Him. There is never a, ‘Oops, that didn’t work out like I thought.’ Think back on your life and all the things you thought you had to have – but didn’t get.

Today, let’s thank God for those times we got nothing, when He, in His wisdom chose NOT to give you what you thought you needed.

Let’s learn to thank God for what He hasn’t given us and for the evil and adversity that He hasn’t seen fit to send us.

Rather than trembling that you almost had a car accident, thank God for nothing, -- that you didn’t have one!

Thank God when I hit a deer with my car? What is good about it? The Lord allowed you to see again that your life is in His hands. He didn’t allow you to crash and be killed. Thanks for nothing, for not laying that adversity before me!

Thank God for keeping the sickness away. Thank God that he hasn’t allowed your job to be taken from you. Thank God that He took your loved one (who was His loved one too) home to heaven.

Let’s learn to recognize God’s wisdom and trust Him whether He gives or takes away.

Thank God that when He could have left us with nothing – He gave us everything in Christ. Know that you can handle any adversity with Him, as the Apostle Paul once wrote (Philippians 4:11-13):

“…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Thank you, Lord for everything, and for nothing.

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