Happy Thanksgiving Eve! I am sure many of you are rushing around today, getting things ready for a celebration of all things turkey tomorrow (no matter how small or large your gathering may be.) In thinking about "Thanksgiving" and "giving thanks", I am thankful that I am actually able to give thanks to the One who has, truly, blessed me above measure.
Isn't that the point of being thankful? To thank someone or something for the immeasurable blessings we have been given? And, yet, for those who do not know God or disregard him as the giver of all things (even their very life and breath!), thanksgiving seems a mere trifle of a day. Sure, there's food, football, and family; but, apart from those things, can they really be thankful? And to whom? And for what?
For, if, one cannot be thankful to God, they must then be thankful to and for a finite, transitory being on whom their hopes and joys rest in a most unstable way. Whether it's in themselves for being such a good, resourceful person or some other person, event, or position, which can change and be altered in a minute. In light of that, then, how humbling to recognize I cannot depend upon myself or mere earthly circumstance to provide my needs and blessings, but instead, to be devoted to and indebted to God alone for all things.
I am reading through the book of Joshua. In chapter 5, I read of the man standing before Joshua with the sword in his hand. Joshua asks the man if he is for them (meaning the Israelites) or for the enemy. The man simply replies, "No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come." Joshua responds by falling on his face and worshiping the man. In this, we read (as most commentators note) of an Old Testament appearance of Christ (or a Christophany). If, you remember, a similar thing happened to Abraham in Genesis 18. There are other numerous appearances littered throughout the Old Testament. Each of these instances are unique, in that, unlike typical angelic appearances, theses appearances involved worship, miracles, prophecy, fear on the part of the beholder, and other indications that this One could only be deity. In reading this, I was blessed by the fact that Christ appeared as exactly what Joshua was needing in that moment.
Joshua had been commanded by Moses (before his death), and numerous times by God to "be strong" to be "courageous", to not be afraid, and so on. In this passage, we find Joshua is preparing to take on the city and people of Jericho- a huge city with a huge wall and a huge population. Surely, a daunting task, to say the least! And in this preparation, Joshua must have been feeling fear or nervousness or intimidation (I mean, wouldn't you?!?). Then, this man appears to him. Not as an angel or a traveler or as one with whom to contend, but as the commander of the army of the LORD! Joshua needed this. He needed renewed courage. He needed to be reminded of the care and commands and promises of God. And, so Christ comes and appears to him as Commander. As a man of war. To incite courage, resolve, and hope in Joshua.
And, isn't this what our Savior does for us? As Matthew Henry writes, "Christ will be to his people what their faith needs..." What is your faith needing these days?
Reminders of courage? Reminders of hope? Reminders of strength, forgiveness, love, grace? Christ is and provides all these- and more!
He is Savior.
He is Hope- hope in life, death, in uncertain days.
He is Redeemer. Redeemer from sin and death and hell.
He is a Rock. Stable, unwavering, timeless, certain.
He is Light. Light in the darkness; light in hopelessness; light when all seems lost.
He is Comfort. Comfort in times of trial, in sin, in sickness, in salvation.
He is Mediator. Mediating before God for you and me. His blood covers it all!
He is Joy. Joy unspeakable and full of glory. Joy which cannot be taken away.
He is Peace. Peace before God. Peace before men. Peace for all times.
He is Healer. Healer in times of brokenness- in sin, in relationships, in devastating loss.
He is Sustainer. Holding, strengthening, building, encouraging.
He is Righteousness. My righteousness!
He is King. King of kings! None can stay his hand. He will reign!
He is Lord. Lord of lords. None can stand above him.
He is Friend. Friend who does not leave. Friend who listens. Friend who stays.
He is Love. Love in the unlovely. Love in my sin. Love in my wandering. Love in my striving.
He is Mercy. Mercy unending. Mercy for today. Mercy for tomorrow, and whatever I face.
He is Grace. Grace abounding. Grace renewing. Grace regenerating. Grace relieving.
He is Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God!
He is these- and so much more.
What is Jesus to you today? And, how can you be thankful for that- and other ways Jesus has been with you in your journey of faith?
In each day, in each moment, he is these things and more, so much more! As we journey through our lives, he will be immeasurably and incomparably more than we will ever need. How can we need anything more? I have shared two songs which I would encourage you to listen to as you prepare for giving thanks with your family tomorrow.
Rejoice in him today! Thank him today. Bless him. Praise him. Worship him. And whatever your thanksgiving looks like tomorrow and with whomever you share your table, may you truly thank him who is alone worthy of all the praise, all the glory, all the thanks.
To him be the glory, both now, and forever- Amen and Amen!