Short Bible Study

A Life Poured Through Thanksgiving

Joshua Crawford

As people become aware of their need to drink more water, water filters have become increasingly popular.  Most of these filters are simple:  the water passes through activated charcoal, a porous substance which collects contaminates and impurities, making the water safe to drink and even improving taste.  Likewise, whatever we receive in this world, we should filter through thanksgiving to make it safer and more enjoyable.  “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:4)

In Numbers 11, while His people were in the wilderness, God fed them each morning with manna, which was, “like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” (Exodus 16:31)  However, the people were ungrateful and complained, “Oh that we had meat to eat!  We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks the onions, and the garlic.  But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” (v. 4-6)  Israel was not receiving the manna through the filter of thanksgiving; God heard this complaining and said, “Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat.  You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you.” (v. 18-20)

God surrounded the camp with an abundance of quail from the sea, a day’s journey on either side.  Yet, gifts received without a thankful, humble heart can be our downfall.  “While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck down the people with a very great plague.” (v. 33)  Israel discovered it’s impossible to complain and have great faith in God at the same time, for complaining suggests God has somehow failed; complaining comes from a lack of faith, of which the apostle Paul says, “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23)

God knows a thankful heart is a happy heart; the opposite is a greedy, never satisfied heart and God doesn’t want that for us.  If we pour all our gifts through the filter of thanksgiving, our blessings can be free of the pollutants and poisons that make us proud, selfish, and a pain to live with.  Therefore Paul says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

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