Evangelist Jabez Park's sermon from Shiloh's Thanksgiving Lord’s Day Service on November 17, 2019
The importance of being thankful
Why is it important to be thankful? And how do we express our thanksgiving to our Father in heaven? The Bible says we have to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God and order our way aright. When we do this God will show us His salvation. There are many ways we can understand thanksgiving in the Bible. Today we will look through Abraham.
A sacrifice of thanksgiving honors God. How do we see this in Abraham’s life? According to the Word of God, we have to be that sacrifice; a living and holy sacrifice (Romans 12:1). So, then what is a sacrifice of thanksgiving? We have to be thankful. When we are thankful we become that sacrifice of thanksgiving. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything, give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” We have to offer thanksgiving which means to “praise.” In the original Hebrew language, the word “thanksgiving” is “todah” and “praise” is “yadah.” So, when we give our thanksgiving, it means we are giving praise to God (Psalm 34:1). How did Abraham give glory to God? Abraham was given a promise that he would be the father of nations and he did not waver in faith but gave God the glory and received the promise (Romans 4:20). All of you have received the promise of eternal life and our true home is where we are from and in the beginning, we came from the Word of God. So when we are all here together in worship, in praise, and in thanksgiving through the Word, you are home. We look forward to that day when our true home in heaven will be realized. Until then, let us learn from our father Abraham and not falter in faith but let us give glory to God.
We have to order our way aright
When we order our way aright, God will show us His salvation. The word “aright” is not the same thing as being righteous. In Hebrew the word “aright” is “sum” which means “to place, to set, or to place or set something properly.” Thus, the Hebrew word “sum” means when everything comes to where they are supposed to be, it means that you are “aright.” Therefore, being “aright" means you are proper before God! Thus, “sum” is a little bit different from what our idea of righteousness is. Then, how can we understand “sum” in the Bible? If we go back to Genesis and the creation of man, it states that God placed the man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8). The word “sum” is used here, for “Adam” was in his proper place because God put him there and set him there. All of you have been placed here by God. You may have many worries and concerns and uncertainties but we pray that you may have the faith because God put you here. And when you are “aright” with God, you will see His salvation. How is this seen through Abraham? When Abraham laid his son Isaac on the altar, the word “sum” is used here (Genesis 22:9). The Bible says that he who offers a sacrifice honors God and to him who orders his way aright shall see the salvation of God (Psalm 50:23). From this passage, it seems like there are two different ideas; “offer a sacrifice” and “setting your way aright.” But when we see Abraham who laid his son Isaac on the altar, “sacrifice” and “setting your way” is the same thing. And this is what our father Abraham has to teach us. And in this way, Abraham was truly righteous (James 2:21-23). Therefore, when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving like Abraham, when you lay down your offering and when you make your way aright, then God will show you His salvation.
Conclusion: What did Abraham believe when he made his sacrifice? By faith when Abraham was tested, he offered up Isaac. God promised Abraham that through Isaac he will have many descendants (Hebrews 11:17-18). However, God commands Abraham to kill his son! God promised Abraham that through Isaac he will have many descendants but then God tells Abraham to kill Isaac. So what was Abraham’s conclusion in the command to sacrifice his son Isaac? Abraham’s conclusion was that God is true to His promise. Abraham believed that even if he sacrificed Isaac and offered him up, God would raise Isaac back from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). That way, Abraham is obedient to God and God’s Word and promise is still true. This is why Abraham is called the father of faith. Therefore, when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and you make your way aright, God will show you His salvation. Abraham saw the salvation of God. There is a very famous expression “Jehovah Jireh” which means “The Lord will provide.” The expression “jireh” comes from the Hebrew word “yireh.” The word “yireh” comes the Hebrew word “ra-ah” which means “TO SEE.” In English, we have the expression “I’ll look after you,” which means to take care of somebody. In the same way, God sees us, watches over us and He provides for us. So we must remember that the word “jireh” does not mean “to provide” but it means “to see.” Abraham called the name of that place “The Lord Will Provide” but in the original Hebrew language, it means at that place “The Lord Will See” and on that mountain “The Lord Shall Be Seen” (Genesis 22:14). Thus, you will actually be able to see God. The Bible says that our salvation is only in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). Abraham saw the day of Jesus and he rejoiced and was glad. This is what thanksgiving is. When Abraham laid his son Isaac on the altar to sacrifice him Abraham saw the day of Jesus. When Isaac was being sacrificed, the angel commanded Abraham to “stop, for now I know that you believe in me” (Genesis 22:12). When Abraham lifted his eyes he saw a ram. This ram took the place of his son Isaac, and Isaac was saved (Gen 22:13). In the same way, Jesus took our place. We were supposed to die but Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. We are waiting to see Jesus again and in order to do that, we must make a sacrifice of thanksgiving. We have to make our way aright. So as we live our lives of faith, may we become that sacrifice, offer up thanksgiving, and lay ourselves down and see through Jesus the salvation of God.