Thanksgiving expressed in the way we live

2 Chronicles 7:1-9

When Solomon had finished the prayer of dedication for the temple, the burnt and thank offerings were consumed by fire from heaven.

“The glory of the Lord filled the house,” according to Scripture. The presence of the Lord was so powerful that the priests could not enter the inner courts of the temple.

How often do we think of the Lord’s presence? In every worship service, we ought to desire the presence, guidance and conviction of the Holy Spirit. The church building cannot contain God nor is it the only place His presence is felt. The psalmist tells us, “the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 33:5).

We rob ourselves of the relationship God desires to have with us when we fail to see Him at work in the world and in our lives. So many people declare their belief in God, yet live as if they have closed Him out of their lives.

God is present everywhere at once, and nothing is concealed from Him. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

In God’s perfect sight, the people who gathered for the temple dedication saw the consuming fire and the glory of the Lord, and they bowed and worshipped and praised Him.

In the great assembly of people gathered for the dedication, there were many who brought sacrifices. Solomon provided a sacrifice that included 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. The number of animals was more than the altar could accommodate, so Solomon consecrated the courtyard floor as a place for burnt offerings.

For the fourteen days of the dedication and the Feast of Tabernacles, offerings were distributed in three ways: part went to the Lord, part to the priests and the rest to the people.

To the pagan observer standing on the outside, this must have been a peculiar thing that defied reason. What did it mean? Solomon and the people assembled for the dedication did not sacrifice to enrich God, who owns everything.

What do we learn from this Scripture and others like it, and how does it affect our worship? After all, we do not sacrifice oxen and sheep. Our sacrifices are much more spiritual. The psalmist wrote, “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2).

God wants us to be the living sacrifices that Paul wrote about in Romans 12:1.

Finally, remember the words of the Old Testament prophet Micah: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8).

The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at [email protected]

The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at [email protected]