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Worship Message "Bless the LORD Your God, Thanksgiving Message#3 - 2015

Bless the LORD Your God
Thanksgiving Message #3 - 2015


Repeat after me please. Bless the LORD your God. Bless the LORD your God.

Thank you for doing that, which will be done a few more times during today’s message. It is a phrase that is found in the first passage for this message. There are three passages for today. The first is in chapter 29 of the Old Testament book I Chronicles.

Much of chapter 29 records a speech King David made to the people of God shortly before he - David - died. At the time of his death, he had ruled Israel for 40 years. When he died, he had both riches and honor. However, there was one thing he had wanted to accomplish that never happened. He wanted to build a temple for God, but according to God’s plan, the temple was to be built by David’s son Solomon, who would succeed David upon David’s death.    

To set the stage for today’s first passage, which starts with verse 10 of I Chronicles 29, let’s quickly summarize the first nine verse of the chapter, which begins with David listing some of what he had done to help Solomon eventually build the temple. Verse 2. He had provided gold, silver, and bronze. He had provided iron and wood, along with several kinds of stones and gems, including onyx and marble.

After listing what he had provided, David issued the challenge that others in Israel add what they could. It would seem he directed the challenge to others who were rich. The result was much more gold and silver and bronze and iron and stones being added to what was needed for the temple.

Listen to verse 9. The people rejoiced because all that was given was given willingly. Those who gave had done so freely to the LORD.

Not only did the people rejoice. So, too, did David. He rejoiced greatly that others had been so generous in giving for the LORD.

Then he made some interesting comments. He blessed the LORD for what had happened.

It is interesting, I think, that while David rejoiced, which I think included him congratulating those who had given of their wealth, he proclaimed that the cause of the generosity and the source of what had been given was not the people who had given, but God.

Verse 10. In the presence of all the assembly, David blessed the LORD. Let’s say it again - please repeat after me. Bless the LORD your God. Bless the LORD your God.

We are going to consider what David said in his blessing so we can be reminded of reasons to thank the LORD, which we will hopefully do throughout this season leading up to our Thanksgiving Day, but let’s first think about what it means to bless the LORD

I studied up on that phrase a bit. What I found is that to bless God, at least in the context of today’s first passage, means to praise Him, to express gratitude to Him, to thank Him. The word bless literally means to kneel in worship, so to bless the LORD means to praise Him and worship Him, which is an appropriate response to His greatness and His love.

David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. He began, “Blessed are You, O LORD, the God of Israel our father.” In other words, LORD, You are worthy of thanks and worship. “Blessed are You forever and ever.”

Why? Verse 11. “For Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty.”

Wow. What a list that is.

Greatness. His greatness is immense. So immense it cannot be comprehended. But it can be seen in His creation. It can be seen in His love.
    
Power. His power is irresistible, and it is great, the point being that any power any of His created beings have is from Him.

Glory. I looked that one up. It refers to high honor won by notable achievements. God is due that. And again the point, this time that whatever achievements any of those He created accomplish come from Him. So we are to give glory to God rather than to ourselves.
    
Victory. He is able to conquer and subdue all things. Last week we mentioned some of the problems He conquers. Remember? Lack of direction, darkness and gloom, sickness, storms, affliction. Once again, when we survive any of those problems, it is because of the LORD sharing His victory with us. He is therefore to be blessed.

Majesty. That refers to dignity and beauty.

Bless the LORD your God. Say it please. Bless the LORD your God. Do that because of His greatness and His power and His glory and His victory and His majesty. And because, as v.11 adds, all that is in the heavens and in the earth is His. “Yours is the kingdom, O LORD.” Therefore He is to be exalted, highly regarded “as head above all.”

Do we recognize God as being over everyone and everything? According to David, we should. If we do - when we do - we will realize - verse 12 - that “both riches and honor come from Him.”

Remember the point of David? He was pleased - he rejoiced greatly - that so many of his fellow citizens of Jerusalem had been so generous with their gold and silver and bronze and iron and stones and gems.

But lest any of those who were generous started to get the big head, David reminded them that both riches and honor - that both the ability to be generous and whatever notoriety results from generosity - come from God.

Therefore God, rather than those who are generous, are to be praised. As David added, “It is in God’s hand to make anyone great. It is God who gives strength to all.” Verse 13. We are to “thank God and praise His glorious name” for all that He gives - for all we are able to offer for His work.

David continues that theme in the next few verses of I Chronicles 29. Verse 14. “LORD, all things come from You.” Verse 16. “O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building You a house for Your holy name comes from Your hand and is Your own.”

David then makes a request. Verse 17. “My God, You have pleasure in uprightness.” He said, “It was with the uprightness of my heart that I have freely offered to You.” And other people? They have offered “freely and joyously to You.”

Here is the request. Verse 18. “O LORD, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of Your people, and direct [keep directing] their hearts toward You.”

And not only that. David added, “Please grant to Solomon my son [the one who was going to succeed David as the king of God’s people - the one who would accomplish the building of a temple for God] that with a whole heart he may keep Your commandments, Your testimonies, and Your statutes, performing all, and that he may build the palace for which I have made provision.”

Then David said to all the assembly, “Bless the LORD your God.” And all the assembly responded - say it with me please - Bless the LORD your God.

With that, shortly before David died, the people bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD. They also showed deference and respect to the king, I assume to thank him for his 40 years of service. I assume to thank Him for reminding them of the proper relationship to God, which is to bless Him and thank Him and honor Him for giving all the good things He has available, and for His greatness and His power and His glory and His victory and His majesty.

Let’s move on to the second of the three passages for this message. Actually a smattering of verses found in another Old Testament book, this time the Book of Daniel, this selection of verses providing an example of someone who lived out what David taught in the passage we just considered.

Let’s start in Daniel 2.

At the time of the chapter, Daniel was, along with many other young men of God, living in Babylon. Babylon had defeated the people of God. Daniel was among those who had been transported to Babylon to live and serve there.

One night, the king of Babylon had a troubling dream. He was bothered and asked a lot of people for help to interpret the dream.

Understandably, those asked for an interpretation asked to know what the dream was. However, the king refused to share that information. He ordered those he asked to tell him, not only the interpretation, but what the dream was. I am not sure I understand the logic of that, but that is what the king ordered. Which, understandably, they could not do.

That angered the king, who ordered all the wise men throughout his kingdom - those the king thought should be able to help him - to be killed, which was supposed to include Daniel, who had not been asked earlier about the dream.

When Daniel heard what was going on, he appealed for an audience with the king. He then prayed for help with what the king wanted.

The prayer was answered. The dream and its interpretation were both revealed to Daniel. Both of which were shared with the king.

That was quite an accomplishment on the part of Daniel, but listen to what he said, and notice how this sounds just like what David said back in I Chronicles.

First, right after the king’s dream and the interpretation of it were revealed, Daniel said,   this in verses 22 and 23 of Daniel 2. “Blessed be the name of God, to whom belong wisdom and might. To You, O God, I give thanks and praise, for You have given me wisdom and strength and made known to me what the king wants to know.”

Isn’t that interesting? Daniel did not take credit for what he knew. He gave the credit to God. He thanked God.

Then, when Daniel went to meet with the king to share what had been revealed to him and was asked, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” his response was, “No. Not me. But there is a God in Heaven who reveals mysteries. It is God who will make known what you want to know.” Yes, Daniel was the one who was going to give the message to the king, but it was God who gave Daniel the message.

The result? The king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts. The king made Daniel ruler over the whole kingdom and the leader of all the wise men in the kingdom.
But there was something else that resulted from what happened. Something that resulted from Daniel giving the honor to God. The king recognized God as “the God of gods, the Lord of kings, the revealer of mysteries.”

Sometime - a long time - after that, another king was in power. This is in chapter 6 of Daniel. That king signed a decree that for 30 days, only he could be prayed to. The decree included the penalty for praying to anyone else. The penalty was to be cast into a den of lions.

That decree must have been a scary thing for the people of God to learn about, maybe even for Daniel. However, he had no intention of following the order of the decree, even in the face of the penalty included in it.

Daniel continued to pray to God and give thanks to God. He did both those things openly, which resulted in him being arrested, grabbed, and thrown into a den of lions.

Being thrown into a den of lions happened in the evening. The next morning the king returned to the den. Imagine his surprise when, from the den, came the voice of Daniel.

And listen to Daniel’s words. Daniel first expressed respect for the king. “O king, live forever,” he said. But then he praised God. He did not say, “Hey, I’m alive. I am pretty impressive.” He did not say that. Instead, he said, “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths.”

One more time, repeat after me. Bless the LORD your God. Bless the LORD your God.

That is what Daniel did. When he was given wisdom and when he survived, he took no credit for himself. He praised and thanked God. What an appropriate response to God’s greatness and His love.

Which is the response we are to have when God blesses us. How can we accomplish what David taught and what Daniel accomplished? For that, let’s move now to the third passage for today. Today’s New Testament passage. A single verse. Ephesians 5:4.

The verse begins with this. “Let there be no filthiness nor silly talk nor levity.” Those things refer to risqué, morally shady, dirty conversations.

Especially the word levity is an interesting one because verse 4 is not a teaching against humor in general. Laughter is a very good thing. It is a wonderful gift from God. But in the context of this passage, levity refers to coarse or immoral joking. That is wrong.

As I read in a commentary, language and speech are wonderful gifts. But make sure those gifts are used, not to make light of things that are displeasing to God, but to communicate His love and His goodness and His mighty works - and His greatness and power and glory and victory and majesty. Speak in those ways so others can be spiritually encouraged.

Let there be no filthiness nor silly talk nor coarse joking, all of which “are not fitting.” Instead, “Let there be thanksgiving.” Instead of obscene or profane wit, we need to use our language and speech to remember God’s goodness and mercy. May we use our language and speech to bless God - to praise Him for His kindness and His favors to us.

Bless the LORD your God. Say it please. Bless the LORD your God.

That is what people were invited to do a couple Sundays ago. People were invited to write some of the things for which you thank God and share the list with me. I am sharing some of those things during the messages leading up to Thanksgiving Sunday, including a few to mention in this message.

A nation where we can worship freely and openly. Four people had that on their lists of things for which they thank God.

The protection we are given compared to many parts of the world, and the fact that even the poorest of us live like kings and queens compared to many in past times and even now in other parts of the world.

The teaching from today’s Old Testament passages is that God is the source of all good things, which include our freedom of worship. He is the source of the blessings of protection and economic stability. Therefore, He is to be blessed and praised and thanked.

Here are some more things for which some of us thank God.

Many friendships. Three people listed that. God is the source of friendships.

Christian music. Two wrote that. How good it is to have music that praises God. What wonderful reminders to thank the LORD.

Popcorn was listed on one of the sheets handed in. Of course, food, including popcorn, is a gift from God. In fact, what a unique part of God’s creation popcorn is.
    
I thank God for loving me and taking care of me, even when I don’t pay attention.

Giving me a chance to find Him.

Those were two others things written on lists of thanks. God is certainly responsible for those two

From I Chronicles 29. We are to bless the LORD our God, knowing that all we have comes from Him. Knowing that our willingness to share what He gives us - a willingness to share with Him and with others - also comes from Him. Therefore, let us praise Him for His greatness, power, glory, victory, and majesty.

From Daniel 2 and 6. There is an example of blessing the LORD our God. Doing that instead of taking credit for ourselves for all that is good in our lives. The example is Daniel, who gave God credit for his wisdom and for being saved from death in a lion’s den.

From Ephesians 5. How can we do as Daniel did in doing what David taught? How can we bless the LORD our God? We can use our words in thanksgiving to God.

One more time, say it with me please. Bless the LORD your God.
 
For today’s closing song, we are going to sing a version of the chorus, To Him Who Sits On the Throne. I have taken the liberty to change the words just a bit to fit today’s message, especially the part that came from I Chronicles. As we sing, let’s remember the descriptions of God. Descriptions that make Him worthy of our thanks.


To Him who sits on the throne - unto our God -
To Him who sits on the throne - unto our God -
Be greatness and power and glory and victory and majesty,
Be greatness and power and glory and victory and majesty.


You guessed it. One more time, repeat after me. Bless the LORD your God. Bless the LORD your God.

May we do that. May we praise and express gratitude to and thank and worship God during this time leading up to Thanksgiving Day. May we do all that every other season as well. We will do that when we remember that everything we have, including our willingness to share what we have, comes from God. Thank You, LORD. Amen.

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