25 November 2015
The first Thanksgiving celebrated by the Pilgrims came after an intense battle for freedom. They came from a place of confinement where religion & multiculturalism were trying to squeeze spiritual life out of them. Their desire to worship led them across the ocean to the New World, a promised land. God showed them the way and they risked it all for freedom. After the arduous journey in which many died, the surviving pilgrims did not get to sit back and enjoy their freedom. They were still fighting to establish a new way of life. The territory was unfamiliar and the natives were not always friendly. They had to rely on establishing relationships in order to learn how to build their new community. They had so much to learn in this new land. Sickness and death threatened to wipe them out, while hunger drove them on. Yet, God kept His hand upon them. They persevered and their crops grew. While on their journey to the new land, the Christian pilgrims had spent time in Holland with a community of Sephardic Jews. They learned of the Feasts of the Lord and experienced the Feast of Tabernacles in a way they probably never had done before. The Feast of Tabernacles is a celebration of harvest. It also is a time of remembering how the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt (bondage) into the Promised Land. I’m sure the pilgrims felt an instant connection with the Jews since they were in the middle of their own journey to their Promised Land. When their first harvest came in the New World, they celebrated by giving thanks and praise to God, their Deliverer and their Sustainer. The heart of their celebration was the same as that of the Jews. When you have come through an intense battle, no one has to tell you to be thankful, you just are and your heart desires to worship the One who brought you through. Years later, President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, but the Spirit of the holiday is based on the Feast of Tabernacles.
In God’s Word when speaking about the millennial reign of Christ, He says, “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. If the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the Lord smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.” Zechariah 14:16-18
The Feast of Booths or Tabernacles is one of three feasts that the Lord says will be celebrated “perpetually throughout your generations.” It has eternal significance to the Lord and is His appointed time to celebrate His Deliverance and Provision. Any nation that participates in the celebration will continue to enjoy His blessings, but the nation that does not will suffer the plague. America celebrates Thanksgiving, which is rooted in the Feast of Tabernacles. We are a blessed nation!
God established this nation for His purpose. He is calling us to remember and return to our covenant roots. We are a people chosen by God to bring forth His Kingdom in the earth. It is not the other way around where we get to choose our god. We must recognize that our significance lies in the fact that we belong to Him, we are loved by Him, and we have victory over the grave because of Him. Jesus’ shed blood on the Cross made the way for us to enter into eternal life. No government or worldly system can deliver us from the mess we are in, but He alone can. He has proven Himself faithful time and again.
Our great privilege is to offer Him our praise and thanksgiving and put our trust in Him. Remember those that have gone before, the Israelites, the Pilgrims, the warriors, soldiers and many more that have fought in pursuit of the Promised Land. Our fight is not in vain. We make our appeal to Heaven, and God fights the battle. We give Him the little that we have and He causes it to multiply. He is the miracle-working God! This year, God is doing something so extraordinary, something new has begun. He is pouring out His Spirit in unprecedented ways and He is going to reap His harvest!
Let us join our hearts with His. As we give thanks, remember that our Thanksgiving tables are our altar of sacrifice. Let us offer ourselves back to Him and join Him in reaping a harvest of souls for His Kingdom. This lost world needs Jesus! The truth is, He is here and His desire is to bless. It’s time to give thanks!