Earliest Thanksgiving ?

1 Chronicles 16:1-18 (ESV)

And they brought in the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God. And when David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD and distributed to all Israel, both men and women, to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the LORD, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel. Asaph was the chief, and second to him were Zechariah, Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel, who were to play harps and lyres; Asaph was to sound the cymbals, and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests were to blow trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God. Then on that day David first appointed that thanksgiving be sung to the LORD by Asaph and his brothers.


Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Israel his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones! He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. Remember his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, as your portion for an inheritance.”


Possibly the First Thanksgiving feast! When the Ark was brought to Jerusalem David gave to all Israel, bread, meat and cake of raisins. I don’t think he ran out at the last minute to get this. He had to prepare it ahead of time. He would have had to have his cooks preparing stuff for a while to have this feast available for all.


The song of thanksgiving that is above is only part of the song. Feel free to read and or sing the entire thing in 1 Chronicles 16.

Just as David did, we must prepare for the Thanksgiving that we celebrate. First we have to buy everything. Then thaw the turkey (or ham, or whatever). Season to taste, cook the meat, the pies (usually ahead of time), the potatoes (sweet or for mashing), stuffing, prepare the vegetables, open the cans of olives, etc. You get the idea. It is a lot of work for those preparing the meal.


Just as we spend a lot of time preparing the meal, we should spend some time preparing our hearts, and reflecting on all that we are thankful for. God has blessed us abundantly. We live in the most affluent society on earth, and in history. Even the poorest of us is better off than many in other times and societies. So we should be thankful. We should give thanks to God first, then we can hang with the family, or play games, or watch movies, sports, etc.


Have a Happy Thanksgiving, but don’t forget to give thanks to the One to Whom we owe everything. Thank you, God! For all You do, for all You are, thank You!


by Virgil Stripes

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