“When you sacrifice a thank offering to the Lord, sacrifice it in such a way that it will be accepted on your behalf. It must be eaten that same day; leave none of it till morning. I am the Lord.” —Leviticus 22:29-30
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a renowned Jewish theologian, once said, “It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.” This is one of 12 devotions focused on gratitude during this season when families gather to give thanks. For more on praising God for our many blessings, download our complimentary study on the Psalms.
In recent years, the Israeli government released details regarding a thwarted terror attack that would have otherwise resulted in one of Israel’s deadliest strike in decades. The plot involved a woman who planned to disguise herself as a pregnant Jewish woman, while in truth, a belt of explosives would be strapped to her belly. Once she reached her target, she intended to detonate the explosives, claiming countless Israeli lives. Thank God, with a little help from Israel’s intelligence agency and a lot of help from God, the plan was uncovered before it could be carried out.
This is one of God’s miraculous salvations that we were made aware of; however, for every thwarted attack reported, there are numerous others that aren’t. In addition, how many attacks are stopped by God without us even knowing it?
I once read about a conversation that occurred between a rabbi and a Czarist official in Russia. The official asked the rabbi why the book of Psalms repeatedly states that the nations of the world should praise God for saving Israel. Shouldn’t it be the Jews who praise God for their own salvation? The rabbi answered, “We have no way of knowing the extent of your conspiracies against us . . . Since you are far more conscious than we are of the magnitude of God's miraculous salvations, only you can appreciate the full extent of His greatness.”
In today’s verses concerning the details about the ritual sacrifices, we are told that the thanksgiving offering had to be consumed on the day that it was brought. Now, the thanksgiving offering was part of the category of peace offerings where the general rule was that there were two days allotted to consume the sacrifice. Why was there an exception made for the thanksgiving offering?
The answer is because when we thank God for a miracle on one day, it is already outdated by the next. God performs new miracles for us every day – whether we know it or not – and so yesterday’s gratitude is no longer sufficient for today. Each day there are new miracles to be thankful for. Every time we get in our car, cross the street, or fly on an airplane, God is protecting us with miracles. Even as we sleep, God is watching over us. He protects our children and saves them from all kinds of disasters that we will never know about.
Today, thank God for the miracles that are obvious in your life, but also acknowledge the many miracles that are never made known. Every day brings new salivations whether we see them or not. So sing His praises every day, for every day He is deserving of them.
Download our complimentary study on The Psalms of Davidfor how Israel’s greatest king expressed his deepest emotions to God through his words of thanksgiving, confession, petition, and praise.
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