Skip to comments."Is There Anything in America to Be Thankful for Anymore?" (Sermon for Thanksgiving Day)
Posted on 11/23/2022 8:14:02 PM PST by Charles Henrickson
“Is There Anything in America to Be Thankful for Anymore?” (Psalm 73; Malachi 3:13-18; Deuteronomy 8:1-10)
The fourth Thursday in November is set aside to be the Day of National Thanksgiving. That’s the reason why we have the day off from work. Because this is when all Americans are supposed to go to their churches and give thanks to God for his blessings on our nation.
Ha! Yeah, right. How many people actually do that? Not many. Give thanks to God on Thanksgiving Day? Are you kidding? That would interfere with our Thanksgiving! No, we need the time to baste the turkey. We need the time to get the house spiffed up for our guests. We need to watch the football pregame shows. Or, depending on which gender you identify with, we need to binge-watch some Hallmark Christmas movies. Anything but going to church and giving thanks to God!
“Thanksgiving” seems to be an odd idea in our culture these days. Because it implies that we are to give thanks to God. And God seems to have vanished from our national consciousness. For most Americans, is there a vital awareness of God’s existence and involvement in our lives? I think not.
Oh, well, but you are here for this Thanksgiving service. And that’s good. It’s good, right, and proper that we gather and give thanks to God for his blessings on our country.
But wait! Have you looked at our country lately? What a mess it has become! We have to ask the question: “Is There Anything in America to Be Thankful for Anymore?”
Frankly, we have to wonder. Every day we look at the news, and it looks like there’s not much to be thankful for. Bad things are happening all over, things that go against God’s will. And it seems like most Americans are okay with that. They even approve.
For example, did you know that Congress recently passed a bill called the “Respect for Marriage Act”? It kind of flew under the radar. The House passed a version of it in July, and the Senate voted in favor of it last week. Now the final version will go back to the House for approval before going to President Biden to sign into law.
Why is the “Respect for Marriage Act” a bad thing? Because it actually shows disrespect for marriage. This act will federalize homosexual marriage, whereas true marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman. And most of our representatives, the people we elect, are fine with this. That’s how sick America has become.
Another example: Crime in our cities. Now there has always been crime. Duh. Street crime, violent crime. And in our cities now, there are plenty of carjackings, muggings, flash mobs rushing in and stealing merchandise from stores, that sort of thing. But what’s different now is that many prosecuting attorneys--again, the result of our elections--the prosecutors are choosing not to prosecute. So, without the threat of punishment, the criminals are emboldened to rob and steal all the more.
So it looks like the bad guys are winning, all across our land. And what is God doing about it? Nothing, it seems. But then this is nothing new. It had seemed that way to the writer of Psalm 73. He sees the bad guys winning, and he says: “They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. Therefore pride is their necklace.” “They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.” “Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.”
In other words, why do the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper? This is the classic conundrum that has beleaguered believers throughout the ages. If this is the case, if God isn’t going to do anything about it, then what’s the use? And so the psalmist was thinking, “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.”
Likewise, at the time of Malachi, people were saying: “It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.”
But here’s the problem with that kind of thinking. When we think like that--when we only focus on how the bad guys are getting away with things--then we are tempted to ignore our own sins, for which we ourselves ought to be punished. Just because we may know better and act better than the really bad people, this doesn’t mean that we are without sin. No, we are sinners, too.
And yet God treats us better than we deserve. In spite of our sins, both personal and national, God has blessed our country abundantly. Like the ancient Israelites, God has blessed us with “a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing.” That’s God treating us and the Israelites better than we or they deserve. Moses would remind the Israelites: “Do not say in your heart, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land’. . . . Know, therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people.”
Friends, that’s us. That’s America. We are a stubborn people, a sinful people. And we’re not getting any better. So it’s not because of our righteousness or the uprightness of our heart that God has given us this good land. It’s because of how merciful and gracious God is. He treats us better than we deserve. God provides for us. He preserves and protects us. Why? It’s like we learned in the catechism: “All this he does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me.”
So it is not true to say that there is nothing to thank God for in America anymore. That’s not true, because he is still blessing us big-time, in spite of our sins. And beyond what God is doing now in giving us these temporal blessings of abundance in our land, there is even more that God will do. He will straighten out the injustices of this life in the end. Then we will see a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve and acknowledge God, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, those who despise God and spit in his face and mock his people and think they’re getting away with it. Because in the end, they will be laughing no longer. A day is coming, says Malachi, when “you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.”
But how will we survive on that day? Again, it will be because of God’s mercy and grace, not because of anything in us. We will survive, we will rise to eternal life on the day of judgment, because of God’s great mercy in Christ. Christ Jesus, our incarnate Lord, lived and died for us to win our salvation. His shed blood forgives our sins. His perfect righteousness makes up for our lack of righteousness. His resurrection becomes our resurrection. You are baptized. You are trusting in Christ’s merits for your salvation. Because he lives, we shall live also.
And so, after pondering the perplexity of the bad guys seemingly winning, but then realizing the final outcome of things, the writer of Psalm 73 can conclude--and we can pray with him to the Lord: “Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.”
This is the good news of God’s grace and mercy! And here in America, you can still hear this good news of the gospel of Christ. We can still assemble here in our churches and practice our religion. They have not shut us down yet. And we pray that they will not be able to do so.
So, is there anything in America to be thankful for anymore? Oh, yes, there is much to be thankful for! God treats us better than we deserve. In spite of our sins, he continues to provide us with an abundance of material blessings. And even more than that, the saving gospel of Christ can still be heard in our land. Friends, this is something to be thankful for! Not all nations have this blessing like we do. In fact, this has been and still is our country’s greatest blessing: the presence of the church of Christ and the gospel of Christ in our great land! May we never forget this! May we especially give thanks to God today for this, his greatest blessing! “Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, and his mercy endureth forever!”
“Your words have been hard against me, says the LORD. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. “They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.”
Deuteronomy 8:1-10 (ESV)
The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers. And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.
I have plenty to be thankful about and I am thankful every day, including tomorrow.
There is. And I am thankful for it.
We can be thankful that the demented, cranky old man in the White House is 80. It won’t be long now.
Great husband, wonderful kids, big comfortable home, high paying job, more than enough food on the table. My time is short but I am saved.
God has blessed me, indeed.
I am thankful that Donald Trump is willing to run once more. God bless him and God bless America.
I am going to say Yes much to be thankful for.
if you think not, then you have been mentally defeated.
all the elites I know believe this is the greatest period in recorded history.
Thankful that I started finding my way back to God.
Thankful that despite having to to be jabbed for work last year, I haven’t stroked out, or just outright collapsed.
Thankful for four walls, clean water, and heat.
Thankful I’m not destitute.
Thankful for what family I have left; family members have passed away over the years, or fallen out of contact.
There are still things to be thankful for.
I am thankful that Jesus is my Saviour!
I am thankful that he gives me strength to heal my broken bones, to maintain 98.6° food, shelter, a sound mind, and situational awareness.
Thankful for so many things — too many to list all of them.
Two things I’ve thanked God for since I was very little is that I was born into a Christian home, and that I was born in America. Missionaries that visited our Sunday School had stories and pictures of their various fields around the world. I knew I was blessed to be in America; I never got that out of my mind.
Thankful that the Rapture is imminent.
One of the ways of coping with what is wrong with your life is simply focusing on what is right. Added to that, every day, when reading of the myriad misfortunes of others which come to us in the news I say: “Well THAT didn’t happen to me. And very often “that” is a thing to be feared indeed. It maintains perspective.
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