The Original National Thanksgiving Proclamation


After wondering in the desert for 40 years, Moses bid farewell to the children of Israel. He did so by preaching multiple sermons to them, admonishing them to be faithful to the Lord. Many difficulties lay ahead of them, but many were also behind them.

The Israelites were delivered from slavery in Egypt. The Lord removed the yoke of oppression. He took them into the desert, gave them the Law, and put them on the brink of the Promised Land. However, they blinked; they flinched; they cowered. Hence, God banned them from going in until all that generation died.

In Deuteronomy the Israelites were again at the edge of Canaan, the land flowing with milk and honey. As they were about to enter in, Moses commanded them that once in the land and enjoying its fruits, to stop and thank the Lord.

And it shall be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide.

And you shall go to the one who is priest in those days, and say to him,

“I declare today to the Lord your God that I have come to the country which the Lord swore to our fathers to give us.”

Then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand and set it down before the altar of the Lord your God. And you shall answer and say before the Lord your God:

“My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. But the Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid hard bondage on us. Then we cried out to the Lord God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’; and now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O Lord, have given me.”

Then you shall set it before the Lord your God, and worship before the Lord your God. So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you.

— Deuteronomy 26:1-11

If the Israelites were to pause, reflect on God’s goodness and the blessings He bestowed, and give thanks, surely we can see it is incumbent on us to be filled with thanksgiving.

Our blessings far exceed theirs. The people of God now enjoy all spiritual blessings in Christ (Eph. 1:3). We have all truth (Jn. 16:13). The Son of God now rules as King over the Kingdom that CANNOT be shaken (Heb. 12:28). And, He invites us, yea, urges us, to be part of that Kingdom (Matt. 11:28-30; Rev. 22:17).

About the author 


Steven Deaton: Christian, husband, father. Seeking to help others know and live by God's word.

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