“And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings that one may offer to the Lord. 12 If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thanksgiving sacrifice unleavened loaves mixed with oil, unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and loaves of fine flour well mixed with oil. 13 With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving he shall bring his offering with loaves of leavened bread.”
Today, we are not required to go to the tabernacle, we are the tabernacle. (1 Corinthians 3:16). We are not required to sacrifice an animal to spill blood, Jesus did that. (Hebrews 10:10). We still offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise though. Hebrews 5:15 describes it this way,
“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
Acknowledgement of what God has done and praise is giving Him thanks. Doing good for others and otherwise sharing all God has given us is a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. A sacrifice is not necessarily a somber act. It can and should be done with joy on many occasions. An appointed feast is a holy convocation, a sacred gathering of God’s people for sacrifices and offerings. Leviticus 23:39-43 describes one appointed feast, the Feast of Tabernacles done at a specific time each year after the harvest had been brought in, and after the appointed feasts of Passover, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, and Yom Kippur. It closed out the year of appointed feasts.
“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the Lord seven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. 40 And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. 41 You shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 43 that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
The Lord actually commanded this offering be done joyfully. The people of Israel took it seriously, they danced and sang through the entire week. Even today The Feast of Tabernacles also called Sukkot is considered the most joyful time of the year and certainly the most joyful of the appointed feasts. Furthermore God loves a cheerful giver who gives freely not because it is commanded, but because we want to do it. (2 Corinthians 9:7-9). When we offer our sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving, beneficence, or service, God prefers us to be happy, and enjoy what we are doing. Sacrifice has a negative connotation but we are meant to perform them joyfully. That type of giving results in perfect provision and multiplied sacrifices of thanksgiving to God and increases His glory exponentially. 2 Corinthians 9:10-14 reads,
“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.”
And a sacrifice of thanksgiving is one of the most often performed by us. It is not us just thinking, “Golly gee, I am thankful.” It is an expression, visible and tangible. How can a silent or secret thanks glorify God? It may bless Him, but the silent thank you only blesses God, it doesn’t glorify Him. (2 Corinthians 14:16).
Psalm 100 reads,
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.”
Do you understand how amazing it is that we can enter into the presence of God? Jesus made it possible. That in itself is reason for thanksgiving. It doesn’t say, enter His presence with complaints, whining, and wishes. It doesn’t ask us to approach God with tears, despair, and gloominess. No it says, make a joyful noise, enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise, bless His name! Because of Jesus we can go boldly to God’s throne. Boldly! Not demanding as spoiled children but with faith and confidence that God will listen and appreciate what we say.
Hebrews 4:14-16 says,
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
We are exhorted to offer thanks as part of our prayers for all people. (2 Timothy 2:1). Thanksgiving should be a natural part of our prayers. It not only blesses God and the people around us, it blesses us as well. It keeps us peaceful instead of anxious. Philippians 4:6-7 says,
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”