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    An Indescribable Gift

    As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s rededicate ourselves to God. October 5, 2018 by Commissioner Susan McMillan
    Filed Under:
    Opinion & Critical Thought
    Photo: © skynesher/iStock.com
    We live in an age of entitlement. We believe we have a right to what we have, and what we don’t have is owed to us. We think we worked or fought for what we have or accomplished, and have only ourselves to thank.

    It’s a dangerous attitude, isn’t it? To demand satisfaction only gives others the right to make such demands upon us, however unreasonable they may seem. Society becomes more litigious and less forgiving, more retaliatory and less considerate of others.

    The Book of Nehemiah is a beautiful story of leadership and teamwork, culminating in thanksgiving. This gem has a lot to teach us.

    Consider the determined leadership of Nehemiah, who heard about a significant need and did all he could to rectify the situation. Nehemiah was part of a group of Israelites who had been exiled and were living in Persia. He was an employee at the king’s palace when he received word of the desperate state of Jerusalem. The walls surrounding the city were in ruins, leaving this holy place and the inhabitants exposed to constant ransacking and violence.

    Nehemiah’s first act was to pray and place himself at God’s disposal. He then travelled to Jerusalem to meet with the people, and laid out plans to rebuild the city walls. They faced many obstacles, including threats from those who didn’t want to see the Israelites prosper in this endeavour, but under Nehemiah’s godly leadership, they persevered and got the job done.

    Once the wall was completed, God’s people held a service of dedication and thanksgiving. One might think they dedicated the wall and thanked themselves for all the hard work, but no. They dedicated themselves and thanked God for all his wonderful blessings.

    The dedication service resulted in a revival. They listened as the Word of God was read and explained for the first time in a long time by the scribe, Ezra. His Spirit-inspired speaking reached the hearts of the people with the life-bringing Word of God. They were inspired to recommit themselves to Jehovah and to live faithfully, according to his will— hence the dedication. The head of each family signed a covenant, confirming that the people would follow the law of God and obey him only from that day forward.

    The service of dedication for the wall was a thanksgiving service, when the people praised God for his faithfulness in working through them to build the wall. It must have been quite an event. Scripture tells us of not one, but two large choirs singing from the ramparts of the wall, one answering the other in song, and a band to accompany the singers. The people rejoiced and the sound of their jubilance could be heard far away from Jerusalem. They brought offerings to God in thankful worship, and praised his mighty works.

    As we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, shouldn’t we take the opportunity to rededicate ourselves to God and thank and praise him for all that he has done? Let’s not sit around the table after dinner and say: “I’m thankful for….” Let’s say: “I praise God and thank him for….” And wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could each say: “Lord, I rededicate myself to you. Lead me in your righteous paths.” “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

    Commissioner Susan McMillan is the territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Follow her at facebook.com/ susanmcmillantc and twitter.com/salvationarmytc.

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