Saturday, November 21, 2015



Today we begin a very special week in the United States. Sunday being the first day of the Thanksgiving Holiday week provides us with both the opportunity and the obligation to shine a light of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ on our nation and thank God for the blessings He has bestowed on America.

I’ve read that more than 700 million pounds of turkey will be consumed this Thursday in the celebration of this year’s Thanksgiving Holiday. Families will gather and a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables and desserts will dress the tables of homes everywhere and will be served to fill the hearts and stomachs of men, women, boys and girls, rich and poor alike, given out to soldiers serving on foreign fields, first responders in cities across our nation, as well as prison guards and inmates, in hospitals and homeless shelters. Thanksgiving is a celebration meant for all to enjoy.

Most of us know enough American history to remember the Pilgrims and their Mayflower voyage from England to New England late in the year 1620. We probably recall that they weren’t well prepared and that more than half of them died within a few months of the landing they made at Plymouth, Massachusetts from the bitter cold of that first winter.

Such losses could make anyone wonder if they had made the right choice. Was it the best decision for them and their families and the future? Why did they come? All reasonable questions.

The Pilgrims, much like the far majority of the settlers of that era including the French Huguenots and the Puritans, made their decision to come to America motivated by what they believed was the call of God on their lives. Their only hopes were to establish a world where they could worship God without fear of politically backed religious persecution and become a witness for Christ to their new world.

Although it was not an easy undertaking and its costs were great, nonetheless they succeeded and by the fall of 1621 they realized that God had indeed sent them and abundantly blessed them and that He deserved Thanksgiving. The rest is history …

Today we are going to read three portions of scripture. One will come from the Prophet Isaiah. This prophecy provides a link to its past and its future, as well as to our past and our future. We will connect this prophecy in Isaiah first to a passage in the book of Exodus at the point where God had just parted the Red Sea and the Children of Israel had crossed over on dry ground while their enemies were swallowed up and drowned by the waves.

The second portion of Scripture connected to the verses in Isaiah will be found in the New Testament Gospel of John. It is a passage detailing Jesus on one of His several visits to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. Let’s look at these two passages now before we read from Isaiah’s prophecy to begin our Thanksgiving week.

Exodus 15
1  Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: "I will sing to the LORD, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!
2  The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.
What a picture of deliverance … The LORD has become my salvation! Keep that in mind. Next we read from a passage in the Gospel of:

John 7
2  Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand.

If you aren’t familiar with the Feast of Tabernacles you may wish to read a little about it from Leviticus 23 and Numbers 29. This feast is celebrated in the fall of each year, just after the harvest has been gathered in. It begins and ends with a holiday and includes seven days of feasting and public celebrations. The feast remembers all that God did for the Children of Israel in the wilderness - including the fact that God dwelled with them in a Tabernacle while they lived in tents as well. The Hebrew prime root word for tabernacle means to cover and protect … like a tent or a shelter covers.

This feast began right after the Day of Atonement when sins were covered.

14  Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught.

Note: This is a good place to say that both Jesus and I believe in a mid-week Church service where the Word of God is taught … just sayin …

So, Jesus is at the Feast of Tabernacles, He goes into the Temple and teaches the Word of God at mid-week, and then on the last day, day 8, the last holi-day, a Sabbath in which no one worked but all attended a special celebration, Jesus stands up in the crowd, calls attention to Himself and makes a bold public declaration:

37  On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
38  "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."
39  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive …

Everyone in attendance that day knew exactly to what Jesus was referring. You see, although not prescribed by Moses it was nonetheless the deeply held tradition and custom of the Jews to draw water from the pool of Siloam near the Temple in Jerusalem and to pour it out at the Feast to symbolize the prophecy given centuries earlier by Isaiah concerning the coming Messiah. It was commonly said that if a person had never seen the joy associated with the drawing of this water that they had never seen joy!  

The Feast of Tabernacles was a fun feast and everyone was caught up in the joy of its celebration. Let’s look at the Messianic prophecy from Isaiah.

Isaiah 12
1 ¶  And in that day you will say: "O LORD, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
2  Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ’For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’"
3  Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.
4 ¶  And in that day you will say: "Praise the LORD, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted.
5  Sing to the LORD, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth.
6  Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!"

2  Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ’For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’"

Verse 2 is taken in reference from Exodus 15 and the deliverance experienced by the Children of Israel … the song of Moses …

Verse 3 connects this prophecy to its future and the time when Jesus Christ would become the wellspring of life for all who would come to Him.

3  Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation.

This prophecy foretells of a day when eternal life would be freely offered for all who call upon the name of the Lord … it’s as simple and easy as drawing water from a well of salvation. Today is that day!

You know what the Hebrew word is that is translated Salvation in this prophecy? --- It’s the Hebrew word: “Yshuw’ah

Jesus saves! Just like some of you were saved today and many more will be in the coming weeks and months ahead …

And for that we are so thankful!

May the God of grace bless you and keep you and may you trust in the Lord and not be afraid. I pray that you will praise the Lord and declare His deeds among all people and that this coming Thursday you will make mention of His name and be Thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!