Giving Thanks to God

If you offer it for thanksgiving, you shall offer with the thank-offering unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of choice flour well soaked in oil.Leviticus 7:12

Dear members and friends,

We find the first appearance of the word “thanksgiving” in Leviticus 7 in the Bible. The Hebrew word for thanksgiving is towdah. Towdah means “to give praise to God.” Towdah is originated from yadah, which means to give thanks. In a way, thanksgiving in the Old Testament might have meant that people desired to give thanks to God, thus they chose to give praise to God. In the ancient context, praising God usually meant a certain offering. Why were the people of Israel being thankful to God? In the context of Leviticus, they were freed from slavery in Egypt and led through the wilderness while being fed by God with mana. And later, the land was given to them. The Israelites had a number of clear reasons to be thankful to their God.

One lesson that the Old Testament teaches us is that the Israelites fell into trouble whenever they forgot to be thankful to their God. In the text itself, it is written as if God punished them due to their disobedience. However, if we were to read it spiritually, the trouble of the Israelites was a mere consequence of being disconnected from their God by choosing to be arrogant and worldly. This is the real lesson for us all: being arrogant and being worldly causes spiritual damage within. And, when there is spiritual damage within, soon it manifests outwards by means of disturbed emotions and irrational actions, which often are the causes of damaged relationships. One way to keep one’s spiritual wellbeing is to maintain thankfulness as the foundation of one’s heart. If we were to look around and search within, there are millions of things to be thankful for!

I send my prayers and blessings to you all for a warm, loving and joyful Thanksgiving with your family, friends and even strangers.

Blessings, Rev. Jucnhol Lee