The Power of Thanksgiving
Living a Life of Celebration–part 3
When we were lost our attitude was chained to our circumstances. Ask anyone how their day is going and they respond on the basis of how their circumstances are going. When our circumstances “stink,” so does our attitude.
It is the gospel which gives us the power and wisdom to do two things with our attitude. (1) We can choose our attitude when stinky circumstances occur. This takes God’s power. (2) We can also pre-dispose what our attitude will be ahead of our circumstances! This takes God’s wisdom.
Both the power and wisdom to deal with our attitudes converge with thanksgiving. This week, we’ll look at how we create our own D.R.A.s (Dirty Rotten Attitudes).
One of the characteristics of our sinful nature is a spirit of entitlement. We detest this in others, but rarely see it in ourselves. Think of entitlement as, “I deserve better.”
Read Numbers 11:1
1. What did the people do at the beginning of this verse?
2. Why? (v. 1)
3. What does His response imply about their approach to life?
4. What were God’s two responses?
Read Numbers 11:4–6
5. Which of the following words would you use to describe the attitudes of the Israelites? (You can pick more than one!)
5. We usually don’t think our attitude is all that important, but God sees our attitude as crucial, and our negative attitude as potentially catastrophic or deadly! What did the people who had just been liberated from Egypt and slavery now want to do?
6. Look back at the words in question #5. We usually don’t consider them “sins” but look at the effect those sins had on the people! Which of those words do you most identify with in your attitude?
Yesterday, we saw that the Israelites were willing to go back to Egypt and certain slavery over food choices. The purpose of God, involved in setting apart a people/nation for Himself with which to reach the world was being torpedoed by whining, ungrateful, spoiled brats numbering about two million!
1. What was God’s response to this mess in Numbers 11:10?
2. What was Moses’ response to the people in verses 10-15?
3. What parallels to you draw between the people’s complaining (11:1-6) and Moses’ complaining (11:10-15)?
4. What does God do in response to the people’s demands? Numbers 11:18-20
5. God gives them what they asked for, but how He gives it to them should teach them a lesson. What is God trying to do with His response, especially in 11:20?
(Bonus: Read Psalm 106:6-15)
Read Numbers 11:21-22
1. Moses complains and murmurs against the Lord, sounding remarkably similar to God’s people. What strikes you about his state of mind, and questioning of God?
2. Read Numbers 11:23. God responds to Moses.
a. What two things does God tell Him?
b. What would you want to hear from God if you were Moses?
3. How in the world could God or Moses feed meat to two million people? Read Numbers 11:31. How does the writer, Moses, describe the amount of quail that God provides?
4. The amount of quail collected was somewhere between 6 and 60 bushels/family. Compare this to what God asked Moses in 11:23.
5. Read 11:33. We learn three things from God’s perspective.
(a) He provided what they asked.
* What do you suppose the people would have said if God hadn’t provided meat?
* What do you think was the people’s first response when God did provide?
(b) Why do you think the Lord’s anger burned against the people?
(c) God sent a severe plague. What did God want the people to realize?
God wants to shape our attitudes! Either we will or He will! What’s your lesson from today’s passage?
Day-to-day, we live with minor bouts of disappointment, low-level discouragement and D.R.A.’s (Dirty Rotten Attitudes). DRAs not only affect ourselves but they infect all those around us. The effect is to suck the life out of joy and relationships. Complaining, whining, murmuring and griping slowly become a way of life.
It doesn’t have to be this way! There is another pattern we can adopt
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
1. A lot of circumstances are not joyful, but Paul tells us to be joyful always! Why?
2. Paul tells us to pray continually. He doesn’t mean to be on your knees 24/7. (When would you sleep or work?) What do you think it means to pray continually?
3. Paul instructs us to give thanks in all circumstances. What is the difference between being thankful in all circumstances and thankful for all circumstances?
4. Read Philippians 4:6-7
Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything! What items does he say are important in adopting that attitude?
5. Why do you think “with thanksgiving” is part of that equation?
6. Isaiah 51:3 The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
7. What does being thankful anticipate from God?
8. Our God is a redeemer God! He takes the worst of circumstances and goes to work in us to build the life of Christ in us. What characteristics of God do you see in Isaiah 51:3?
9. Ask God to give you a spirit of hope in our redeemer God!
Read Psalm 42:1-11
1. Why is the psalmist “downcast?”
2. What “remedies” does the psalmist look to in the following verses:
v. 9-10 (yes, verses 9-10!)
3. Which “remedy” stood out to you the most?
4. Look back at v. 4. At present, the psalmist was in the midst of discouraging circumstances. Here, he remembered. He went, in his mind, to a different past. He purposefully flood his mind with a host of things! Next to each of the words below, fill in what the psalmist remembered:
* Past actions-
* Past attitudes-
* Past thoughts/images-
5. You can pre-dispose your mind, heart and expectations ahead of time! What is your biggest lesson from this week?