It is the last Wednesday service of the semester and as such, the whole place was covered with saints dressed in white apparels. The president introduced the speaker, who doubles as the prayer secretary in the person of Mr. David Daniels. He ministered on the topic, “From my Mizpah to my Shen”. The main text was from 1 Samuel 7:12.
By way of introducing the topic, he recounted the events in 1 Samuel 4 – 7 where the ark of God was taken from the Israelites by the Philistines. Because of the evil ways of the Israelites, they were conquered by the Philistines in an attempt to retrieve the ark of God. They had forgotten it only signified the presence of God and did not actually ‘carry’ God. After realizing how they had repented of their evil ways, Samuel led them to pray and sacrifice unto God at Mizpah. The Philistines, also, upon realizing they were there, went up against them but got disappointed at the turn of events. Eventually, they were pursued by the Israelites to a place called Shen. Samuel then laid a stone as a sign of remembrance of what God had for them so they perpetually remain in thanksgiving unto God. Today, we can help ourselves remember the things God has done to us by taking records of our requests unto him in order to quickly notice it as and when they are addressed.
Continuing, Mr. Daniels went on and struck the difference between worship and thanksgiving by establishing that worship is giving reverence to God for his nature (Isaiah 6:1-5) whilst thanksgiving means showing appreciation for the things that God has done for us (Psalm 136).
He proceeded to state some limitations that hinder us from giving thanks unto God. They are:
- Ignorance and forgetfulness of what God has done (Psalm 78:11)
This happens when we fail to take note of the things God has done for us. Often, we attribute our achievements to our skills rather than God who is the real source. He said when God brings us from our Mizpah to our Shen we should set a stone of remembrance by taking note of the things he has done so we won’t forget. (1 Samuel 1:18, Psalm 78:6ff)
- Our gaze on the apparent rather than the real.(2 Corinthians 4:18)
He admonished the church to know that things are not real based on our ability to see them but rather, what God’s opinion concerning them is. This means that what God has done is not dependent on what we see (Mark 11:24), because as soon as we say a prayer God immediately answers it in the spiritual, only that we must have faith to able to access them. Therefore, we must also thank God for the things he has done even if we do not see it. We must trust his word because his word is tangible. (Genesis 3:8, Luke 5:5)
He continued to say that thanksgiving in a sense is a prophetic act, where we make declarations of the things God has done even before we see them. To buttress this, he cited Jonah and King David as Key examples. (Psalm 126:1-6, Jonah2:2)
- Our Perception of what is good (Luke 18:18)
As humans we have a distorted perception of the meaning of the word “good”. To know the true meaning of goodness we must refer back to the word of God and there we will see that God can be the only one we can refer to as “Good” because everything he does for us is for our benefit and he also lavishes on us good gifts because he has good thoughts for us. (Jeremiah 29:11)
The thoughts he has for us makes our end perfect. Despite the fact we stumble and there are obstacles on the way, we must thank him because his thoughts of us are good and perfect and that he will see us through to the end. (Isaiah 46:9-10)
- We must give thanks because thanksgiving brings the presence of God down. (Acts 16:25, 2 Chronicles 5 :13)
- We must also give thanks because it is a requirement to give thanks in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18)