Thanksgiving Living

Title: Thanksgiving Living

Bible Book: Job

Author: Steve Wagers

Subject: Salvation; Gratitude; Thanksgiving; Praise; God, Greatness of



In 1621, in spite of their many hardships, difficulties, and thoughts of returning to their homeland, the Pilgrims appointed a day of Thanksgiving.

Our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln acknowledged the day nationally in 1863; and, in 1941, Congress passed into law that the 4th Thursday of each November be officially recognized as Thanksgiving Day.

This coming Thursday we will enjoy a time of food, family and fellowship; but I’m not sure that we should observe Thanksgiving day so much as we should employ Thanksgiving living. In other words, our thanks to God should not be stored up until the 4th Thursday of every November.

Rather, we should express our thanks to God everyday by how we give, and how we live. I love the admonition of 1 Thessalonians 5: 18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Paul was saying that thanksgiving is not only something which God deserves; but, it is something which God demands. God not only desires that we thank Him with our lips, but that we thank Him by our lives.

C. H. Spurgeon said, "Gratitude is the only fountain of acceptable service; without it, the streams are far too defiled to flow in the paradise of God."

I think of a man in Phoenix who called his son in New York the day before Thanksgiving and said, “Son, I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are getting a divorce. Forty-five years of misery is enough for 1 person.” The son screamed, “Pop, what are you talking about?” His dad continued, “We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer. We’re sick of each other and I’m sick of talking about it. Call your sister in Chicago and tell her.” Frantically, the son calls his sister in Chicago and gives her the news. She cries out, “No way! They’re getting divorced? Don’t worry. I’ll take care of this.” She calls her dad in Phoenix immediately and says, “Now, you listen to me dad, you’re not getting divorced. Don’t do a blessed thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother, in New York, and we’ll both be there tomorrow.” The old man hangs up the phone, turns to his wife and says, “Okay. They’ll both be here tomorrow for Thanksgiving, and they’re paying their own way.”

I want to examine the oldest book in the Bible to look at the life Job as our great example of Thanksgiving Living. First of all, I want you to notice:


The character and conduct of Job are held in a class all their own. He was a man that could look up to Heaven and sing with Charles Albert Tindley:

Nothing between my soul and the Savior.

Naught of this worlds’ elusive dreams.

I have renounced all sinful pleasure,

Jesus is mine, there is nothing between.

His reputation gave him the title, in verse 3 of being the “greatest of all the men in the east.” When you consider Job’s impeccable reputation you must consider:


UPI correspondent Wesley Pippert comments, “An important fruit of discipline is integrity. Few things are more important than whether one has a good reputation, a good name. Not all people are gregarious or outgoing. Not all people are sought after or loveable. But everyone can have integrity. Integrity flows more out of a disciplined character than a daring personality."

Job’s integrity was the result of a clean life. We read in Job 1: 1 that he was a man who was, "man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”

The word “perfect” is better rendered “blameless.” The word “eschewed” is the Hebrew word that means, “To turn away.” In other words, when it came to any form of sin, Job turned away and got as far away from it as he possibly could.

When the Emperor arrested Chrysostom and tried to make him recant his faith, he emphatically shook his head. The Emperor said to his guards, "Throw him into prison." "No," said one of them, "he will be glad to go, for he delights in the presence of his God in quiet!" "Well, execute him," said the Emperor. "He will be glad to die," said the soldier, "for he wants to go to heaven, I heard him say so the other day.”There is only one thing that can give Chrysostom pain, and that is, to make him sin; he said he was afraid of nothing but sin. If you can make him sin, you will make him unhappy."

We get the idea that sin was something that made Job extremely unhappy. Thus, because of a clean life he had a confident Lord.

Get the picture. God, who is presiding over a meeting of heavenly beings, is about to assign his angelic messengers specific tasks to perform. All of the sudden, Lucifer, the former angel of light appears.

God asks him in 1: 7, "Whence comest thou?” Satan answers, "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” In other words, Satan, along with his diabolical angelic hosts has been looking for someone to tempt.

Then, God gives him a suggestion in 1: 8, "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?”

Satan, “the accuser of the brethren” brings an accusation against both Job and God. He says in 1: 10, "Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.”

Satan’s accusation is that nobody is good without a cause. Nobody loves God just for the sake of loving God. Satan said in effect, “Everyone is selfish. Men only love God because God is blessing them. Job loves you only because of what You have given him, not because of who You are.”

God says, “Well, we’ll just see about that.”

Thus, He hands Satan a permission slip in 1:11-12, “But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.  [12] And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.”

God had complete confidence in the integrity of Job. There existed not one ounce of a doubt in the mind of God as to the impeccable integrity of Job.

I used to say that I wanted God to brag on me; but, that was until I realized that Job’s trouble came all because God bragged on him.

An applicant was filling out a job application. When he came to the question, "Have you ever been arrested?" he wrote, "No." The next question, intended for people who had answered in the affirmative to the previous question, was "Why?"

The applicant answered it anyway: "Never got caught."

Job never got caught because there was nothing to catch him in. Thus, scene one closes with his priceless integrity. Scene two opens with:


Whenever troubles and trials come into a person’s life our cynical nature rises up and says, “They are having trouble because there is sin in their life, and God is punishing them.” However, such was certainly not the case with Job.

In fact, the complete opposite was true. Sin did not bring Job’s adversity, but sincerity brought Job’s adversity. Job wasn’t tried because of his perversion, but because of his purity.

In just 1 day; 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86,400 seconds Job encountered a lifetime worth of adversity. His adversity was occupational through his fortune. In verses 14-15 he loses 500 yoke of oxen. In verse 16, he loses 7000 sheep. In verse 17, he loses 3000 camels. His flocks and fortune are gone.

Then, adversity came emotional through his family. In verses 18-19, he visits 10 different funeral homes as all 10 of his children are dead. He goes on to face adversity which was physical through his fidelity. In 2: 7-8, we learn that Satan "smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. [8] And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.” As if this wasn’t enough, he not only faced occupational adversity through his fortune, emotional adversity through his family, physical adversity through his fidelity, but his greatest adversity was spiritual through his faith.

Job’s wife offers a suggestion that he just “curse God and die.” Job replies in 2: 10, "shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” However, over the next 36 chapters Job questions his faith in God.

In 3: 1-4 we read that Job, "cursed his day.” [2]And Job spake, and said,  [3] Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. [4]Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.” Then, he asks in verse 11, "Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?”

In 12: 4 we hear him say, "I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.” In 13: 24, he asks God, "hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy?”

In 14: 1-2, Job concludes that, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.  2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.” In verse 10 we read, "But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?”

In 16:11-12, he believes that “God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.  [12] I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark.”

In 19: 8-13, Job draws it to a conclusion, "He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths. [9] He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head. [10] He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. [11] He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies. [12] His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle. [13] He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.”

I have often heard people say, “We shouldn’t question God.” But, Job did. In fact, he questioned God repeatedly. He questioned his faith. He questioned his future. He questioned his Father.

There is a vast difference between questioning God and challenging God. Questioning God is human nature, because we aren’t God. We don’t understand His ways, His workings, and His will.

But, when a person charges God they are bringing an accusation to God. They are challenging God’s authority and ability. They are shaking their fist in the face of God in defiance and rebellion.

This was something of which Job wasn’t guilty. In 1: 22 we read that Job did not “charge God foolishly.” He questioned, but he never challenged.

One day, we’ll be on the other side of the veil and we’ll see things from God’s viewpoint. But, until that day, we look at things from this side of the veil and we have more questions than answers, because we don’t understand what God is doing.

There are many things that I do not know or understand. There are many things that are far too wonderful for my finite mind to conceive. But, of everything I do not know, there are 2 things of which I am absolutely certain: 1) There is a God; and, 2) I’M NOT HIM!!

He doesn’t answer to me. He doesn’t report to me. He owes me no explanation or justification. He has never leaned over the sapphire sill of Heaven’s splendor to ask my permission.

He is God of Himself. He is God in Himself. He is God all by Himself. Secondly, I want to move you to not only see Job’s impeccable reputation, but:


Job was a man with an impeccable reputation. He possessed priceless integrity which resulted in matchless adversity. He remained true to God, but there were also many times when he questioned God’s plan, purpose, and program.

Throughout all of Job’s questions, as well as his friend’s statements, God has remained silent. But, when you come to Job 38 the court of Heaven is called to order. The audience is called to rise as he gavel goes down on the bench, and God shows up and speaks up.

In His speech, God revealed 2 irrefutable truths. First:


For 37 chapters, God has been completely, totally and utterly silent. God was well aware of what was taking place in Job’s life; in fact, He was the One who signed the permission slip. But, while He was aware of it, He has yet to say anything about it.

Job questions his faith, his future, his friends, his family, and even His Father. Finally, when you come to Job 38 God shows up and speaks up. In fact, we read in 38:1 that, "the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind.”

What a picture! God has been silent for a long time, when suddenly, out of nowhere God bursts onto the scene in a “whirlwind.” I’m sure that it’s safe to say that God has Job’s attention.

When God finally speaks, He reestablishes His sovereign authority in the eyes of Job. Listen to it in 38:2-6, "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? [3] Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.  [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? [6] Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof?”
God sets the record straight once and for all. Job is reminded of how little he is, and how big God is.

School is in session and the lesson continues in 40:7-14, "Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 8 Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? 9 Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? 10 Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. 11 Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him. 12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place. 13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret. 14 Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.”

God reminds Job, as well as us that when you can’t see His hand you must trust His heart. If He’s silent, it’s not because He is asleep. He is still at the wheel. He is still in control. He is still in charge. He is still on the throne, and nothing is out of His sight.

Just because you don’t see Him, you can’t hear Him, or you’re not able to understand Him doesn’t mean that He has forsaken or forgotten you. He is still God of Him, in Himself and all by Himself.

Once sovereign authority is reestablished:


Job gets a glimpse of God. Job gets a glimpse of glory. When he does, he responds to it the only way a person could respond to it. Job responds in 40:2, "Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.”

Then, we read in 42:2-3, "I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.  [3] Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.”

I love verses 5-6, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. [6] Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

Job comes to the full realization of the fact that God knows what he does not know; God sees what he cannot see; God understands what is impossible for him to understand.

He realizes that in spite of his occupational adversity through his fortune, his emotional adversity through his family, his physical adversity through his fidelity; and, his spiritual adversity through his faith that his God is still big enough to turn to, trust in, look to and lean on.

In the first 37 chapters all Job could see was adversity. But, from Job 38-42 all he can see is Deity. And the bigger God became, the smaller his troubles became.

I care not what your problem may be today, if you will get a clear picture of God, through the eyes of faith, your problem will hail in comparison to Him. I remind you that whatever God touches always becomes better; but, even if He doesn’t touch your situation, let Him touch you.

As Helen Lemmel expressed it:

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face.

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim.

In the light of His glory and grace."

He is so big that when we see Him, His deity, sovereignty and glory block our view of anything else. He becomes all we see, because He is all we need to see.

Finally, I call your attention not only to Job’s impeccable reputation, Job’s irrefutable revelation; but to:


Now, we come to Job 42. Much has transpired in the first 41 chapters. Job has endured the trial of the century, occupationally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. He has questioned his faith, his future, his family, his friends, and even his Father.

Suddenly, God appears in a “whirlwind” to reveal Himself to Job, and all Job can do is humble himself in “dust and ashes.” Theology 101 is over, Job’s term paper is complete, and he is ready to graduate from God’s university of faith.

Thus, in Job 42 we witness an incredible restoration of a man who had lost it all. This restoration is three-fold, beginning with:


I have said that with friends like Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite who needs enemies. These 3 men have berated Job, belittled Job, and betrayed Job.

Thus, God decided to have a little fun with them. These men come to present an offering to the Lord, but the Lord informs them, in 42:7-8, "My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. [8] Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept.”

Get the picture. These 3 men have played the part of spiritual know-it-alls in their critique of Job’s life. Job has been down, and they have kicked him while he was down.

They come to give an offering, but God tells them that he will not accept their offering. Rather, they are to go and have Job pray for them, and God will accept Job’s offering of thanksgiving.

I can just see these 3 boys, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar as they try to digest crow for lunch. They walk up to Job, clear their throat and say, “Brother Job, uh, would you mind praying for us?” What a turn of events!

As a result, in verse 9, “The Lord also accepted Job.” And, in verse 10, "the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends.”

I wonder if, while Jesus was preaching the greatest sermon ever preached titled, “The Sermon on the Mount,” He was thinking of Job’s story when He said, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; [45] That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5: 44-45)

Proverbs 16: 7 says that, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be a peace with him.” The very people, who may talk about you, mistreat you, betray you and belittle you, may be the very people who come looking for you one day for spiritual help.

If people are talking about you, you need not jump on the telephone and talk to Mr. Forked-Tongue, Mrs. Dirty-Laundry Lips, Brother Jabber jaw, or Sister Snaggletooth about them. You should pick up Heaven’s hotline and talk to Doctor Jesus about them.

With the rebuke of his friends comes:


Job did supernaturally what he could not do naturally in praying for his so-called friends. As a result, we read in verse 10, "the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

We read in verse 12, "So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.”

Job began in chapter 1 with 7,000 sheep; and, he ends up in chapter 42 with 14,000 sheep. He started out in chapter 1 with 3,000 camels; and, he winds up in chapter 42 with 6,000 camels. He began with 500 she asses, and he finishes with 1000 she asses.

He was rich before, but now He is extremely and enormously wealthy. Why? Notice carefully the end of verse 9, “the Lord accepted.” Look at verse 10, “the Lord gave.” Look at verse 12, “the Lord blessed.”

Job was accepted. Job was given. Job was blessed. Who did it? God did it! Job may not have demanded it, desired it, or deserved it; but, God delivered it. Why? It’s called GRACE, GRACE, GRACE, GRACE, GRACE!

Finally, after the rebuke of his friends and the recovery of his fortune, we see:


Job is the recipient of double with his fortune, but not with his family. He began with “seven sons and three daughters.” He ends in 42:13 with, “seven sons and three daughters.”

Can I suggest that the reason Job didn’t receive double children is because he didn’t lose the first children. They were dead, but not lost. Job knew exactly where they were.

I want you to pay close attention to the names Job assigns to his 3 daughters in verse 14, "he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch.”

I believe you would agree that those are not names that are used today, but those names are a tribute that Job paid to the goodness of God. Those names are Job’s way of giving thanks for all that God had done.

The name Jemima means, “Beautiful.” The name Kezia means, “Fragrant.” The name Kerenhappuch means, “Plenteous.” There were not 3 ordinary girls, but we read in verse 15 that, "in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.”

I can just imagine Job sitting on his porch. He smells like hell, because he has been through hell. He looks down at his arms and can still see the scab of his boils. He vividly remembers the day, which seems like an eternity, where he lost it all.

But, then, he remembers that God brought him to it, and God brought him through it. He remembers that God guided, but God also provided. He remembers that God did not forget him, forsake him, fool him, flee him, or fail him.

Then, he looks and sees Jemima playing in the yard and says to himself, “That’s the most BEAUTIFUL sight I have ever seen.” Kezia jumps up in his lap and Job thinks, “That’s the most FRAGRANT, and best smelling kid I’ve ever been around. He looks at Kerenhappuch and considers how PLENTOUS and bountifully God has blessed him.

Job’s faith has ended in sight with the rebirth of his family, and the names attributed to his children. These names are his testimony of thanksgiving unto God.

He is reminded that what the devil tried to use to defeat him, God used to deliver him. He sees that what the devil meant to crush him, God meant to crown him. He understands that what the enemy tried to use to humiliate him, God used to elevate him.

He knows that what the devil tried to make ugly, God had made beautiful through Jemima. He knows that what the devil tried to make a foul odor, God had made fragrant through Kezia. He knows that what the devil tried to use to deplete him, God used to make him plenteous through Kerenhappuch.


Ladies and gentlemen, that is thanksgiving living. Regardless of what you are going through right now, the Bible says, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

In other words, what the devil wants to use to destroy you, God will use to distinguish you. What the devil wants to use to demote you, God will use to promote you. What the devil wants to use to crush you, God will use to crown you.

What the devil wants to use to make you silent, God will use to make you shout. What the devil wants to use to burden you, God will use to bless you. What the devil wants to use to ruin your testimony, God will use to reveal your testimony.

The London plague of 1665 was terrible. Most shops closed, orphans roamed the streets, parents wailed and the dead were borne out daily. On July 16, 1665 businessman Walter Petherick, a widower with four children, took his family to the parish church. The sun was brilliant, the Thames River smooth. But, the heart of London was sad, and the somber church was packed. The minister read from Habbakuk 3, "Fig trees may no longer bloom, or vineyards produce grapes; olive trees may be fruitless, and harvest time a failure; sheep pens may be empty, and cattle stalls vacant, but I will still rejoice in the Lord."

That evening a horror fell over Petherick. He feared that his children would die. He called them together, read Habbakuk 3, sent them to bed, then knelt and prayed earnestly for the first time in years. He cried over each child saying, "If my children were snatched from me, how could I rejoice in the Lord?" He continued praying in anguish, "Spare him, oh, spare him. Spare her, oh, spare her. Oh Lord, have pity."

As he prayed he realized he had long neglected prayer and the Lord. He had been more concerned for "figs" and "olives," "cattle" and "harvest" than for the things of Christ. He wept, confessed and prayed all night until he found peace.

The next year as the Great Fire consumed London, it threatened Petherick's warehouse containing practically all of his earthly substance. This time, however, there was no anguish, just simple trust in God's will. He later wrote, "Lord, thou hast been pleased by pestilence and fire to redeem my soul from destruction. Thou didst threaten me with the loss of thy choicest gifts that I might set my heart's affections once more upon the Giver. But the fig tree did not wither, the vines did not perish, the olive did not fail. The pestilence did not touch my children; the flames did not destroy my goods. Accept the thanks of thy servant this day and help him, all his days, to rejoice in the Lord."

I don’t believe that we should just give thanks, but we should live thanks. I don’t believe that we should confine it to the 4th Thursday of each November as Thanksgiving, but every day of our existence should be filled with Thanksgiving Living.

Why? Because as Job’s great theological statement reminds us, in 1:21, "the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”


Posted in


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top