Thanksgiving 2022 - In That Day We Will Give Thanks!
Let me begin by saying that what we will see in our text this evening is not normal. In our sinful nature we do not acknowledge God and give thanks to Him (Romans 1:21). No, it is our nature to be haughty, prideful, ungrateful and arrogant. If we were to read Isaiah 1-11 we would see so clearly that sinful people are ungrateful people. Israel, God’s own people, were ungrateful and haughty. Israel’s enemies were prideful and arrogant.
In Isaiah 12, however, we are going to see see that there would be a day when God’s people would be changed. God would do such a profound work in them that they would be humble, thankful, and a worshipful people. There are so many reasons why we ought to thank God but until He changes our hearts we will be ungrateful towards Him.
Let’s read Isaiah 12:1-6,
You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.
2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 And you will say in that day:
“Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth. 6 Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
We have gathered here this evening for our Thanksgiving Service and each of us wants to offer to the LORD our personal gratitude and thankfulness for all that He has so graciously done for us. We have also gathered here with many others so that we could corporately offer up our thanksgiving to God with one voice and with one heart of gratitude.
Our text begins with personal worship and thankfulness to the LORD. In Isaiah 12:1-2 the pronoun ‘you’ is singular. Each of us has a personal responsibility to give thanks to the LORD because of all that He has done for us. This evening we should take some time to consider Christ and our salvation and respond by saying, “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.” (1)
As we consider the Gospel of Grace and the salvation that we have in Christ our hearts should be compelled to say, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” (2)
As we come to Isaiah 12:3-5 we will then see that our personal thanksgiving will result in us gathering together to praise the LORD in corporate worship. In these verses both pronouns are plural so these verses shift from personal praise to corporate prayer, praise, and proclamation. We read, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.”
Our text also reminds us that when this day comes we not only remember all the good things that God has done in the past but we will acknowledge that the wells of salvation and of grace have been set before us to enjoy everyday. Therefore we can say with the Puritan preacher Thomas Brooks who said, “Give, LORD, give; give us more of Thyself, more of thy Son, more of thy Spirit, give us more light, more life, more love.”
Then as we come to the end of our text we see that when we come together God’s presence is in our midst in a special way. In verse 6 the pronoun ‘you’ is singular again. We read, Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” When believers gather together and give thanks they are joined together in a special way and that the LORD will be in our midst.
As we consider these things we may want to ask ourselves, ‘Is my heart prepared to celebrate and to give thanks to the LORD?’
As I consider this congregation it may be easier for some to give thanks with joy then it will be for others. Some have so much to be thankful for. Some of you have gotten married in the past year, some have had kids, some have started a new job, most of us are healthy, many of us will be with their family and friends to celebrate the holidays this year.
But there are others who may struggle during this holiday season. Some have lost loved ones, some have been sick throughout this past year, some of you are struggling with anxiety and depression, and some of you will not get to see your family and friends over the holidays.
Twice in our text we are told that there would be a day when the people of God would be thankful (1, 4). We are also told twice that there would be a day when God’s people would gather together and rejoice in what the LORD has done (3, 6).
I wonder, is this day that is mentioned in Isaiah 12 able to overshadow any other experience we might have had so that we can be thankful and worshipful this year?
Twice in our text we read that there will be a particular day when God’s people will be able to individually and corporately give thanks to the LORD with joy. We read in Isaiah 12:1, ‘You will say in that day: I will give thanks to you, LORD…’. We read in Isaiah 12:3-4, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the LORD…”.
This should make each of us ask, ‘Has this day come? Is there reason for us to be thankful and joyful?’
If you read the book of Isaiah it seems pretty clear that this particular day had not yet come for Isaiah’s audience. In Isaiah 12:1 and 3-4 we can see this by the verb tenses that Isaiah uses. He speaks about something that will happen in the future. Verse 2 says, “You will say in that day…”. And verses 3-4 he says, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day…”.
Isaiah spoke to a people who would not see this day come in their lifetime. In fact, Isaiah has been telling them that their future looked pretty bleak because of their sin.
Yet, even though God has spoken about the judgment that will come upon them He has told them that He would one day restore them and fulfill all of His promises to them. In that day they would be grateful, thankful and praise Him for all that He has done.
In the opening pages of this book we are shown several enemies of God’s people that will need to be defeated before this day would come. These enemies are too great for the people to deliver themselves. But God has promised to save His people from these things.
First, we have seen that the people of God were their own worst enemy. They did not remain faithful to the LORD and they continually sinned against Him. They did not walk according to God’s Word but rejected it in their sinful pride (5:15, 24). Because of this sin God’s people were sickly and yet they would not return to the LORD to be healed (1:5-6).
Yet, God promises to save His people from this enemy in passages like Isaiah 2:2-3, “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: ‘Come let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”
The second enemy that needed to be overcome was the Assyrians who would defeat Israel and carry them into exile. The LORD Himself raised up the Assyrians because of Israel’s great sin against the LORD (8:1-10). Assyria was the instrument of God’s wrath against them but they were far more ruthless towards God’s people than they needed to be. They showed no mercy and their hearts were full of arrogance and pride. The king of Assyria did not fear the LORD so the LORD promises to deliver His people from their hand. In Isaiah 10:12 we read, “When the LORD has finished all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes.”
The third enemy that had to be overcome was Israel’s sin which provoked God’s anger and wrath against them. Because of their sin God’s anger was justified and His response was just. But even after God’s judgment had come upon the people for their sin the LORD’s anger would remain. Therefore one of the repeated lines in this book says, “For all of this His anger has not turned away, and His hand is stretched out still.” (5:25; 9:17, 21; 10:4)
Throughout the book of Isaiah we see that God promises to save His people from all three of these things.
God Himself promises to heal His people from their propensity to sin and from their faithlessness.
He promises to save His people from their enemies both worldly and spiritual.
He also promises to save them from the wrath and judgment that they deserve from Him because of their sin.
God alone can do this and on the day that He does it His people will be thankful and experience great joy.
To do this the LORD promises that He will send the Messiah. For example, in Isaiah 9:6-7 we read, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of his peace will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”
In Isaiah 11 the LORD promises that in that day He will bring the Messiah from the stump of Jesse which will bear much fruit (11:1-2). The Spirit of the LORD will rest upon Him and He will lead His people with wisdom and understanding; with counsel and might; with knowledge and the fear of the LORD. He will delight in doing the will of God and He will restore justice and righteousness.
In Isaiah 11:10 we are told that in that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal for the peoples. People will come from all around the world and inquire of Him and He will give them rest.
We are given a wonderful promise in Isaiah 11:11. We read, “In that day the Lord will extend His hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of His people…”.
Up until this point in the book of Isaiah we have always seen God strike His people in judgment and His arm would remain outstretched as if to strike again. But in Isaiah 12 we are told that there will be a day when God would save His people and His anger would be turned away and He would comfort His people (12:1).
In the day when the Messiah came he saved us from our sins and from His wrath and judgment by living and dying for us. Because of this each one of us can say, “I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.” (1)
Now that God’s anger has turned away from us each one of us can look at Jesus and say, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.” (2)
Now that each of us have been given peace with God we can come together and ‘draw water from the wells of salvation’. And together we can say, “We will give thanks to the LORD. We will make His name known among the peoples. His name alone is to be exalted.” (2) As we think upon these things we can “Sing praises to the LORD and say, ‘He has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.’” (5) We can acknowledge what the LORD we can ‘Shout, and sing for joy, for great in our midst is the Holy One of Israel.’ (6)