Giving Thanks

From there the Israelites traveled to Beer, which is the well where the LORD said to Moses, “Assemble the people, and I will give them water.” There the Israelites sang this song:

“Spring up, O well!
Yes, sing its praises!
Sing of this well,
which princes dug,
which great leaders hollowed out
with their scepters and staffs.”

Then the Israelites left the wilderness and proceeded on through Mattanah, Nahaliel, and Bamoth. After that they went to the valley in Moab where Pisgah Peak overlooks the wasteland. (Numbers 21:16-20)

When someone does something nice for you, thank them. God told the people that he would give them water. God did not give his people a beer. “Beer” is a Hebrew word that means “spring” or “well.” When they got to the spring of water, they sang a song about it, praising the water and giving thanks to those who had dug the well. They didn’t sing a song praising God. They didn’t praise God for providing it at all.

How come? Did they do something wrong? Did they make God angry or hurt God’s feelings? Not at all. Certainly it is appropriate to thank God for the food we eat, for the jobs we have, for the good things that come to us in life. But it is just as appropritate to praise those who grew and harvested the food, who cooked the food, who provide our jobs, who manufactured the joys we experience in life. It is people who bring us our food, who sign our paychecks, who keep the water flowing to our showers, who get the electricity into our home so we can watch the game on a Saturday afternoon on our televisions. It’s okay to praise those things that make our lives better, and to give thanks to those who make it possible. Loving people is the best way to show our love for God. To be happy with the people God loves, to praise them for jobs well done, makes God happy, too. Simply knowing we are happy makes God happy, too, after all.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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