Once again, our privileged nation is celebrating a season of Thanksgiving as a people perhaps more blessed than any nation in history. Founded on the principles of freedom found in Scripture, America has flourished as she revered the laws that God established for the liberty, happiness and prosperity of nations. Giving man freedom of choice, God instituted marriage, family and set the bounds of nations as the means of experiencing happiness and fulfillment in life.
Speaking of just the human experience, Solomon wrote … “I explored with my mind … I enlarged my works… built houses, … planted vineyards, made gardens and parks, …I planted fruit trees … made ponds of water for irrigation, …bought male and female slaves, … had home-born slaves … possessed flocks and herds, collected for myself silver and gold. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men — many concubines. Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. And all that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. (Eccl 2:3-10 NASB).
Note that his commentary focuses of the pronoun “I” and not God. Though the wisest king in history, he had lost perspective of Who was the Giver of every good and perfect gift. He had been taught the truth that the Apostle James would later pen... “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow” (James 1:17 NASB).
Therefore Solomon’s conclusion was in keeping with his postulate … Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun” (Eccl 2:11 NASB). For a time in his life, Solomon had failed to acknowledge the God of Israel as being the source of his prosperity, of his wisdom and of the time of peace that marked his reign. The wisest man on earth had forgotten his God and the teaching given him by his father ... “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations” (Ps 100:4-5 NASB). King Solomon did recover spiritually from a lifestyle of self at the center and ended his discourse on life by saying … “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person” (Eccl 12:13 NASB).
It was this adherence to divine commandments and respect for God that motivated our founding fathers to write the documents that framed and defined the liberties that were to govern our newly formed nation. By no means were all of our founding fathers believers in Christ, but they did possess a deep respect for God’s Word and understood the mandates and principles that are necessary for an orderly society. They recognized that the source of all blessings was not man but God.
The Psalmist penned one of the most frequently sung lyrics … “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Ps 100:1-5 NIV). Since the sixteenth century, Christians have sung Old Hundredth as a Doxology in their worship services.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.