The Gate of Thanksgiving 

As we have begun the biblical year of 5778, I would like to begin looking at some of the gates or issues the year ahead may hold for us. The Hebrew number eight, “chet” means “change”, and the pictograph for the word/number eight is a wall or fence. The meaning behind numbers and words is very significant in Hebrew, so the presence of “chet” in our year means God is likely to bring changes in regard to our boundaries, borders, limits, edges, or margins. 

While issues like physical borders and walls are obvious examples of how “chet” could be significant this year, the many inward limits and margins that should be present in our lives is likely to be under God’s microscope. With social media almost controlling our lives now, we need to be reminded of Ephesians 4:14 that warns us to not be, “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming”.  

We all create emotional, mental, and spiritual boundaries for our protection and to govern our beliefs. Proverbs 13:20 tells us, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm”. Our close friends greatly impact us, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered”. Proverbs 22:24. We all need close friends who are willing to tell us the truth, regardless of how painful it might be because Proverbs 27:6 says the, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses”. If we work too much without rest, neglect our health, or worse neglect our family, we can find ourselves living on the edges of what was once our world.  

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10 

The idea that change is imminent can be disconcerting, until you realize that it means God has a plan and it has now begun. Change isn’t always fun, but it’s not bad; it’s necessary. Has God been stretching you, adjusting things in your life, transforming you or someone you love? 

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited. Isaiah 54:2-3 

Charles Spurgeon, who had Isaiah 48:10 on a plaque in his bedroom said, “It is no mean thing to be chosen of God. God’s choice makes chosen men choice men…we are chosen, not in the palace, but in the furnace. In the furnace, beauty is marred, fashion is destroyed, strength is melted, glory is consumed; yet here eternal love reveals its secrets, and declares its choice.” 

Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. Isaiah 58:12 

It’s truly a paradox that God’s gifts usually require some work on our part. God delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians and led them to the Promised land that He promised to “give” to them, but it became clear quite quickly that they were going to have to fight battles and conquer fortified cities to inhabit the land. God gave, but they still had to fight. God wanted them to participate in the destiny He had prepared for them. Battle has always been the door to a life of joy. 

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100:4-5 

Often when we face obstacles, we get stuck and downtrodden, but where there is a wall, there is a gate. It’s easy to forget that it’s not our life we are living, and it’s not our gate or city we are entering. When we lift our eyes from our situations, we can see a God who gave everything for us and who is worth living for. When we begin to give thanks from a heart set free, the gate opens and we have access to Him and all He has prepared for us. 

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:16-17 

I wonder how many times the Lord draws near to us but we are just as unaware of His presence as Jacob was at Bethel. So often we try to find a way to escape a situation we find ourselves in, only to discover that God has arranged the situation to bring change and deliverance into our lives. 

Blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. Genesis 22:17 

Whether you believe God is bringing change into your life, or perhaps you’re facing something that can only be from the enemy of your soul, one thing remains true, every gate belongs to God. And only God can give you possession of them, regardless of who holds them currently or what their goals many be. God has a plan and it has now begun. Give thanks! 

Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle. Psalm 24:7-8 

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