Religion column: Look for encouragement from men of Bible

This week, the focus is on some men of the Bible who no doubt realized that God was the source of their spiritual sustenance. Their lives as well as the women’s lives in last week’s column reveal that even the smallest little happening in a day can be the result of a Holy God meeting our spiritual and emotional needs at any one time. We all can gain encouragement from looking at the lives of the men in the Bible who were thankful.

Some men are well known and some not so well known.

Jacob was grateful to learn that his long lost son Joseph was still alive.

Joseph’s 11 brothers were grateful to Joseph that he was forgiving and that he took them in, thereby saving their lives and the lives of their families during the famine.

Moses was thankful for Aaron who spoke for him and assisted him when he approached Pharaoh.

Aaron was thankful to be one that God used to support Moses in this daunting task of leading the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Joshua was thankful for God’s guidance while guiding the children of Israel into the Promised Land.

Caleb was grateful to work with Moses and Joseph and his gratefulness contributed to his faithfulness.

Samson was at first grateful for his great physical strength, although he compromised his commitment to God and pride and lust became his ruination.

Gideon was thankful that God used his little 300 man army to defeat the huge Midianite army who were going to attack the Israelites.

Samuel was thankful that God impressed upon his heart to seek out David, the least likely of all Jesse’s sons, to be the next King of Israel.

Mordecai was grateful that his adopted daughter Esther followed his advice and thus was able to save her own people.

Nehemiah was thankful that he could rebuild Jerusalem’s walls.

The prophet Nathan spoke a word from God convicting David of his adultery. Yet, he was do doubt grateful that David repented of his grave sin.

Job was thankful that God restored his health and gave him more family.

Solomon was grateful that God gave him the gift of wisdom.

Jeremiah was grateful that God granted him assurance even in distressful and discouraging times.

Isaiah was so thankful for his calling and his relationship with God that he boldly proclaimed God’s word of judgment against the economic, social, and religious problems of their time.

Philip was so excited and thankful to find Jesus that he invited Nathanael to “come and see” the one that Moses and the prophets had written about.

Blind Bartimaeus was so thankful that Jesus recognized him and gave him his sight.

Zacchaeus was thankful that Jesus stopped and looked up in the sycamore tree and told Zacchaeus that he was going home with him for supper. As a result of that encounter, Zacchaeus accepted Christ and repented.

Cornelius, a Roman centurion, was grateful that Peter told him about Jesus and Cornelius was saved.

Peter was thankful that Jesus forgave him after he had denied Christ tree times.

Apollos, a Jewish Christian, spoke courageously about Jesus and he was grateful that Priscilla and Aquila gave him further instruction in the faith.

Onesimus, a runaway slave, was grateful that Paul sent a letter to Philemon asking him to accept Onesimus back, not as a slave but as a brother.

John was thankful that he was allowed to see visions and evidences of the New Jerusalem.

All these men were thankful. They saw their situations and the events of their lives in the perspective of gratitude to God. That is a wonderful thought and example for us at Thanksgiving.