The biblical text is Nehemiah 9:6.

Although the 9th chapter of Nehemiah is a time of confession, prayer and worship, it gives us a picture of God's generous providence.

We must not disassociate God’s providence from our expressions of thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving seasons have a rich heritage in the history among God's people.
The people of God in the O. T. celebrated the Feast of Weeks, what we commonly call Pentecost, which is a form of thanksgiving.

After the first harvest of 1621, the American Pilgrims celebrated a day of Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving Day became a tradition and eventually became a national holiday in this country.

In the Bible, we find that God commands thanksgiving as we worship.

Psa. 100:4 - "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."

Thanksgiving is an act and expression from the saints of God for God’s divine providential care.

The providence of God is profound and sometimes seems so difficult that some preachers simply avoid the doctrine of God's providence. 

It is a great privilege to examine the full counsel of God so we might discover the richness of God’s glory.

Before we consider this most wonderful doctrine, I should explain the meaning of the word providence as relates to God's economy

Providence - From Latin "pro" and "videre"
meaning to see before hand
Audio to hear video to see

God is not merely a spectator. He does not merely know in advance what will happen through his foreknowledge.

God knows your needs in advance because He plans in advance. 

The late Dr. John Murray once said that there are occasions on which we may discover the divine reason of the events of providence.

The doctrine of God’s providence consists of four

Today I want to review these 4 sub-divisions relative to the providence of God so we may worship Him with a heart of thanksgiving.
(1) sustenance   
(2) government
(3) provision
(4) concurrence

1)  Sustenance -  What God creates he sustains.  He holds all things together.

The universe and everything within it is dependent upon the being and power of God for continuity of existence as well as origin of existence.

Acts 17:28 - "For in him we live and move and have our being."

The Universe was  not created and left  like a clock ticking away to point of expiration.

Not one molecule - Atom - sub-atomic particle is out of place.

God not only created you he sustains you - in the words of Jonathan Edwards "He is recreating you" by His power.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks to God for his sustaining power.

2)  Government of God - God is the Supreme Governor who rules the world because of his
absolute  authority and power to govern.

God's absolute authority gives Him the right to govern all that he creates.

God's power gives Him the ability to govern all that he creates.

Daniel 4:34-36 – God humiliated the great and powerful king so that Nebuchadnezzar ate grass like a cow. 

When King Nebuchadnezzar came to his senses he said that:
 God's dominion is an everlasting dominion
 Kingdom endures from generation to generation

Jesus Christ, the living God, is king of the universe. 

His government is the directing and disposing of all things that happen.  There is no sphere in which God is not involved.

The adversarial disposition of man is to reject the government of God.

Natural man, without Christ, rejects the absolute authority and  power of God.

Christians are called to respect the government of God.

At this Thanksgiving season let us give thanks to God for His governing hand over us.

God's providence consists not only of his:
 1)  sustenance
 2)  government
but also His: 3)  Provision

God not only prepares for our future needs by sustaining and governing His people, but He actually meets all our needs.

God provided the ultimate need of his people by  sending his only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to redeem his people.

The ultimate provision was the substitionary atonement of Jesus Christ to satisfy the wrath of God.

The biblical pattern is that the Lord provides and his people are grateful.

Thanksgiving is not possible for the atheist because the atheist has no reason to be thankful.

Why,  because the atheist does not believe that God exists and therefore cannot thank a non-existent being.
i.e. - from nothing - comes nothing

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks to God for his provision to his people.
So far: sustaining power – governing hand and abundant provision.
One concept of God's providence often overlooked:

4)  Concurrence - God's plan is brought to pass by his sovereignty through human means.

 i.e.   Joseph and his brothers.  Joseph sold by his brothers into slavery. (Gen 37)

40 years later Joseph told his brothers what they meant for evil, God meant for good.   

Romans 8:28 - And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

When we come to understand God's providence, we can praise God.

Neh. 9:6 You alone are the LORD;
      You have made heaven,
      The heaven of heavens, with all their host,
      The earth and everything on it,
      The seas and all that is in them,
      And You preserve them all.
      The host of heaven worships You.

You offer thanksgiving to God first because He created you.

Then you offer thanksgiving to God because of His generous and His kind providence.

The prayer in Neh. 9 is an example of sinful people confessing their sins but, with a heart of thanksgiving, for God’s generous providence over them.

The prayer in Neh. 9 comes after 70 years of bondage.  The Israelites had been slaves to the Babylonians for 70 years, but God used Ezra and Nehemiah to restore the Israelites to their land, rebuild the temple, and revive the city of Jerusalem.

Ezra's prayer in Neh. 9 reminds the people of God's grace and powerful providence.

Ezra reminds  them of how God provided for them in Egypt, at the Red Sea, in the desert, at Sinai, during the conquest of Canaan, through the period of the Judges.  He reminded them of their rebellion the consequences of their actions.

(The history of nearly 1500 yrs. of God’s generous providence.)

You will notice at the beginning of  vs. 6 that God alone, without any pre-existing material created heavens and earth.

Just stop and think about the very nature of creation.  Why would God create something and then not provide for it.

The material things in the universe do not continue on their own power or some dynamic principle of science.  It is the will of God that all things will continue as God decreed that they would continue.

Jesus said:  "Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from the Father's will and even the very hairs of your head are numbered."

Have you ever thought about thanking God for the number of hairs on your head?

Have you ever thought about thanking God for every detail of life?

Have you ever thought about thanking God for every natural catastrophe, every sickness and everything that happens?

1 Thess 5:18 – in everything give thanks

Can we say like Job - "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." (Job 13:15).

Or do we have the words on our lips like the Israelites in Ezekiel 18:29 - "But the house of Israel says, The way of the Lord is not right."

Our hearts should be filled with gratitude because of the prosperity and favorable circumstances of our estate.

Many professing Christians live with anxiety and distrust as they unnecessarily concern themselves about the necessities of life.  Many professing Christians act as if God has neither the ability nor any interest in daily needs.

Our Lord Jesus said:  "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth"

In another place the Lord said:  "I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. 

Obviously our Lord does not mean that we should not work hard, because the Bible commands us to work hard.  (Ex. 20:9; 34:21)

However you must not worship the work of your hands.

Sermon in a capsule:  Worship God with thanksgiving for creating you and providing for you.  Worship the Lord Jesus Christ because He provided salvation for your soul.  Worship the Holy Spirit for empowering you to believe the gospel.