Dayenu, praise and thanksgiving

In sacrament meeting today we had talks about faith during times of adversity. For some reason, these talks mad me think about the lack of faith expressed by the Jews in the desert. Even though they had been led out of captivity by god and miraculously brought through the desert, they still griped and complained about everything. Their problem was that they failed to recall the miracles that they had already experienced and be thankful

Jeffrey R. Holland referenced this in his talk Cast Not Therefore Your Confidence Away ( Which I have written about in the past )

“That is exactly the problem that beset the children of Israel at the edge of the Red Sea. That is lesson number two. It has everything to do with holding fast to earlier illumination. The record says, “And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid.”

Some, just like those Paul had described earlier, said, “Let’s go back. This isn’t worth it. We must have been wrong. That probably wasn’t the right spirit telling us to leave Egypt.” What they actually said to Moses was, “Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? . . . It had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness” (Exodus 14:10–12).

And I have to say, “What about that which has already happened? What about the miracles that got you here? What about the frogs and the lice? What about the rod and the serpent, the river and the blood? What about the hail, the locusts, the fire, and the firstborn sons?”

How soon we forget. It would not have been better to stay and serve the Egyptians….”

There is a famous Passover song that beautifully expresses this idea the Dayenu that expressed the appreciation that each act of God in and of itself is sufficient to deserve our praise.  It goes through 15 things that God did for the people of Israel in taking them out of Egypt and bringing them to the promised land. They progressively intensify from acts involved in leaving slavery, to miracles in the desert, to the formation of a spiritual relationship with God.

A typical Verse

“ If he had given us the Torah and had not brought us into the land of Israel – Dayenu, it would have sufficed.”

On this week of thanksgiving this is a beautiful way to become more thankful for all that we have. Recount your blessings beginning with the most simple of all—life itself. Realize that each blessing by itself would be enough to put us in God’s debt eternally. Yet, he has given us more and more infinitely. He has given us bodies, a loving and caring savior and a plan of salvation. He has let us be born in the fullness of time to be able to experience the blessings of the temple and to help our ancestors become more perfected. He has given us much more than we can ever adequately recall. What a lovely way to think about Thanksgiving.


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