Daniel 12:1-3, Hebrews 10:11-25 and Mark 13:1-8
The word provoke usually means an act that could, in turn, lead to a “poke” as in “poke back!” A provocation between nations has been known to lead to armed conflict! This does not seem to be the best direction for a calm and thankful family Thanksgiving does it?
But to provoke in Hebrews 10:24 is to provoke to “love and good deeds.” Another translation uses the words “to stir up!” Either translation is a strong encouragement to earnestly demonstrate how Christians feel toward one another out of thanksgiving for what God in Christ (our final High Priest) has done for us! Gratitude leads to a good attitude! Especially toward the brothers and sisters as well as the neighbor, the stranger and even the enemy!
So, we arrive at being “provocative” around the Thanksgiving table. If used in the manner most often thought of “provoke” could lead to family feuds before everyone departs for their homes! Thus, we use it as intended in Hebrews 10:24!
Book ending this thanksgiving expressed in love and good deeds, however, is Daniel 12 and Mark 13 both speaking of a Final Wrapping Up, a great Stirring Up of all creation as God brings a great apocalyptic ending to non-love and bad deeds in all Creation.
Again there is Thanksgiving that God’s purposes will be fulfilled both in the work of Jesus on the Cross and in the Resurrection of all coming after the Resurrection of the first born I.e., Jesus!
When all is said and done the final word from us to God is “thanks.” From this response there is a great freedom to “provoke” love and do good to all. Sort of what you hope for at each Thanksgiving table or Thanksgiving gathering of family and friends, saints and sinners, the least and the lost, the loved and the forgiven!
Our hope is built on nothing less…..
Happy Provocative Thanksgiving!