The reason a time of Thanksgiving was set aside was not only to thank God for His care and provisions, but to thank Him for what He had done in the history of our nation, esp. for the Pilgrims and the Mayflower Compact! Sadly, that is left out today even in churches because God has been censored from our history books by anti-God, anti-American history revisionists which has influenced far too many Christians to do the same. Reading the Mayflower Compact will help refute lies that God had nothing to do with America’s history. Read Judges 2:8-15 for what happened to the young Hebrews who had not been taught what God had done for their nation Israel. Sadly, it sounds like America today!
God’s Hand being on the Pilgrims is obvious when considering they were able to survive the 65 day journey over the ocean and had been educated in Biblical governing principles by their pastor, John Robinson. Even though he could not make the trip to America, the seeds of His teaching were planted here in America’s first governing document, “The Mayflower Compact.”
Although there had been problems finding a ship to the New World, arrangements were finally made to leave on the Mayflower, a cargo ship, on September 6, 1620. On the boat were 102 people; which included sailors, colonists/business men and 41 Pilgrims. Of that 41, only four were over fifty, four in their forties and remaining adults were in their thirties and twenties. There were also four children plus two dogs to hunt deer and cats (already on the ship to hunt rats there). Living conditions were no doubt a “challenge” with no fresh produce to eat, no privacy and little means to bathe or launder clothes for over two months!
Weather for the first part of the 65 days and nights over the vast ocean was relatively calm. But in the second half violent weather came which produced waves taller than houses that tossed the ship about, causing many people to be sick. During that time, John Howland was washed overboard but held onto a line and was saved.
A haughty proud sailor was always blaming the Pilgrims for being sick. He cursed them daily and even said he hoped to help cast half of them overboard before their journey’s end. “But it pleased God before they came half-seas over, to smite this young man with a painful disease, of which he died in desperate manner, and so was himself the first thrown overboard and buried at sea.” It appears God replaced that young man with a son born to Stephen and Elizabeth Hopkins during the journey. They named him Oceanus.
On November 9, 1620, the Pilgrims spied land. On that day, William Bradford in his journal which he kept, described their safe arrival in the New Word, “being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean.” They indeed practiced a life of thanksgiving!
Because of storms, the Mayflower did not arrive at its original destination. Had they landed at that destination, everyone on ship would still have been under English Law. But now, there was no law. Before leaving the ship, some of the “strangers” on the ship (not Pilgrims) were bragging about ungodly things they could do in the new land that had no law. The strangers were not internally governed by God’s Law so a document for external government was necessary. So the Pilgrims knew they must draft a governing agreement before leaving ship. With knowledge of Biblical civil governing principles taught them by their Pastor, John Robinson, they drew up the Mayflower Compact, the first civil governing document in America. On November 11, 1620, 41 men (not just Pilgrims) signed it. This was the first time in history “we the people” voluntarily joined together to form a system of civil government!
All this is a reminder that Thanksgiving is a time, not only to give thanks to God for His many blessings, but to teach the covenant made in the Mayflower Compact and what was the purpose stated there as to why the Pilgrims came to America. Even though their purpose was much like many churches today, i.e., for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, not many churches now refer to this great document even on this occasion of Thanksgiving and even though Americans through the years celebrated and remembered the Pilgrims’ sacrifices and their document:
THE MAYFLOWER COMPACT
In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under-written, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.
Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the eleventh of November [New Style, November 21], in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620.
Today, while thanking God for His many blessings, Individuals, families and churches are encouraged to include thanking the Lord together for His Guiding Hand on the Pilgrims, so America could have the freedoms which He gives!
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth, Hebrews 11:13
You are also encouraged to read George Washington’s “First Thanksgiving Proclamation.” Note the many references to God. Sadly, there are people who have infiltrated the Christian community and are spreading lies that God had nothing to do with America’s founding. They desperately need to read all Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamations just for starters to learn the truth!