The Lord has been showing me many things over the past couple of weeks. And I would love to share with you all. This post might be a bit longer than usual, but my prayer is that you will make it through and that you will be encouraged by Psalm 78, just as I was.
"O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth..."
If there is one thing we, as Christians, should do, it is to listen to the words of the Lord. To be still, be silent, and to listen. He is speaking something over us that He doesn't want us to miss. Yet, there is so much noise in our lives that we barely know what quiet is anymore. I challenge you, set a timer or watch the clock for 5 minutes. Just five minutes. See how still and quiet you can be in those five minutes. I'll do it with you. Ready? Setting my timer and....go!
Done? How was it? Was it easy? Or did you begin to pick out every noise around you. Did you fidget or start thumbing through pages of a book? I'll be honest, I got to minute four before I took a peek at my phone to see how long was left. I sometimes do this exercise with youth when leading a D-Now or Bible Study. I just want to see how long they can go before they start moving and making noise. It's usually about two and a half minutes... Our lives are constantly filled with noise that when we sit in silence, it's almost deafening. I don't want to have so much noise going on in my life that I miss the words God is speaking to me.
"Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their forefathers -- a stubborn and rebellious generation..."
Not only do I want to hear the words of God, I don't want to forget his deeds and his commands. The God that reigns in the Old Testament is the same God who reigned in the New and still reigns today. The Bible gives us example after example of God providing for his people, even when they were stubborn. He loves them furiously, even in the valleys. Even when they refuse to live by his law. Let me tell you something, I am stubborn. I hate to be wrong and sometimes I have to have the last word, because I know that I am right. It is such a downfall and something that the Lord has helped me to change greatly. There are still times where I want to stomp my feet and yell "nuh-uh!" But, instead, I take a breath and think about my next statement before I speak it. I ask myself, "Am I really right in this situation?" "Is this argument even worth it?" I love leading and hanging out with high-schoolers, but I don't want them to see me as stubborn or rebellious in the ways of the Lord. As someone they look up to, to see how to do life, I want them to see someone putting their trust in God and keeping his commands.
"They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them."
If we are a Christian, there are significant points in our life where we can clearly see that the Lord was working. We can pinpoint experiences where God showed himself to us, whether by an event or through a person. In a book I'm reading by Beth Moore called "Believing God" she gives the readers a little timeline. You take the age you are now, divide by 5, and then divide up your timeline accordingly. (For example, mine has 5, 10, 15, 20, 25; it was convenient that I'm 25...) You mark the age you became a Christian and then start pinpointing different times in your life that God was at work. There have been countless since I accepted Christ, but I could even think of some that were before my salvation and even before I was born. For example, my grandfather's played a huge role in my parent's lives, which in turn played a huge role in my life. My maternal grandfather was a Godly man who encouraged his children daily, took them to church, and answered any and all questions they had about God. My paternal grandfather was in the Army, came home, sold vaccuums, then couldn't sell a single vacuum, because He knew God was calling him into the ministry. He became a preacher, playing a significant role in my father's life. Who would eventually share and explain the Gospel to me in our living room one night. Let us never forget what he has done, let us always see the wonders.
"He did miracles..."
"He divided the sea and led them through..."
"He guided them with cloud by day and with light from fire at night."
"He split the rocks in the desert and gave them water..."
"But they continued to sin against him..."
"They willfully put God to the test..."
"They spoke against God..."
The "yet" is powerful, don't miss it. Despite their harsh words against him, despite their unbelief, despite their wanting of more, despite their sin, despite their ungratefulness, despite anything and everything God had done for the people, he gave a command. A command that opened the skies and gave them manna. A command that provided them with all they could ever eat.
"They ate till they had more than enough, for he had given them what they craved."
And despite being given all they needed, they continued to sin. They continued to ignore the wonders. They didn't believe.
And God's anger rose against them.
They would seek him and turn to him again.
They would forget the wonders.
God's anger would rise against them.
They would seek him and turn to him again.
The people seemed to be caught in a vicious cycle.
"They remembered that God [Elohim] was their Rock, that God Most High [El Elyon] was their Redeemer."
"But...their hearts were not loyal to him, they were not faithful to his covenant."
What?! Despite all that God had shown them and all that He had given them! He lead them through a desert! He parted a sea and they walked on dry land! He rained down bread from Heaven! And they still were not loyal and faithful to him? Wait, aren't we doing the same? He provides for us in giving us everything we need to live. He takes care of us in every way, just like the birds have everything they need. Yet, he says that we are more important than the birds.
He sent his only Son to die on a cross for us. His son.
And yet, we continue to be like the people of the Old Testament. We forget the wonders he has done in our life and even before. We keep demanding more.
"Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath. He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return."
The "yet" is powerful, don't miss it.
Even though we rebel, even though we try and put him to the test, even though we forget the miracles and wonders he has done.
God is merciful. God is forgiving. God is powerful.
The other day I read Psalm 78 out loud. And I saw myself. I saw how I constantly forget the wonders and majesty of God and how I try to put him to the test. I saw how despite my unbelief at times, instead of destroying me, he forgives. And he keeps on revealing more and more of himself to me. My prayer is that one day I will not be caught up in the cycle of seeking God, forgetting his wonders, seeking God, forgetting his wonders. My prayer is that every day I will remember his deeds and his covenants, I will remember the wonders and the ways he has provided.
I will remember and proudly claim that he is my rock, my redeemer.
"He led them..."
"He guided them..."
"He beat back his enemies..."
Read Psalm 78.
See the wonders he has done. Remember where he has brought you from and through. Proudly claim him as your rock and your redeemer!
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