“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord.” Psalm 78:4
This rather lengthy psalm is quite a summary of the history of God’s dealings with His people as remembered by a human being (a significant insight for me this morning as I wrestled with some of the things attributed to God!) It was the “typical” God loved them- they rebelled- God disapproved- they repented- God blessed- they forgot- God reminded- they whined- “yet He was merciful—to a point………! I was especially taken by verse 34 and its description of how hard-headed we must be some times and to what extremes God has to go to get our attention. “Whenever He slew them, they would seek Him!” J And the rest of the story pretty much supports that idea of stubbornness on the part of His people!
So what were the characteristics of those people who just didn’t get it?! What I saw this morning focused around stubbornness, rebellion, and a lack of loyalty. And what were God’s qualities (as described and defined by Mr Asaph the human author? Faithfulness to a fault, frustration, and mercy. The trouble as I saw it in my journey through the story this time was that the people had short memories, and an inability to respond appropriately to their Master. When he would bless they would forget; when he showed mercy they would capitalize on the opportunity to get selfish and forgetful; but when He got angry they reacted but not permanently because when God would then “repent” and bless they would forget again! What’s a God to do?!
Even when they whined and complained in the desert about being thirsty and God brought water gushing from a rock they responded, not with thanksgiving but with complaining—“so now where is the food!?” Read it for yourself in verse 20! Poor God—though I personally do not subscribe to the idea that God causes bad but rather that He sometimes steps back from His merciful protection in response to my rebellion and allows the devil to do what he does best, it appears that that was the only way He could get their attention! How sad! I come back to the three qualities that I saw that described those people because IF I can focus on not having those qualities in my life then MAYBE I’ll be more attentive to His leading and more appreciative of His blessings. Stubbornness- I want it my way, now. Rebellion- I don’t care what You want I’ll do it MY way. And lack of loyalty- this one stood out most clearly to me today. Loyalty for me is a kind of trust and faithfulness in the “team” that keeps me going with the team even when things might not look so good. I’m afraid that is the quality I see lacking so often—sometimes I want to be “free” and able to pick and chose what I want in life and with God. Loyalty suggests that maybe I am better off being faithful than being free. And that was the quality I saw more often in this chapter as the determiner of success. I don’t want to be stubborn and I don’t want to be rebellious, but even more I want to be loyal to my God and faithful to Him as He decides the journey. He’s been faithful to me; I want to be loyal to Him.
Have a great day in loyalty,