You Can’t Can God!

In Psalm 78, Asaph gives a good description of Israel’s up and down relationship with God. They were supposed to instill faith in the next generations by telling them about God and His wondrous works on their behalf. They were told to teach them to their children, so they would put their confidence in God, but they didn’t always do that.

God had led them through the Red Sea, on dry land, and He had given them visible proof that He was there, in the cloud by day, and the fire at night. He had provided daily food, in the form of manna, and water from a rock. But they grew tired of the manna, they longed for the foods they had eaten in Egypt. They forgot about their miserable existence in Egypt, when they were slaves, and they remembered only, the foods.

They didn’t really have a heart for following God, in spite of the many miracles, so they spoke against God. They chose to forget all that He had done for them, and they said, “Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? We know He’s provided water, can He give bread also?” Then they took it one step farther, they said, “Will He provide meat for us?” The Lord heard their complaining, and He was angry with them, because they chose not to trust in His salvation, deliverance and provision for all their needs.

Over and over again, they grieved Him by their failure to remember His power, which was demonstrated in all that He had already done for them. Their failure to believe in His good intentions towards them, also grieved Him. They forgot the  Covenant that God had made with them, and they forgot that the land they were going to, was promised, as a part of that Covenant.

Because of their unbelief, they wandered in the wilderness for the next forty years, until that generation was gone. Their unbelief caused them to make an eleven day journey, last for forty years. Then, God brought the next generation into the land which He had promised. Their constant unwillingness to believe, caused them to fail to receive, all that God had promised. They questioned, first “Can God?” and then, “Will God?”

If God, Who is all powerful, gives His Word, why would I ask the question, “Can God?” If God, Who loves me, has said in His Word, “Don’t be anxious about your life, what you will eat, or what you will wear, or even about tomorrow,” should I ask, “Will He?” When I consider the lilies and the sparrows which He provides for, I know He will provide for me! Jesus said, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.” My part is to believe, He can and He will!

My Abba, Daddy

I love the Psalms, especially those written by David. The imagery and descriptive words really help me to capture the events, in pictures, as I read. This was my experience when I read Psalm 18 the other day. In fact I was laughing as pictures emerged of a loving, very protective father, almost over reacting, to the bullies that are terrorizing his needy child.

David starts the Psalm by addressing the Lord. He says, “I love Thee, O Lord, my strength.” Then he describes that strength as it relates to him. “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my shield, my stronghold, I call upon Him and He saves me from my enemies.”

He’s in a desperate place and in his distress he cries out to his God for help. And God hears his voice;  his cry for help came into His ears. God must have had His ears tuned to David’s voice. I love  what happen next. I can picture God, Abba Daddy, hearing his child’s cry and seeing his plight, He reacts with great emotion;  He sees red, so to apeak. He is extremely angry at David’s enemies.

In my picture, Abba says, “That’s it. It’s game over. That’s my boy they are picking on.” Then the earth shook and quaked, the foundations of the mountains were trembling and shaking. Smoke went up out of His nostrils and fire from His mouth. Even the heavens were involved; His voice thundered in the heavens and there were hailstones and  lightning flashes which confused and routed the enemy. Wow!

David says, “He sent from on high, He drew me out of many waters, He delivered me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me. He rescued me because He delighted in me.” As he ponders the ways of God, his confidence builds, and he believes that, infused with God’s strength, he can even “leap over a wall.” This is no small feat because the walls were wide and high.

He visualizes God training him so well for battle that, with his hands, he can bend a bow of bronze. As his faith grows the picture changes. No longer is he the one in trouble, crying out to his Abba to be rescued but now, he pursues his enemies, relentlessly. The one pursued becomes the pursuer. They cry for help, even to the Lord, but He does not answer them. They aren’t His children calling so He does not hear them.

Although David does not call God his Abba, Daddy, yet in his close relationship with his Heavenly Father as “a man after God’s own heart” it would have been fitting.  Those who are His children have a right to call God by the special, childlike name, “Abba.” Jesus, the Son of God, called upon His “Abba,” from the Garden of Gethsemane.  (Mark 14:36) We, as sons of God, can call Him “Abba.” (Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6)

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their cry.” Psalm 34:15  After meditating on the wonder of my Abba watching over me and listening for my cry, I couldn’t help but express my love and thanks to Him. Praise the Lord!

Waiting

Twice, in Psalm 62, David speaks of waiting in silence for God only. He comforts himself with the fact that his hope is in God Who is his rock of strength and his refuge.  He says in verse 8, “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”

David certainly knew what it was to wait for the fulfilment of God’s promises. He was anointed by the prophet Samuel (1 Sam 16) to be the king of Israel when he was a ruddy cheeked, young shepherd boy and it was not until 16 years later when he was 30 years old, (2 Sam 5) that he was finally recognized as such.

In all that time he was not sitting idle, just waiting, he was busy with every day life. He was brought to the palace as a musician for Saul. For awhile he went between the palace and the pasture, managing the sheep and doing errands for his father.

He believed he was destined for the throne according to God’s promise. His silence is a confident assurance that what God has promised He is able to perform and he is willing to wait for God’s timing.

I need to learn this kind of waiting in silence for all that He has promised me.

Mentors I have had

I have been fortunate to have many mentors at different times in my life. One mentor that I had when I was a young mother was Lois Webb. She taught me so much about being a good mother to my children. She also taught me to bake bread and how to sew clothes for my children and myself. She was busy as the Pastor’s wife and yet she spent time teaching me. She was a godly woman I could follow.

Another mentor that I have never even met but is a woman I owe a debt of gratitude to, is Kay Arthur. From her studies I learned how to study the Word of God for myself. Because of her I love the Word and have grown spiritually through the years.

Wisdom Writings

Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, wrote the book of wisdom we call, “Proverbs.” He wrote these warnings and precepts to teach his son how to have the best life possible and they are truly remarkable in their creativity, common sense and character. I try to read one every day and find much in them to think about.

I found Proverbs 8  full of some interesting nuggets. Wisdom, personified, says “I love those who love me, and those who diligently seek me will find me.” Later, she says, “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old – before the mountains – before the hills,- while He had not yet made the earth and the fields, nor the first dust of the world.” Wisdom, hmm! Must be something I should seek!

One Event That Changed My Life

What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?

When I was a teenager at Youth camp I felt so close to God. Every night after the evening service I joined other young people around the altar spending time in the presence of the Lord. One night, in particular I felt that I was in the presence of Jesus, like He was so close I could reach out and touch Him. All I could say was “Jesus” over & over again.

It changed my life because years later when I went through a time of doubt & confusion, I was reminded of that time at Youth camp & how real Jesus was as I worshipped Him.