Monday, April 22, 2013


On Sunday morning I was reading in my Chronological Bible.  I’m at the point where David has been fleeing from King Saul, and the editors have incorporated some of the Psalms into the narrative portions.  I always love this part.  The Psalms take on new meaning in their context.  Imagine David holed up in a cave, fleeing from Saul, lifting up to Jehovah his fears and worries, and ultimately his hope and confidence in Him (Psalms 57 and 142).
Yesterday I read Psalm 78, which is a psalm of Asaph, describing part of the history of the Israelites, including their failure to trust in God in the desert.   A couple of the verses really hit hard:
“They [the Israelites] spoke against God;
they said, “Can God really
spread a table in the wilderness?
True, he struck the rock,
and water gushed out,
streams flowed abundantly,
but can he also give us bread?
Can he supply meat for his people?”
(Psalm 78:19-20)
The Israelites had witnessed a miracle in the desert, water from solid rock.  But, they continued to grumble, questioning whether or not God could continue to meet their needs. 
The next verses are understandable but not comfortable.  God gets angry.  Furious.  The Israelites did not trust in Him to provide and God shows His displeasure with them in powerful ways.
Do I, too, make God angry with my constant whining?  How many times has He provided a miracle in my life?  How many times has water gushed out of a rock, allowing me to drink deeply?  I thought my thirst was going to be the death of me, and then, water, cool and sweet, poured out of solid rock.  I praised God for His goodness and provision.
But time passes.  A new fear or challenge comes along.  I get to thinking that it’s been a while since I’ve seen something amazing happen.  The water is long gone and now my tummy has started to rumble.  I get hungry.  So hungry. 
Like the Israelites, I start to wonder, Can God really give me bread?  And, some meat would be pretty great, too.  But, I’m not sure… it’s been a while, and this is much more than a bit of thirst.  Can God really spread a table?  After all, the wilderness I’m in is vast.
Asaph goes on verse after verse describing how God was faithful to provide, but Israel kept on sinning.  That God showed His righteous anger at their disbelief, but how they still sinned.  I’ve never seen literal water gush from a literal rock, but I cannot deny the blessings of God in my life.  There have been miracles, abundant miracles.    
The psalm ends with the hope that came with the new king, King David.  As we know, David would mess up, and big time.  He was also a man after God’s own heart.  And, from him would come a King who would never fail.  A King who would be tempted in every way we have been, but would not sin. 
I’m so thankful for God’s love and mercy.  That when I turn from my sin and confess my failure to trust Him, He is faithful to forgive.  But, I’m tired of needing to ask for that forgiveness.  I’m tired of my whining.  I’m tired of saying, True, You have done amazing things, but can You also do this? 
Forgive me, Father, for being like the Israelites.  Forgive me for acting as if You have reached Your miracle-limit.  Forgive me for how quickly I begin to doubt and whine.  Thank you for Your love and forgiveness.  Thank you for Your Word, which pierces my heart and draws me to You. 
True, You have caused water to gush from the rock, and Yes, You are really able to spread a table in the wilderness.  You invite me to that table, to join in a banquet with You.  May I sit and eat and remember Your goodness.  Today, and tomorrow and forever.

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