In spite of all this…
Psalm 78, verse 32: “In spite of this they still sinned, And did not believe in His wondrous works.”
I encourage you to read Psalm 78 today. Each time I read it I am stirred, grieved, gripped, and motivated, all at the same time. The psalmist Asaph wrote to remind Israel why so many devastating judgments of God came upon them throughout their history. Throughout the 72 verses he highlights the highs and lows of multiple generations of God’s chosen people. Ultimately Asaph was prompting his people to remember their roots, both the horrific and the victorious, and to teach their children the Way.
I can’t get away, however, from how eerily familiar this text is in light of the history of our own great nation of the United States of America, as well as the state of the Church at large. Phrases like “they did not keep God’s covenant” and “they forgot what he had done”, “they continued to sin against Him” and “they did not believe in God or trust in His deliverance”, or even “they ate till they had more than enough, for He had given them what they craved” ring true to a nation and body of believers who have been so very blessed and yet now seem to be suffering. In some cases the attendance of the church is growing, but the covenant keepers are dwindling.
Asaph reminds his people how faithful God had been and how He had brought food in the midst of their rebellion (which is why they were STILL in the desert!). And then verse 32 and following verses bring the harsh reality check: “32 In spite of this they still sinned, And did not believe in His wondrous works. 33 Therefore their days He consumed in futility, And their years in fear. 34 When He slew them, then they sought Him; And they returned and sought earnestly for God. 35 Then they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer. 36 Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouth, And they lied to Him with their tongue; 37 For their heart was not steadfast with Him, Nor were they faithful in His covenant.”
When you look back over your life personally, even just over the past year, can you pinpoint a time when God failed you? No, He has most certainly never failed. He has always been faithful. Time and again God extends mercy to us, His children, because, as Asaph says in verse 39, He remembers we are but flesh and He stirs up His compassion toward us.
Our response to His faithfulness must be a continual pressing toward perfection in our faithfulness to Him. We as followers of Christ must use the mistakes of this chosen people as our reference, taking Asaph up on his challenge to tell the next generation the “praiseworthy deeds of the Lord”! Let us not be guilty of forgetfulness, forgetting what God has done, how He saved us from sin, the plan of destiny He has set out before each of us, how He has forgiven us–time and again, and the promise of an eternity with Him in Heaven.
As you review 2014 and dream big for 2015, resolve to remember His faithfulness, show your gratefulness, and remain faithful to the Covenant. “In spite of all this” how can we give Him any less than unswerving devotion to His commands. Be blessed in 2015, dear friends! The BEST is yet to come!