Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday! I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my struggle day of the week. By Thursday, I have already been working hard at school and at home, and I just wish it would hurry up and be Friday already. LOL! I definitely need a little extra Jesus time on Thursdays.
In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite His wonders, they did not believe. So He made their days vanish like a breath, and their years in terror. When He killed them, they sought Him; they repented and sought God earnestly. They remembered that God was their Rock, the Most High God their Redeemer. But they flattered Him with their mouths; they lied to Him with their tongues. Their heart was not steadfast toward Him; they were not faithful to His covenant. Yet He, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; He restrained His anger often and did not stir up all His wrath.Psalm 78:32-38 (ESV)
In the days when God took Israel out of Egypt, He lavished upon His people miracle after miracle. He protected them. He fed them. He watered them. And He kept their clothes and shoes from wearing out (Deuteronomy 29:5). So, naturally, the Israelites were grateful and happy and full of LOVE for their Savior, right?
Wrong. The more God gave, the more the Israelites complained and whined. So God gave less and turned from His people. He gave them over to the desires of their hearts. Wouldn’t you know it, they started whining and complaining again. Because being of the world comes with serious consequences: degradation of spirit, enslavement, starvation, bodily harm, death, etc. So, the Israelites would cry out to God again. He would hear and save, they would turn on Him and run towards other gods. Time after time after time, the Israelites would break God’s HEART. But God would save. God always saves.
Psalm 78 captivated me this past week when I came across it in my daily Bible study. Mostly, it makes me sad. Sad for God. God’s number one goal for humans is that we would willingly enter into a relationship with Him. Do we humans bring something to the table that God couldn’t get without us? Not one thing. God doesn’t need us, humans, for anything. Yet He still craves a relationship with us. Why? Because He loves us. We are His creation and He loves us completely … warts and all. And how do we repay Him for His love? We smack Him in the face, we scream at Him, we blame Him for everything, we’re totally ungrateful, and we run after the things of our own hearts. This makes me utterly sad for God.
The hardest part about Psalm 78 for me is the way the psalmist describes the “relationship” cyle between God and humans. The pattern is as follows: God saves, humans complain, humans desire what the world has to offer, God gives them what they cry out for, humans realize the errors of their ways, humans cry out to God, and God saves. It’s a cycle that happens EVERY. SINGLE. GENERATION. It’s a cycle that is still happening today.
Everything boils down to a heart issue. Is our heart for God or for ourselves?
In Jeremiah 31:31-33 (emphasis mine), we are given the NEW COVENANT: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
In psalm 78, the problem is that God’s people’s hearts were not steadfast toward Him; they were not faithful to His covenant; they were not faithful to their HUSBAND. But in Jeremiah 31, God explains that He will one day have relationship with a people whose hearts are right. Hearts He can write on. Hearts that will take His commandmants and honor them and DO them because they LOVE Him. Because they are His Bride. These people are His faithful Bride. It is a group of people who will HONOR the marriage contract, and will NOT go seeking things of this broken, earthly realm.
I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I want to be part of God’s Bride. I want to make Him proud. I want to make Him happy. I want to honor Him the way HE wants to be honored.
Lord, God, I need Your help every single day to be this human You want me to be. Please, Lord, help me be the Bride You crave! Amen.