If you’re not a fan of roller coasters you should probably sit down while reading Psalm 78. It is filled with ups and downs and plenty of loops!
The psalm starts with a warning we’ve heard several times on Monday mornings: DON’T FORGET WHAT GOD HAS DONE, REMIND EACH OTHER OF HIS GREAT WORKS. Psalm 78 then adds what happens when we don’t remember.
We’re reminded of mistakes the Israelites made like turning back from battle, not following the law, forgetting God’s wonders, rebelling in the desert, demanding food they craved (not what they needed), and failing to believe or trust God. In response to all of this God divided the sea, sent direction through a cloud during the day and fire by night, provided water from rocks, and sent manna in abundance and meat until the Israelites were filled. Sometimes He even gave them what they craved instead of only what they needed. Yet, they continued to act entitled and tested God’s goodness.
After several rounds of this, God finally responds in discipline and Israel’s strongest are killed. This gets their attention...but only for a moment. They respond in repentance and remembrance but they are not steadfast or faithful. We’re back where we started AND YET, God responds with compassion. He does not destroy them. He restrains His anger. But, He also moves forward in His way instead of theirs. He chooses Judah over Ephraim - a choice that didn’t follow the way things had worked for generations. He chooses David as king - a common shepherd boy that wouldn’t have been considered by men as fit for the role. He continues to put His kingdom in motion instead of doing things the way they saw best.
If we’re comparing this fork in the road to our personal lives I think we have two options. We can continue to put up a fight, convinced that if God REALLY had our good in mind he would do things our way. We can kick and scream and continue to act entitled as we test God without believing that He will follow through OR, we can remember His goodness. We can pay attention to all the times He could have responded in anger and He instead responded with compassion. We can go to Him humbly accepting His plans for our lives. We can recognize that we are not God and don’t actually know what’s best.
Pray with me that we choose to align ourselves with our good, compassionate, loving God. Even though we know we won’t respond perfectly, pray that in the little things and big things we will trust Him and not test Him, that we will accept His gifts as enough instead of acting entitled, that we will remember His goodness to us and pass that hope on for generations to come.
— Emily Larzabal