Psalm 78:34-37 (NIV): “Whenever God slew them, they would see Him; they eagerly turned to Him again. They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. But then they would flatter Him with their mouths, lying to Him with their tongues; their hearts were not loyal to Him, they were not faithful to His covenant.”
Why is it that we try to push everything to the limit to see how far we can go and get by with it? Simple everyday occurrences in our lives prove that we do this – often.
We talk about law and order, yet get upset when someone passes us speeding, while we ourselves will drive over the speed limit – just enough that if we “get clocked”, we can “get by” without being pulled over and ticketed.
We talk about the behavior of other people’s children, yet we will allow our own children to push us to the limit before enforcing the rules and/or punishment. (“You better stop that!” we shout – possibly even repeatedly; or, when the bad behavior does not stop we may shout, “Okay, I am counting to 3!”)
We talk about how other people poorly manage their money and waste it on unnecessary items, yet we will turn around and go spend our own money on something equally unnecessary for ourselves – I guess it is all in how we look at things, right?
Yes…..we wait until we see the flashing lights and hear the siren, or until our children get into some kind of trouble, or until we have no money to pay our bills before we finally wake up and recognize the consequences of our actions. (Remember, there are always consequences for our actions – whether those actions are good or bad.)
So, why do we shake our heads and wonder why did those Israelites push God to His limit? How could they, with all He did for them?
Verse 34 starts with the word “Whenever”, indicating they waited until the potential consequences became evident. Then they would seek Him, remembering who and what He was. But even then, their reactions were just from their minds and their mouths – not from of their hearts.
How much like those rebellious Israelites we are! God has certainly done no less for us than He did for them. After all, He sent His own Son to die and save us. Although when we fall short and fall into sin, we too can talk a good story. But, many times it is only from our minds and our mouths, not our hearts. We grieve Him as relentlessly as the Israelites did – yet He continues to love us deeply and mercifully. Doesn’t He deserve better from us? Let us not wait for that “Whenever” moment to show up and cause us regret. We should prayerfully and with a deep conviction do better each day, trying to live our lives to His glory, thankful for each and every good thing we have in our lives because of His love and mercy.
Written by Karran Martin
September 28, 2018