Journal Ps 80-82 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “In distress you (me) called, and I (God) delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear, O my people, while I admonish you: O Israel, if you would but listen to me! ,,, I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So, I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.
Oh, that my people would listen to me; that Israel would walk in my ways…” Ps 81:7-13
Observation: If I ever thought that the idea of “Walking worthy of the Gospel” was a uniquely New Testament idea, this changes it completely.
Analysis: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation: a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Pet 2:9)
“…a people for his own possession…”: that just bounded into my mind. I think this is exactly what the Psalmist was prophetically saying to the readers: “You are my cherished possession, O Israel.”
This is the mindset to cultivate: “I am his cherished possession.” But I cannot stop there. “I am his cherished possession, therefore, I will….”, what?
A few things are evident from this passage:
- I call in my distress, He comes to deliver me.
It is not a one-way transaction:
- There is a strong tendency in me to not listen for His voice.
- There is a strong tendency in me to rely on my own means.
- I am stiff-necked and rebellious (I will not submit).
- My heart is stubborn, and;
- I would rather listen to myself, lean on my own devices and counsel, than pay attention to God.
How many times, even though I think I know all the above and it is stuff to avoid, that I succumb to the attitude of Israel, the attitude of Adam—that is, “Me do it, not You.” (just like a 3 year old)
Why do I keep hammering on this subject of Walking Worthy of the Gospel? It is because, no matter what specific sin I fall into, every sin leads back to considering the life of sin as preferable—not the various acts of sin, but the attitude.
Why were the Israelites stubborn? Just like me, they were set in the ways of “I can figure this out for myself; I can change my life; I will submit only on my own terms; I will comply but not surrender.”
Are Christians immune from this attitude? All I must do is peer intently into the mirror, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any wayward spirit in me, and I know I am not immune.
It is discovering the true enemy within.
Prayer: Father, in the fathomless beauty of the Gospel, the devil has his place. But it is not that creature that is most influential in my life, it is Sin, the inheritance of Adam. Your glory is stupendous, magnificent, and worthy to be studied all my days—gazing upon the beauty of the Gospel.
Help me, O Lord, to submit to your ways daily; not just a morning prayer and off I go, but throughout every moment of the day. AMEN