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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Israelite Days

Some of you may have seen my status on Facebook and quirked your heads. "Huh? How is she an Israelite?"

Allow to me shed a little light on the subject. *dramatically pulls light chain* (That's from a movie...do you know which one?)

I was reading through Psalm 78 the other night and was profoundly stunned. The author continuously spoke of the Israelites and how they would constantly forget how God had performed miraculous signs and delivered them out of Egypt, even the generation that was there for that event. The whole first part of the Psalm is all about how we need to teach the future generations of all the good things the Lord has done so that they will keep His commands and they would put their trust in Him.  That's the goal. That's what Sunday School and family devotion time is meant for.

But verse eight says: They would not be like their ancestors—a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him." It goes on to say that the people had forgotten what God had done in the presence of their ancestors. The author outlines what God did...all those amazing miracles and signs like the parting of the red sea and the pillar of fire and how He broke the rocks in the desert to provide them with water to quench their thirst.

"But they continued to sin against him, rebelling in the wilderness against the Most High. They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved." (Psalm 78:17, 18)

It didn't stop. They were never satisfied. They wanted more and more, ignoring the beautiful things God had done previously. Their doubt and their arrogant attitudes angered God, "for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance." (verse 22) But He still provided for His people, raining manna and quail for them to eat. Sounds a bit like Americans and other privileged people doesn't it? Never satisfied with what they have...

But what cut me the most was the snaky way the Israelites came back to God. "In spite of all of this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe. So he ended their days in futility and their years in terror. Whenever God slew them, they would seek 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." (Psalm 78:32-37)

As Sylvester Stallone put it in the film Oscar, "He flatters you to your face while he sticks a knife in your back." This was the Israelites. This was their attitude. When they were being beaten and defeated, they crawled back to God, praising Him for everything He had done in order to gain back His protection. But as soon as they got what they wanted, they tossed Him aside.

Have you ever done that? I have. And I'm not proud of that. God is my plan L half the time...not even plan B. I try to fix things first instead of going to God in prayer from the very beginning. I forget about the great things He's done in my life. I forget about the great things He's done in my parents' lives. I forget the great things He did in Egypt so many years ago. As George Santayana once said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

I am an Israelite.

But I can't stop there. I can't use my heritage and my attitude as a reason to give up and remain as I am. God gave the Israelites so many second chances, and He has and will do the same for me. God is merciful and just all in one...He will never leave me, not for good. There were times He left the Israelites and allowed them to be beaten back in order to teach them valuable lessons. But He still loved them. A father disciplines who he loves. Yes, I have days where I am akin to the Israelites, but that doesn't mean I always will.

Father, create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10) Father, create a fresh slate, a new attitude. Don't let me fall into the same failures of the people of Israel. Help me to recognize your power and glory daily. Lord, I ask that you would keep me on the right path, always taking steps forward instead of falling behind. I don't want to question what you have done or what you will do. I want to question what your will for me is. Thank you for everything you have done to save me from myself. Thank you for loving me when I've strayed; when I've forgotten. You are so good to this Israelite.

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