This childhood prayer is profound in its simplicity isn’t it? This is what we studied this week. It was our first week back to at our weekly Bible study since before Christmas. We are studying Deuteronomy and today were in Deuteronomy 8:1-20. The combination of community and Bible study is unbeatable isn’t it?
We don’t have to be studying huge sections of the Bible or digging out large amounts of facts…in fact, for me, that is often counterproductive and often confusing! Walking away with one or two key ideas for the week tied to the knowledge that I am loved or cared for…by another human being or two...can get me through a week!
What a wonderful reminder that GOD is good and loves to give good things to His children!
There is a lie that Satan loves to repeat to us over and over. Sometimes it comes in the form of a rhetorical question as when he said to Eve…”Did GOD really say…?” But often it comes in the form of a statement…“GOD doesn’t really care about your best interest. He is only trying to spoil your fun!…or make your life miserable…” or some form of the above.
The truth of GOD’s goodness
This chapter reviews for us the many ways GOD showed His goodness and grace to Israel during that 40 years of roaming in the desert. The idea that grace is only found in the New Testament is only stated by those who haven’t read the Old Testament very carefully.
It is woven through the Old Testament in golden strands everywhere! Does he kill and destroy His people for their sin? Yes! But after many, many warnings and after they thumbed their noses in His face repeatedly!
How did He show His goodness and grace in this chapter? He provided their clothing…it didn’t wear out. Their feet didn’t swell. They didn’t have to replace shoes or clothes during all those years in the desert!
He provided manna for them to eat. It was something they had never eaten before…or since! But each morning, in the desert, He provided fresh manna for that day. He also let them to experience hunger so they would look to Him to provide food. It was a humbling experience as they realized their dependence on GOD.
GOD’s discipline, teaching of humility & showing us the true nature of our hearts is also part of His goodness to us even though we don’t appreciate it as much
He provided things that weren’t as obvious…or appreciated! He humbled them, disciplined them in the many senses of the word…training, teaching, as well as the painful ways that came with learning things the hard way.
Think of the times they complained against the ways He provided for them and complained against the leadership He placed there? One time He sent poisonous snakes to bite them and many were killed. But He also sent a remedy. He didn’t always, but that time He did. That is a hard way to learn a lesson.
He also showed them what was in their hearts by giving them opportunities to obey Him…or show what was in their hearts as they turned away from Him. It was another way of humbling them as they realized how much they needed Him. They didn’t have the ability to obey Him and His law perfectly.
They were no better or worse than we are!
How often were they like us? When GOD gave His commands, they glibly said, “We will do all that you have said!” But no sooner would they promise, then their frailty would be obvious. They would be worshipping idols, or marrying those who believed in foreign gods just as He told them not to, or disobeying some other command they knew they weren’t to disobey!
They were so like us…with good intentions one minute, and the next? Falling flat on their faces doing the very thing they had promised not to do!
As a child, I would hear of their stories and wonder how they could fail so miserably…until I grew up and realized how easy it is to mess up! (I had the mistaken belief that adults always obeyed and did the right thing!) Romans 7 is the story of our lives too often.
Understanding that GOD in Christ has fully forgiven me on the cross is certainly helpful. It doesn’t give me license to do whatever I want, but gives me an appreciation of His love for me. It is humbling…to know that He truly forgives my failures and sins without impatience. He is not like I was with my children at times.
His longsuffering and covenant love is beyond any love we experience on a human level. It is beyond imagining.
As you think about the New Year, think of the goodness of GOD to you…
~this past year,
~this past month,
~this past week.
Thinking over your goal(s) for change in 2015, what is your motivation? …your honest, gut level motivation?
Is it to fix yourself up so GOD will love you more and not be so disgusted with you?
Or are you enjoying the acceptance you have in Christ, knowing He looks on you and sees not your sins or your failures, but his beloved child.
The need to make changes may be there, but the motivation behind the changes will make a huge difference as you trust GOD to enable you to make those changes.
Are you changing to be accepted or are you changing as one who is already accepted?
**As you can see, I’m doing some construction on my blog. Bear with me.