Scripture: Psalm 79-82
"Oh, that my people would listen to me!" Psalm 81:13 (NLT)
God is not nit-picky or vindictive, just waiting to bring calamity and hardship to His children every time they fail. However, He does long for His children to listen to Him because He knows the consequences that will come if we don’t. Our readings have highlighted two expectations God has of us: obedience to Him and not bowing to other gods. For what little He asks, He offers tenfold in return.
Yet when we stubbornly choose to follow our own ways, God doesn’t always interfere. In Psalm 81, we see Him let His children do their own thing. He tried through grace and discipline to draw the Israelites back, but eventually allowed them to chase after their plans. Like them, we too sometimes choose the unreasonable and unmovable ways of our heart over God’s sovereign plans.
Remember the repent, rescue, and repeat cycle in which the Israelites found themselves? God gave them over to their enemies because of their sinful and willful disobedience. Though He punished them, He did not completely turn His back on them; He will never leave or forsake us either when we follow our sinful nature. God is always close, ready to rescue when we cry out for His mercy. However, if a pattern of unrepentant disobedience continues, He will allow us to follow our own stubborn ways. It is His desire that we will realize our need for Him and repent of our sin. Then He will lovingly restore us to Himself.
After God’s emotional "if only" cry in Psalm 81:13, He shares what will happen if His children will listen and follow His ways. The benefits that accompany our trust and obedience are further outlined in Ephesians 3:17-20:
- Our roots will grow down into God’s love and keep us strong
- We will experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand
- We will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God
- God, through His mighty power at work within us, will accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think
I like a benefits package that is not able to be measured. What about you?
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