Thursday, October 16, 2014
HOW TO MAKE GOD ANGRY/Reflections on Not Trusting God
In my morning times with the Lord I've been reading through the Old Testament. Looking again at the history of God's dealings with His people, it jumps out that God was angered with ancient Israel because of their idolatry, their stiff-necked rebellion, and their unbelief.
Psalm 78 recounts the children of Israel's sagas of skepticism. Even after God had dramatically caused water to gush from the rock, the people essentially said, "Yeah, He produced water but I'll bet He can't give us meat in this wilderness." It was posited in the form of a half-mocking question: "Can God spread a table in the desert?" (Psa. 78:19, NIV).
God's response to their faithlessness was swift and strong. "Therefore the Lord heard this and was furious; so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel, because they did not believe in God, and did not trust in His deliverance" (Psa. 78:21-22).
God demonstrated His authority over the environment with a deluge of manna and a blinding rain of quail. He also gave these skeptics something else -- spiritual famine. "He gave them their request [for meat], but sent leanness into their soul" (Psa. 106:15).
Here is the Psalmist's verdict: "How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert! Yes, again and again, they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel" (Psa. 78:40-41). Their unbelief thwarted their own deliverance. In this sense, they limited God. That's one indictment I don't want over my life.
These Old Testament stories "were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Ro. 15:4). A serious caveat unfolds from these stories for our situation and our times. There is way too much "wilderness whining" coming out of people, churches, and ministries. "Well, with the economy the way it is . . ." "In this kind of climate, we can't even think about growing; we're just trying to hold our own." "Obviously, we'll have to cut back." Confessions of faith are being subverted by declarations of doubt.
Are we making God angry? Are we limiting the Holy One of Israel?
Life sees to it that we walk through some deserts. But while we may be walking through the desert we are not subject to the desert. We belong to another Kingdom and we are subject only to King Jesus. While others die from the blazing heat, we live under God's protective cloud. While those not in covenant with God perish from the cold, we are warmed by a pillar of fire. God provides and spreads a table in our desert!
You may have lost your job. Your investments may have tanked. But I have a message for you. If you belong to Jesus Christ you're going to get through this! You're not going to starve. Your needs will be met. And there's a Promised Land in your future!
Let's not tempt God by unbelief. Let's not limit the Holy One of Israel. Watch your words -- and trust your King for supernatural protection and abundant provision.