Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Tag: Psalms 32

Does Grumbling = A Lack Of Faith?

February 2 – Today’s Readings – Exodus 16-18 and Psalms 32

As I examined these chapters, I couldn’t help but seeing more parallels between the Old Testament nation of Israel and the Church of the twenty-first century. Here was Israel, in the desert, having just been saved from the Egyptian army. The music from the “deliverance party” on the shores of the Red Sea had hardly settled down – and they found out that a whole new enemy was out to get them – death by dehydration or starvation.

As part of a medical treatment, I was once placed on a very restrictive fluid intake diet. I can tell you from experience that unless you have faced severe, prolonged thirst, you shouldn’t be too hard on these Israelites. Dying of thirst would not be a pleasant way to go. After having heard their children crying themsleves to sleep because of thirst, these guys were desperate. It wouldn’t be long before Moses and Aaron would be fed to the desert jackals for leading them all out there. Something had to be done quickly or the entire nation would perish. “The Rock” was the solution and Moses did something completely preposterous – he struck the rock at Horeb and miraculously, water gushed out.

Now, at risk of minimizing the trial that Israel was facing, let me take you to a couple of New Testament verses:

1 Corinthians 10:3-4 reads; “They [the Israelites] all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” Paul the Apostle is referring to today’s old testament passage as he writes to the Corinthians. How is it that he says Jesus was “The Rock” that Israel drank from?

John 6:31-35 reads; “Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert;”…”I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.” …“Sir’, they said, ‘from now on give us this bread.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Israel needed to learn a lesson quickly if they were to survive this new life of faith. They needed to learn that Jesus was their provider. All the grumbling in the world couldn’t help them – only learning the lesson about where the bread and water of life truly came from. We too need to understand that all provision – spiritual – emotional – physical comes from asking Jesus to be Lord of our lives. Worship and thankfulness are the answers to the provision of God – not grumbling!

Questions:

1. After our personal “Deliverance from Egypt” what is going to keep us from dying of thirst in the wilderness?

2. When we are facing some hardship as children of God, what will keep us from grumbling as the Israelites did?

Does God Have Strong Feelings?

August 2 – Today’s Readings – Jeremiah 16-18 and Psalms 32

Notice at the end of these verses how Jeremiah lashes out against the people who have not listened to him and have threatened him. “Listen to me, O LORD; hear what my accusers are saying! Should good be repaid with evil? Yet they have dug a pit for me. Remember that I stood before you and spoke in their behalf to turn your wrath away from them. So give their children over to famine; hand them over to the power of the sword. Let their wives be made childless and widows; let their men be put to death, their young men slain by the sword in battle. Let a cry be heard from their houses when you suddenly bring invaders against them, for they have dug a pit to capture me and have hidden snares for my feet. But you know, O LORD, all their plots to kill me. Do not forgive their crimes or blot out their sins from your sight. Let them be overthrown before you; deal with them in the time of your anger.” (Jeremiah 18:19-23)

These are very harsh and vindictive statements from the lips of Jeremiah, the man of God, but they do illustrate something. If a servant of God like Jeremiah can have such strong feelings of judgment when the people reject him, then maybe this can help us understand the strong emotions expressed by the Lord Himself. Why should the Lord not have emotion when His people continually turn their backs on Him? When the Lord was trying to describe His own hurt feelings to Jeremiah – the anger He felt – judgment the people deserved – Jeremiah probably never really connected emotionally. However, when he too was rejected and threatened by the same people, he lashed out violently. Interesting how it’s sometimes only when we connect with God through human experience that we fully begin to understand His heart. Fast forward to the New Testament and we find a new and better way to deal with rejection – “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:43-44) These kinds of attitudes can only be obtained through the power of the Holy Spirit.

On an unrelated note, Psalms 32 gives us understanding concerning the intimate relationship we have with the Lord. The “me in them and them in me” relationship we share with Jesus is described by the Psalmist as he talks about “aching bones” and the hand of the Lord being “heavy upon” him because he had sinned. It’s only because of God’s intense love relationship with us that we would ever have a spiritual experience of this kind. Your conscience won’t give you a moment’s rest till you “confess your transgressions to the Lord”. Then forgiveness comes with “songs of deliverance”. The ultimate lesson learned here however is that we were not meant to “be controlled by bit and bridle” but by the glance of His eye – by the nudge of the Spirit of God. Re-read this Psalm if you have a moment and see the beauty of this love relationship we share with Christ.

Questions:

1. Give another Scriptural example of God showing intense emotion.
2. Have you ever experienced a “bit and bridle” kind of discipline from the Lord? – How about a “glance of the eye” kind of correction? Tell about it.

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