The Daily Bread: Unfaithfulness to God

Today’s study is based on Psalm 106. As I sit and read through this Psalm, it reminds me of our present nation and all of God’s blessings over the years. Our people have turned their backs on God just like Israel. Today, I will be highlighting some of the key points from the Scripture to think about. The following is the entire Psalm so that you may refer to the exact passage for reference.

Psalm 106

Israel’s Unfaithfulness to God

Hallelujah!
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his faithful love endures forever.
Who can declare the Lord’s mighty acts
or proclaim all the praise due him?
How happy are those who uphold justice,
who practice righteousness at all times.

Remember me, Lord,
when you show favor to your people.
Come to me with your salvation
so that I may enjoy the prosperity
of your chosen ones,
rejoice in the joy of your nation,
and boast about your heritage.

Both we and our fathers have sinned;
we have done wrong and have acted wickedly.
Our fathers in Egypt did not grasp
the significance of your wondrous works
or remember your many acts of faithful love;
instead, they rebelled by the sea—the Red Sea.
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
to make his power known.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up;
he led them through the depths as through a desert.
10 He saved them from the power of the adversary;
he redeemed them from the power of the enemy.
11 Water covered their foes;
not one of them remained.
12 Then they believed his promises
and sang his praise.

13 They soon forgot his works
and would not wait for his counsel.
14 They were seized with craving in the wilderness
and tested God in the desert.
15 He gave them what they asked for,
but sent a wasting disease among them.

16 In the camp they were envious of Moses
and of Aaron, the Lord’s holy one.
17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan;
it covered the assembly of Abiram.
18 Fire blazed throughout their assembly;
flames consumed the wicked.

19 At Horeb they made a calf
and worshiped the cast metal image.
20 They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating ox.
21 They forgot God their Savior,
who did great things in Egypt,
22 wondrous works in the land of Ham,
awe-inspiring acts at the Red Sea.
23 So he said he would have destroyed them—
if Moses his chosen one
had not stood before him in the breach
to turn his wrath away from destroying them.

24 They despised the pleasant land
and did not believe his promise.
25 They grumbled in their tents
and did not listen to the Lord.
26 So he raised his hand against them with an oath
that he would make them fall in the desert
27 and would disperse their descendants
among the nations,
scattering them throughout the lands.

28 They aligned themselves with Baal of Peor
and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods.
29 They angered the Lord with their deeds,
and a plague broke out against them.
30 But Phinehas stood up and intervened,
and the plague was stopped.
31 It was credited to him as righteousness
throughout all generations to come.

32 They angered the Lord at the Waters of Meribah,
and Moses suffered because of them;
33 for they embittered his spirit,
and he spoke rashly with his lips.

34 They did not destroy the peoples
as the Lord had commanded them
35 but mingled with the nations
and adopted their ways.
36 They served their idols,
which became a snare to them.
37 They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons.
38 They shed innocent blood—
the blood of their sons and daughters
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;
so the land became polluted with blood.
39 They defiled themselves by their actions
and prostituted themselves by their deeds.

40 Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against his people,
and he abhorred his own inheritance.
41 He handed them over to the nations;
those who hated them ruled over them.
42 Their enemies oppressed them,
and they were subdued under their power.
43 He rescued them many times,
but they continued to rebel deliberately
and were beaten down by their iniquity.

44 When he heard their cry,
he took note of their distress,
45 remembered his covenant with them,
and relented according to the abundance
of his faithful love.
46 He caused them to be pitied
before all their captors.

47 Save us, Lord our God,
and gather us from the nations,
so that we may give thanks to your holy name
and rejoice in your praise.

48 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Let all the people say, “Amen!”
Hallelujah!

Psalm 106 focuses mainly on human sin. Israel suffered much due to her own sin against God. Although the people of Israel are God’s chosen people, the psalmist does not assume that he will enjoy God’s blessing, therefore he turns to God for prayer as seen in verse 4. In verse 6, this is an acknowledgement that Israel has deliberately and constantly rebelled against God. Then the psalmist gives an example in how The Lord spared Israel’s life when they had left Egypt and were at the Red Sea. God parted and dried up the waters of the sea so that Israel could escape the Egyptian army. Even when Israel continued to rebel against God and their fate should have been death, God parted the sea and then filled it back in drowning the Egyptian army as seen in verse 7-12.

Again, after the Red Sea incident, they soon forgot His works as their thanks and faith were short lived. Their forgetfulness lead to disobedience. They continued to rebel and God put them to the test (cf. 13-15).

In Horeb, they made a metal calf and worshipped it. They placed a metal idol in the place of God. They exchanged God’s glory to the metal idol and forgot God their Savior and all His wondrous works done in the land of Ham (Egypt) and at the Red Sea. The works mentioned in Egypt were that of the Ten Plagues. If it were not for Moses standing before God, God would have destroyed Israel (cf. 19-23).

They doubted God and despised the Promised Land because of their lack of faith. God raised his hand in an oath showing God’s determination to judge the sons of Israel. The punishment was that they would be scattered among other nations (cf. 24-27).

The Israelites yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices of the dead. By worshipping a foreign idol was like becoming a beast of burden. Baal was a god of the eastern Mediterranean region at the time Israel was entering the Promised Land. Eating the sacrifices of the dead refers to such incidents as a Canaanite funeral which involves heavy drinking, feasting, and obscene lust. This provoked the Lord to anger and a plague broke out among them. When Israel took those steps to idolatry, Phinehas took a violent step to bring Israel back to God. God made a covenant with his family to give them priesthood (cf. 28-31).

The people continued to anger God at the Waters of Meribah. Moses suffered because of their sin and his spirit became bitter because of their willful mistrust of God and their survival in the wilderness (cf. 32-33).

The Israelites mixed with the nations as opposed to destroying the people like God had commanded. Because of their willful disobedience, they learned to worship idols, sacrificed their children to these false gods and demons, and the land was “polluted with blood.” They became unclean by their acts. The spiritual reality behind worshipping idols is demonic, which is a world of hostility towards God. By joining themselves to these false idols, they committed spiritual adultery (cf. 34-39).

The Lord’s anger was kindled against His people and he detested His heritage and His people were delivered into the hands of the nations. The Israelites hated those who ruled over them. Their enemies oppressed them. God would deliver them only for His people reject His ways again and again (cf. 40-43).

Then God remembered His covenant and commitment to His people. This caused Him to continue with His people even when they constantly turned their backs on Him (cf. 44-48).

Looking back at God’s own chosen people, all the miraculous works that God did on their behalf, only for them to continue to turn their backs on Him. Then I look at our own nation where the very same things are occurring today. Willful disobedience of God’s ways and precepts. Therefore, God sent His one and only Son, Jesus. Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save everyone in it. But people today reject Jesus and they want to do their own thing and not give God any time.

I wonder what punishment God will place on the United States as she continues down the path she is on? Unfaithfulness to God can only lead to death, destruction, plagues, strife, and punishment.

But there is a way to come back to God through faith in Jesus Christ. Won’t you consider turning your life over to Him today? I pray that you will come to know the loving and risen Savior and will commit your life to Him.

References:

The Reformation Study Bible, RC Sproul, ed., Reformation Trust, 2015.

The Spurgeon Study Bible, Holman Bible Publishers, 2017.

Copyright © February 23, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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The Daily Bread: A Pure Heart

I have not always had a close walk with God and had allowed sin to enter into my life. God has never failed me and has always led me back home to Him when I strayed away.

Today’s devotion is taken from Blackaby’s Experiencing God Day-By-Day.  It is called Clean Hands; a Pure Heart.

Psalm 24: 3-4 “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?  The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.”

What type of relationship do you have with God? Is it a personal, deep relationship? Or is it a mediocre relationship? Do you pray and seek God through His holy scriptures? Or do you attend an occasional service or say an occasional prayer at a meal? Where are you in your walk with God? Are you a Christian who has never grown any from the day you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior? These questions are important for you to consider. Exactly, where do you stand with God?

According to Blackaby, “God has requirements for those who want to enjoy intimate fellowship with Him. There is no easy access to God for those with unclean hands or an impure heart. It is an affront to holy God to assume that we can indulge in our sin and blatantly disobey His word, then brazenly enter the holy of holies” (Blackaby & Blackaby, 1997, p. 217).

“There are levels of intimacy with God. The moment you become a Christian you begin a relationship with the Lord. However, if you persist in your sin, sin will separate you from God and keep you from enjoying close fellowship with Him” (Blackaby & Blackaby, 1997, p. 217).

“If you follow only God’s basic commandments but resist every time God gives you specific, personal directions, you will never fully experience the depths of God’s Person. If, however, you are like the psalmist and understand the holiness of God, you will adjust your life to His standards and respond to His prompting so that you may have a deeper fellowship with Him” (Blackaby & Blackaby, 1997, p. 217).

“The closest you get to holy God, the more obvious even your smallest sins become. The more you know of God’s character, the more you will realize the need to wash your hands and purify your heart before you can get close to Him. Are you willing for the almighty God to make you absolutely pure before Him so that you can enjoy the maximum possible relationship with Him” (Blackaby & Blackaby, 1997, p. 217)?

I love this devotion because it reminds me how I have struggled throughout my life. I have not always had a close walk with God and had allowed sin to enter into my life. God has never failed me and has always led me back home to Him when I strayed away. Sin can separate you from God. I know it can because I have lived sin in my life. What was once a very close walk with The Father, I strayed from Him and fell away for a period of time. I allowed sin to enter my life, which caused a separation from God. That was a very dark time in my life. But I ultimately came back to The Father.

According to Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No one is perfect. But we should not intentionally sin and then expect to have a close walk with God. You cannot commit intentional sins and then carry on as if nothing was wrong! God does not want us to willfully sin and then we think we can have that personal relationship with Him. It just does not work that way.

God wants us to come to Him with a pure heart and wants us to be clean. When Jesus died for us, he took the guilt and the sin and purified us through the shedding of His blood, the blood of the Lamb. As Christians, we should be striving to live pure, holy lives. When we fail, we should be praying for forgiveness and ask God to help us overcome our sins.

Today, I pray that if you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, the Son of God, I pray that you will surrender your life to Him. Jesus is our only hope in this life. I pray that you will have a personal walk with God and that you may experience God in an intimate and personal relationship.

References

Blackaby, H. T., & Blackaby, R. (1997). EXPERIENCING GOD DAY-BY-DAY: The Devotional and Journal. Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group.

Copyright © February 18, 2019, The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.