Meditating on Psalm 85.
Lord, You have been favorable to Your land;
You have brought back the captivity of Jacob.
2 You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people;
You have covered all their sin. Selah
3 You have taken away all Your wrath;
You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger. (Psalm 85:1-3)
God was angry at His people Israel that was why He gave them over to Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon. Jerusalem fell and its people were taken captive and brought to Babylon. After 70 years, Cyrus set them free and they returned to their own land. This may very well be what Psalm 85 speaks about.
God’s wrath was kindled against Israel because of her rebellious heart. Even though God had manifested Himself to His people, showing them His wonders and mighty deeds and giving them His commandments, they remained stiff-necked and would not obey Him. They followed their own hearts’ desires and worshipped other gods.
This natural sway to disobey and defy God began with Adam and Eve and continued throughout the ages, and it was not without repercussions. The people of the Exodus who murmured against God all died in the wilderness and did not see the Promised Land.
In our present time, even those who have already received God’s salvation may still be in danger of committing this sin. How could someone who has received the Lord Jesus Christ be tempted to rebel against Him?
Foremost that comes to mind is pride. I’ve heard some sad stories in Church about brethren who had departed from the faith because their hearts had been lifted up and followed other doctrines.
It could be the flesh yielding to its lusts. It could be choosing one’s successful career or other worldly pursuits over God, triggered by greed and the desire for fame.
Discontent, Bitterness and Resentment
Or could it be triggered also by discontent, bitterness and resentment? Of not wanting to submit oneself to God’s chastisement and refining? I, most unfortunately, also fell into the sin of resenting God’s work in my life. Wasn’t this exactly what the people of the Exodus committed? They resented God’s provision for them and murmured. But God did all that to them to prove their hearts.
And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. (Deut. 8:2, emphasis added)
And this was for me, too, and for you. I’m sharing this with you so that you may also learn from my experience as I have.
Towards the end of 2009, I had been ill for 6 long years. I had been in and out of indescribable suffering. In those last days of 2009, I felt that my recovery was slow and on that particular day, I was wearied by constant suffering. I received the Lord Jesus in late-2003, and as early as 2004, I had learned not to complain about my state. I wanted to honor God even in the midst of my fiery trial, so I did not let complaints come out of my lips. But on that fateful afternoon of December 28th, I slipped. I let my guard down and I uttered words that expressed my resentment about my condition.
If you’re curious about what I had said, it was like this:
I was sitting in our patio when my husband arrived from work. He asked how I was and I told him how hard my day was. He said that I must be thankful, and added, “At least you’re alive and still with us.” To which I answered with sullenness, defiance and resentment in my heart and voice, “If this is the kind of life that God gives me – never mind. I don’t like this.”
If I’d be totally honest, as I uttered those few words, I felt in my heart a fleeting desire to turn away from Him. To rebel. It was all so fleeting, but in that very thin window in time, God heard my murmuring, He saw my resentful heart and felt my discontent, and I kindled His wrath against me. And though later on, I repented with all my heart, God had set the wheels of my chastisement. My illness became worse nigh unto death.
In hindsight, I didn’t know why I let myself do that. I mean, I might have had reasons, but I knew that was very wrong. I fell into the enemy’s trap, that’s why it’s imperative to always be vigilant and watch unto prayer.
But I found great mercy in His sight, that’s why I’m also declaring the words of Psalm 85 with a deeply grateful heart!
Lord, You have been favorable to me;
You have brought back my captivity.
2 You have forgiven my iniquity;
You have covered all my sin. Selah
3 You have taken away all Your wrath;
You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger.
God has taught me never to resent Him for my trials and never question His judgments. Even if we don’t explicitly speak out our grievance, He sees our hearts. He not only wants us to know His mercy, He also wants us to learn the truth about Him.
Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed. (v. 10)
These are the precious lessons I’ve learned in my latest trial.
I’m linking up with these lovely blogs.
Journey with Jesus,