God shows up in small and great ways. Imagine all the details of your story!
Talk to yourself for a moment and recall some of God’s goodnesses to you, including struggles He carried you through, unexpected graces He showed, unmerited mercies He granted, and dangers He delivered you from. Scripture calls us to look both to His future and to remember His past with us.
Psalm 78 is a historical psalm (cf. Psalms 105, 106, 135), designed for Israel and us to remember, respond to, and retell God’s long tale of faithfulness to Himself and His followers (vss. 5-8). 1 Corinthians 10 does this for us in the New Testament, emphasizing the slippery slope of forgetting God’s works: “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did...We must not put Christ to the test…” (1 Corinthians 10:6,9). Ouch.
Emphasizing Israel’s early history, Psalm 78 recalls God’s direct works and involvement with words like He: established, appointed, commanded, performed wonders, divided the sea, made the waters stand like a heap, split rocks, etc. Lots of etc.! Just think of all the works of God on your behalf.
Asaph, the chronicler, does not shrink back from outlining Israel’s unfaithfulness. “Yet they sinned still more against Him, rebelling against the Most High,” he notes.
A sobering portrait of God emerges. While His grace, mercy, and love extended to His people, He is also seen responding to their sin and forgetfulness, “Therefore, when the LORD heard, He was full of wrath; a fire kindled against Jacob [Israel]; because they did not believe in God and did not trust His saving power.” God, in mercy, “remembered they were but flesh,” yet they “tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel.” Hebrews 12 reminds us God chastens those He loves. Faithful to His nature and plans, the chastisement of the LORD is a real possibility and can be severe. I fear we have anemic views and responses to the true character and works of God in our generation.
I have a new desk, L-shaped with three drawers. I certainly underestimated how much work putting it together would be—including all 48 steps and hundreds of pieces. Nor could I anticipate the timing…with flooring being put down in our bedrooms (one is my office), three houseguests to celebrate Dad’s 93rd birthday, a major plumbing leak that ruined a downstairs ceiling, gas logs to dry the ceiling that stopped working, and a visit from our roofer for a possible roof leak.
When you stop by to see the new floors and desk, look underneath the desk and see the signatures in silver of my son-law and brother-in-law who, without being asked, were God’s messengers who completed the desk construction. No, they are not exactly angels…But they were God’s messengers at just the right time.
Psalm 78 screams: God’s inestimable, immeasurable, priceless signature is written everywhere.
See and don’t forget.