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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

July 27 2023

Today, Thursday July 27

Consumed in Futility and Fear

Psalm 78:33-39 “Therefore their days He consumed in futility, And their years in fear. When He slew them, then they sought Him; And they returned and sought earnestly for God. Then they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer. Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouth, And they lied to Him with their tongue; For their heart was not steadfast with Him, Nor were they faithful in His covenant. But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, And did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, And did not stir up all His wrath; For He remembered that they were but flesh, A breath that passes away and does not come again.”

Psalm 78 is called a “History Psalm” that gives us the story of the failures of the nation of Israel over many years. Asaph is writing this Psalm during a dark and dismal time, and he wants the new generations to remember their past, and not repeat the sins of their forefathers. He begins this history with the apostacy of Ephraim (vv. 9-11), and then recounts the nation’s sins in the wilderness (vv. 12-39).

God had told Abraham in Genesis 15:13-14 after he died, his descendants would end up in Egypt. “Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.”

Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, took his twelve sons and their families to Egypt to escape the famine in Canaan. And just like God told Abraham, they were there 400 years and Exodus 1 tells us how they later became slaves under a Pharoah that did not know Joseph. During that time, they grew into a nation of over two to three million people. It was then that God raised up Moses to lead them out of Egypt (Exodus 2-3). Then they spent the next 40 years wandering in the wilderness because of their unbelief and desire to go back to Egypt.

Someone said, it only took God a few days to get them out of Egypt, but it appears that it took God 40 years to get Egypt out of them. It only takes a moment in time for God to save us when we are delivered from our slavery to sin and the world by the blood of Lamb, Jesus Christ, but like Israel, it sure seems like it takes us a long time to get the “world” out of us as we wander through this “wilderness of sin” on our Christian journey.

When you read Psalm 78:12-39 about Israel’s journey through the wilderness and how they experienced God’s miraculous power in giving them food, giving them water, protecting them from the enemy and yet they still struggled with the desires of their hearts to go back to Egypt, you can’t help but think that is the story of so many Christians today. It appears that Israel wanted what God could give them, and would do for them, more than they wanted a relationship and fellowship with God Himself!

"He brought their days to an end in futility" (v. 33; Ps. 90:7-12). It was at Kadesh Barnea that they refused to enter the land because the ten spies told them about the big giants there (Num. 13-14). They wandered for the next thirty-eight years until the people twenty years and older all died (Num. 14:28-38). From time to time, God's discipline did bring them to their knees in temporary repentance, but their confessions were insincere flattery (v. 36) and they soon rebelled again. In His mercy, God forgave them and held back His wrath, but they were a generation that grieved His heart.

My friend, as we read these verses, we need to make sure that we learn from their experience. We need to desire God and His mercy more than what our flesh so often wants as we journey through this world. We need to thank the Lord for His patience with us and His willingness to forgive us after we have failed time and time again.

Today, if you feel like you are being consumed in futility and fear, and have strayed away from the Lord, please come to Jesus today! He will receive you with open arms and forgive you!

God bless!

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