21Therefore the LORD heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel;
22Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:
23Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven,
24And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.
25Man did eat angels' food: he sent them meat to the full.
26He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind.
27He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea:
28And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations.
29So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire;
30They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths,
31The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.
The Good and the Bad!
As we read through this rather lengthy section from Psalm 78, we are struck by the good and the bad. First we see the good: God loved his people and blessed them with untold blessings; but then we see the bad: in His anger against their unbelief, God struck down the chosen men of Israel.
We see the good and the bad of God, but we also see the good and the bad of the people. It is really the same thing. For the people of God, great blessings are in store for those who love and serve their faithful Savior from the heart. This God who loves them so much not only provides eternal salvation for them, but blesses them throughout their troublesome days on this earth. For those people, however, who reject God, only death and destruction await them. Though they may have few if any troubles on this earth, a dark and dismal eternity awaits them.
I was struck, too, when I read these verses with the realization that God's favor will not necessarily abide with us forever if we reject His gifts to us. Those who have been blessed with the favor of God, and have seen His mighty works, but then reject Him cannot depend upon God's favor resting upon them forever. In other words, God is, indeed, patient and long suffering, but there is a point when He will turn His back upon those who continually despise and reject Him.
Even for the Christian, we must be careful that we do not presume upon God. It is easy to become so engrossed in the affairs of this life that we forget that we have a duty and responsibility toward God. God has saved us for a reason; He has granted to each one of His children a purpose for this life. Is it appropriate then, for the people of God, to become so immersed in the affairs of this world, and in the "getting" for themselves that they neglect God's purpose for their lives?
God is definitely a God of love who is long suffering and forgiving, but His patience will not necessarily abide with us forever if we neglect the duties He has ordained for our lives. It is good for us, as children of God, to take time to meditate upon God and His Word, and to pray that He will show us our true purpose for this life. It may not mean any outward change in our circumstances, but it will definitely mean a change in our heart attitudes toward God, and toward the people of this world.
No matter where we live, and no matter what our occupation, we have been sent by Christ as missionaries for Him, sharing the wondrous Gospel message with our friends and associates. That may mean as little as living our Christian lives before them or as much as inviting them over and sharing God's Word with them.
Amazingly, God has created each of us so that we can live for Him and serve Him in whatever manner He chooses without really leaving our own comfort zone. What an amazing God we serve. Go to Him and ask Him to show you what He would have you do for Him.
There is no greater joy than living for the Lord, and seeing your life making a positive impact in the lives of others.
And that is the good and the bad!
God Bless You,