32 In spite of all this, they kept on sinning; in spite of his wonders, they did not believe.
33 So he ended their days in futility and their years in terror.
34 Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; they eagerly turned to him again.
35 They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.
36 But then they would flatter him with their mouths, lying to him with their tongues;
37 their hearts were not loyal to him, they were not faithful to his covenant.
38 Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath.
39 He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.
A Response to Discipline (78:32–35)
Throughout the Old Testament, we see a continuous cycle of rebellion. God reveals His grace to His people, but they take Him for granted and choose to sin and rebel against Him. God responds with loving discipline, and they repent and turn back to Him. God then blesses the repentant Israelites, and it all begins again. The same is true for us today. We often take God’s favor and grace for granted; when we are comfortable, we forget Him and become prone to sin. But God, in His goodness, disciplines us to draw us back to Him. God allows seasons of difficulty when we rebel against Him as a way of calling us to repent and return to Him.
- How do you respond to His discipline? The next time you experience God’s discipline, know that it is God loving you, to draw you back to Him.
The Lord’s Preservation (78:36–39)
This is a historical psalm which points present generations to past generations, to remind them that rebellion and unbelief lead to future calamity. God is merciful and willing to forgive His people when they repent, but it is not enough to give God our lip service. We can easily say all the right words to Him, but our words are meaningless if our hearts are far from Him. We are mistaken about the truth of God’s grace if we think that we can simply continue sinning because He forgives us. If we have truly accepted the Gospel, however, we cannot use His grace as an excuse to continue in sin. His grace transforms our desires so that we long to please Him, not grieve Him.
- Why are you thankful for God’s mercy? How can you remind others of the love and mercy of God?
A letter to God
Lord, have mercy on me. Forgive me for my continued waywardness and sin. Help me not to simply give You lip service. May I never take Your grace for granted, and may Your loving discipline always lead me back to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
* All Copyrights of the text in Living Life belong to Duranno Books.