Today in our readings, we read one of those beautiful Psalms that recounts all that God did for the people in the Old Testament. Many Psalms do this. But I really like the ending of what it says in Psalm 78. Listen to verses 37-39:
37Their heart was not steadfast toward him,
and they were not faithful to his covenant.
38But he was so merciful that he forgave their sins
and did not destroy them;
many times he held back his anger
and did not permit his wrath to be roused.
39For he remembered that they were but flesh,
a breath that goes forth and does not return.
This Psalm tells over and over how the people did not follow God and how God would punish them. This is a constant theme of the Old Testament. The people would sin, they would fall away, they would cry out to God, He would save them, the would fall into captive, they would cry out, and it happened over and over again.
On a side note, we often think, man, how could they do that? After all they saw from God, after all the ways that they saw God work, after all of the things that they witnessed, how could they forget, how could they fall away?
Well, while we may not be guided by a cloud by day and pillar of fire at night like they were in the Exodus, we have something that they never did. We actually have something that they would have longed for. We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit has awakened our souls, calls us to God, calls us to salvation, calls us grow in grace. We actually have more access to God than they did.
And yet we too turn away. Just like they did, we follow our own ways and our own desires. We fall, just as they fell. Now it may not be just like them, but we fall as well.
That’s why I love the end of this passage. It shows the mercy and the mind of God. He remembers who we are. We are just dust. God knows that we are weak and frail, prone to wander, prone to make mistakes.
God knows we are weak. God knows we are imperfect. And He loves us anyway. He doesn’t love us because of any great thing we have done, He loves us because He made us.
He looks past our weakness and loves us anyway. Because He knows who we are.
One of the ironic things about faith is this. The stronger we try to act, the weaker we are. The only way that we will ever find any strength at all is to admit that we are weak. When we admit that we are just dust and that we need God, through Him, we find more strength than we ever believed that could know.
Becuase our power is not from us. It’s from God. Through ourselves, we’ll never find that the strength we need. Through God, we find strength to live, serve, laugh, forgiven and stand.
God knows who we are. And for that I am thankful. May we find our strength today, not in ourselves, but in Him.
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