Remember God’s works

God challenges us to remember what He has done in the past and to trust in Him that He will continue to work on our behalf in the future. God challenged Israel with that identical thought:

“They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law; and forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them. Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan” (Psa 78:10-12).

Israel “forgat” or, as the Hebrew suggests, they ignored or ceased to care about the things that He had done in the past. He had performed “wonders,” things which surpassed the extraordinary, throughout the wilderness wanderings. His works had indeed been “marvellous,” in that, to human thinking, they had been hard to understand. Yet, despite the fact that they had been incredible and beyond their own ability to perform, they forgot Him in their hour of need. They asked the same questions we do, one of which was “what shall we drink?” God answered this question with His marvellous works by providing streams in the desert (Psa 78:15-16).

Having experienced the provision of water in the wilderness, they forgot where it came from and questioned God’s ability to provide food as well:

“And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness. And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust. Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?” (Psa 78:17-20).

The people “tempted” God, that is, they put Him to the test or tried Him. They questioned His ability to lay out a table of food for them in the wilderness. Could He provide bread and flesh? Was the Almighty able to do this? Yes, they had experienced the bringing forth of water from the rocks, but bread in the wilderness – might this be going beyond God’s ability? This is the foolishness of human reasoning, and we all can fall victim to it, because it has the same root cause – a lack of faith:

“Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation: Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full” (Psa 78:22-25).

They did not believe. Strong’s tells us that the Hebrew word here means “to build up or support; to foster as a parent or nurse; figuratively to render (or be) firm or faithful, to trust or believe.” It carries the idea of something we trust in or lean upon. This thought brings us to the second word used by the psalmist. Neither did they trust in God. The word means “to hide for refuge; figuratively, to trust, to be confident or sure” and is used of those who can put confidence in God and feel bold and secure in His presence. Israel didn’t look to God for security. They were still looking to their own hand to support them and blaming God for bringing them out into the wilderness to kill them with thirst. They didn’t trust in His salvation. The Hebrew yeshuah denotes “deliverance, prosperity, victory” and forms part of the name of Jesus or Yah-Shua meaning “Yahweh is my Saviour.”

Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

Christ continues to challenge his disciples with the same challenge Israel had in the wilderness. “Why take ye thought for raiment?” he said. “Consider the lilies of the field” (Matt 6:28-30). He asks us to examine carefully the lilies and flowers of the field. They don’t toil; they don’t grow weary with labour, yet somehow they are more gloriously arrayed than Solomon. How? Because God clothes them. So what about us? Will God clothe us? Again, remember his works with Israel:

“And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot” (Deut 29:5).

Has God lost his power to provide in this modern age? Was it only in the wilderness? Nehemiah reminded the people of his day of that same miracle in the wilderness in chapter 9 verse 21. It all comes down to a question of faith. Do we believe that God who led 

Israel through the wilderness can provide for us today? The 23rd Psalm is familiar to us, but do we believe what we read, sing and pray? Do we believe that Yahweh is our shepherd and we shall not want? (Psa 23:1-3).

David believed that God was his shepherd. Do we believe that today, that He continues to provide for His sheep? Does He lead us by green pastures in providing the best food for us? Does He lead us beside still waters in giving us quiet resting places, where our souls are restored? Do we believe this, or are they just nice words to be sung? David went on to say that God prepared a table before him in the presence of his enemies (v5-6).

We may at times travel through the valley of the shadow of death, where distress or extreme danger hangs over us like a dark shadow. This may be due to harsh circumstances or dire health, where our life hangs in doubt. In this we are to fear no “evil.” Why? Because the Psalmist assures us “thou art with me.” He will comfort and console us. During even the direst circumstances He furnishes a table for us. He anoints our head with oil and our cup runs over; both symbols of God providing His kind of prosperity. Without doubt His goodness will follow us because it is accompanied with His mercy, His undeserved kindness and faithfulness.

It will not be limited either, because it is for “all” the days of our life. God’s protection is whole and total and will last our entire lives, if we put our trust in Him, and follow Him as our shepherd. The result, no matter what circumstance we endure now, will be to “dwell in the house of Yahweh forever.”

So, what are we worried about?