God’s continued faithfulness
As we think this week about which things from this quarantine will we hold on to and continue to practice, and which things will we let go of, we need to remember that the greatest thing we can hold on to is the faithfulness of God. I grew up in the era of Kenny Rogers, so when I dwell on this I often think of the line: “you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em…”
As Christians, the New Testament is our book— and the gospel of Jesus Christ is our story. But we dare not neglect the story of God’s faithfulness in the Old Testament. Before the birth of the Church, God called a people named Israel to himself, and God was faithful to them.
When Israel found themselves in a terrible situation, foreigners in a foreign land, slaves to an oppressive taskmaster, God delivered them.
Scripture: Psalm 78:4-16 (NLT)
We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned their backs and fled on the day of battle. They did not keep God’s covenant and refused to live by his instructions. They forgot what he had done— the great wonders he had shown them, the miracles he did for their ancestors on the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt. For he divided the sea and led them through, making the water stand up like walls! In the daytime he led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of fire. He split open the rocks in the wilderness to give them water, as from a gushing spring. He made streams pour from the rock, making the waters flow down like a river!
The Israelites failed in many ways; they were stubborn and rebellious, resisting the authority of God over them. They were disloyal, preferring to worship gods they could see rather than the One, True (but invisible) God. They broke the covenant that God had made with them. Yet, the one thing Israel continued to get right was their commitment to telling the story of God. “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.”
If you were to write the story of God’s faithfulness in your life, what would it say? When has God provided sustenance for you in the “desert” of your life? When has God brought forth “living water” when you were spiritually thirsty?
In response to God’s faithfulness, how are you celebrating? How are you thanking God? How are you witnessing to the next generation the mighty and praiseworthy deeds of the Lord?
Of all the things we would do well to hold on to during this pandemic and beyond, the greatest is surely the faithfulness of our God.
O Lord, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, give us minds and hearts to remember your wonderful deeds in our lives, never to take you for granted, but always to be thankful for your generosity and to tell your story to the next generation. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.