Our psalmist calls us to sing songs of praise; to sing HIS praises! Why? Because of all that He has done. Even for the people He “loathed.”
Did that word get your attention; “loathed”? It sure got mine when I saw it. The dictionary meaning of that word is to “feel intense dislike or disgust for.” I never dreamed that this word would be in my bible as a description for God. (I am using the ESV, English Standard Version translation.) Yet here it stands and with good reason. I FULLY understand where this word is coming from when describing the generation of adults that came out of Egypt with Moses. They were FOREVER complaining about anything and everything. “We are hungry for something else.” “It’s too hard.” “It’s too far.” “You brought us out here to kill us!” And that’s not even scratching the surface of their complaints!
Not only were they always complaining but they broke every promise they made with God MANY times over. The golden calf was just the tip of the iceberg. This generation was unfaithful all along the way. Time after time God tried to pull them back into line. Finally He said, “Enough!” and refused to allow them to enter into His Promised Land.
BUT in ALL of these times of complaining and unfaithfulness God STILL was faithful to meet the needs of the people He “loathed.” He still sent them manna every morning. He still gave them protection from those around them. He still gave them water from the rock. And He still called out to them to come back in line with His laws.
If NOTHING else ever convinces you of how praiseworthy our God is, this should! Tell me one man who has given so much to such an unfaithful recipient, KNOWING that they would never change. God KNEW this generation was beyond His reach. Their hearts were hardened. With all the blessings He poured out on them you would expect some kind of softening. But there was none. The last of this generation was killed in one last ‘hurrah’ with yet another foreign god.
If God is so caring and faithful to a people He “loathed”, I KNOW without a doubt that He is loving and faithful to me. NO. I am NOT perfect. I make more than my share of mistakes. But He has told me that He LOVES me in spite of my faults.
I wonder what those of the first generation of Israel would have been like if they were on my side of God’s promise of a Savior. Would they have believed Jesus was the Son of God or would they have gone along with the Pharisees and Sadducees? Would they still have said, “We liked it better before…”? Would they have been any more swayed by His wonders in this point of history? Would they be right there with all the other people in the world who refuse to believe Him?
For NOT striking them dead where they stood, I will sing of God’s mercies. For providing them with food every day, I will shout of a God who keeps His promises. For protecting them in the wilderness from day one to their last breath, I will praise Him for His faithfulness.
How much MORE does God love those who actually love Him? How much more will He watch over them? I would say infinitely more! He is WORTHY of our praise, if for no other reason than that He hasn’t washed His hands of the human race.
Father God, I wish I could take all Your hurt away. I truly believe that Your heart was breaking as You watched that first generation of Israel turn their backs on You. I can’t imagine continuing on each day with someone who was so bent on causing me pain. On doing the very things I had begged them not to.
Father God, I am no less guilty of doing the same to You on MANY occasions. I have wounded You FAR too many times as I refused to walk where You showed me. THANK YOU for Your forgiveness for EACH and EVERY one of those times. THANK YOU that You haven’t told me that I will NEVER enter into Your rest! I praise You for ALL the times You pulled me back to the path You had prepared for me. Thank You for teaching me to at least ‘fail forward’. With each failure, I grow closer to You instead of farther away. THANK YOU for those lessons. I will sing of Your mercies FOREVER! For the relationship born of them are all that is holding me from going the same path as those whom You “loathed.”