Forget the Vacation

The LORD is our God,
and we are his people,
the sheep he takes care of
in his own pasture.
Listen to God’s voice today!
Don’t be stubborn and rebel
as your ancestors did
at Meribah and Massah
out in the desert.
For forty years
they tested God and saw
the things he did.
Then God got tired of them
and said,
“You never show good sense,
and you don’t understand
what I want you to do.”
In his anger, God told them,
“You people will never enter
my place of rest.” (Psalm 95:7-11)

God is eternal, but his patience is not. God ultimately disciplined his people. Time after time he had been there for them. He had taken them out of Egypt, he had seen to their every need, satisfied their every complaint and nothing was enough. Finally, when he brought them to the promised land, laid it at their feet, they turned up their noses and told him no, that they didn’t believe they would be able to take the land, that instead God would see to their destruction.

Their ingratitude, leading them to refuse God’s gift, led God to postpone the gift. Instead of giving it to the people he had rescued from slavery, he would wait one generation. He would give it to their children instead. They repeatedly wished they could be back in Egypt, as if being a slave was such a good thing. Since they didn’t really want to be rescued, since they didn’t want the relief that could be theirs, he gave them what they kept saying they wanted.

Rather than rejoicing in the gift God had given them, they only found fault. Rather than trusting that God was good, they always suspected he had something bad in mind for them. Of course, we never think this way, do we? How often do we doubt God’s goodness in the midst of hard times? How often do we take his many gifts for granted, seeing only the cloud that surrounds his silver lining.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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