“I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
your hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I delivered you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at Meribah.
Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
Oh, that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes…
But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” Psalm 81:6-14,16
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Our God is present and powerful, but not an automaton. He communes with us, answering our cries, but He is a gentleman, not prone to bullying us into obedience or forcing Himself into our schedules. With His eye constantly on us, and His heart set upon us in benevolent affection, He tests us to train our devotion. And all too often, we choose to go our on way and forsake the best good He has for us. He offers the finest wheat, and we settle for tasteless fare.
The Lord is intricately involved in our lives for good, and designed us to relate to Him in every occasion. Though He supplies for our daily needs, and displays His glory for us to enjoy with our senses He imagined and made, we often ignore, or stubbornly refuse, His loving pursuit and turn with twisted affection to foreign gods. We have our triggers for calling out in desperate need, but mostly we would rather follow our own counsel than to submit to another’s rules.
God has no pleasure in judgment, or the consequences we bear, but by His holiness He must execute them. He is rightly jealous for us, desiring us to know Him in all His fullness, His mercy and His wrath. He tests us to reveal to us our hearts, that we might recognize our depravity and turn to Him for mercy. He holds out His best for the taking. (Proverbs 17:3; Jeremiah 17:10; Ezekiel 33:11; Galatians 6:7)
Do I hear His invitation as distinct from the world’s enticements? How readily do I respond? A habit of lifting high His glories, recounting His deliverances, and applying His word guards against the allure of strange gods. The sweetest of honey, and daily manna for strength and insight, are ours to savor in His word. His laws are for our good, His discipline for our holiness. Why do we settle for less than His finest wheat? (Exodus 16:4; Psalm 119:103; Hebrews 12:10)
Lord, You alone satisfy. Seal my heart that is prone to wander, and feed me til I want no more.