This past Sunday the message at church encouraged and challenged my heart so much at the same time (Listen to it here). I love how God uses His Word to encourage and rebuke me when I need it most. Lately I have been so selfish as I have focused on my own troubles. I’m so thankful for this spiritual “kick in the pants” that got my eyes off myself and on to God and His Word. Pastor Jim spoke on Psalm 78, a massive, beautiful psalm by Asaph. I’m not going to try and tell you everything, but I do want to convey the beautiful truths that spoke to my heart.
Pastor Jim pointed out the theme of Psalm 78, found in verses 33-40: God’s mercy in spite of Israel’s sin. Over and over the psalmist gives examples of past happenings in Israel’s history where they forgot what God had done for them and rebelled. Their forgetting bred unfaithfulness, discontentment, and ultimately death. God’s power hadn’t failed; Israel’s memory had. Thus Asaph wrote this psalm as a reminder to the future generations. They needed to remember the wondrous deeds of Yahweh, which would help them be faithful to Him.
One quote that really stuck out to me was, “We are what we remember.” If we remember what God has done for us we will love Him more, and our hearts will grow in faithfulness to Him. How do we do this practically? By being people of the Word. We can’t remember what we have not trained out minds to know. This truth was so convicting to me. On a daily basis I complain and lean on my own understanding instead of remembering God and what He has done. It’s easy to judge the Israelites for their sin when I read passages like Psalm 78, but I am just like them. Throughout my life God has blessed me with so much, and He has always been faithful, yet I am so quick to complain and get frustrated when trials come. I begin to believe the lies of the devil because I am not disciplining my mind and heart to remember what God has done for me.
I want to R E M E M B E R.
When this trial of waiting makes me think that maybe God doesn’t care about me, I must remember that He does care, and He sympathizes with my weakness. Hebrews 4:14-15: Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
When I think that this world revolves around me and what I want, I must remember that God is in charge, not me. He rules the universe, and everything revolves around Him. See Job 26 and Isaiah 40
When I am tempted to complain about what I don’t have, I must remember all the wonderful things He has already blessed me with, namely salvation. Ephesians 1:3-6: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
When I think that this season of waiting is a waste of time, I must remember that God, in His sovereignty, is using it for good. Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
When I am prideful and think that I can do this life all in my own strength, I must remember my sufficiency is from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5: Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,
When I am tempted to think that God’s love for me hinges on what I do for Him, I must remember that His love is steadfast and unconditional. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. and Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
One of my favorite songs of late is “Take This Slowly” by The Gray Havens. It’s all about remembering what God has done in the past and asking Him for grace through each moment, which I think goes so well with what God taught me through Psalm 78.
Some of my favorite words in the song are:
So let’s take this slowly
All I need is coming
But it’s just beyond what I can see
So if my eyes press forward in fierce alarm
Just turn my head back to see
To see how we got this far
And I’ll be alright
I’m not asking for mountains of riches
No silver or gold
Don’t need fame or fancier things
I can’t take when I go
I’m just asking for grace
Grace to carry on
Grace to take joy at my place at the table
And the rock that it’s standing on
Still I’ve heard all that I have
In the moment is hardly a sign
Of everything coming my way
I believe when I need it, it will be mine
I am what I remember, therefore I want to remember what God has done for me, as well as His wonders through the ages.
Thanks for reading! I hope you find joy and comfort as you remember what God has done for you today.