Key passages for this devotion: Deut. 4:30-31
“When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.”
The Israelites are standing poised to enter into the Promised Land. Their families have traveled 40 years in the desert, waiting for the good life. But these are not the original slaves whom Moses brought out of captivity, these are their descendants, only Caleb, Joshua and Moses remain. Moses is recounting the history of their journey, reminding them of who they were and how they came to be in this spot. He urges them to “…be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (Deut. 4:9). He reminds them that idolatry is forbidden; he promises them that if they become corrupt and make any kind of idol and/or do evil in the eyes of the LORD that they will quickly perish from the land they’ve crossed the Jordan to posses. At the same time Moses reminds the people of God’s mercy. “For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.” (Deut. 4:31)
In the years after the people moved into Canaan, many did forget what God had done for them; they neglected to teach their children, they made and worshiped idols they could “see”. We find David, who went from shepherd boy to king, had seen God’s glory and still found a way to do evil in God’s eyes when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed.
Today, thousands of years later, I read the words of the Psalmists; I hear their anguish as they cry out “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped.” (Psalm 32: 3-5).
“…my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. (Psalm 31: 9-10)
I think to myself, Oh, I’ve been there; I’ve turned away from God, relied on myself to make my way, neglected to teach my children about the glories that God has done in my life – I’ve let them “slip from my heart”. My bones have ached with stress-induced illnesses; my heart and my body have been weakened by grief. It is only then, when I am at my weakest that I remember that God is merciful; He made a deal with my people. I read the words of King David in this Psalm that he wrote which is a celebration of God’s deliverance. And I rejoice that God is faithful – even when I’m not.
Psalm 30 (The Message)
“I give you all the credit, GOD— you got me out of that mess, you didn't let my foes gloat. GOD, my God, I yelled for help and you put me together. GOD, you pulled me out of the grave, gave me another chance at life when I was down-and-out. All you saints! Sing your hearts out to GOD! Thank him to his face! He gets angry once in a while, but across a lifetime there is only love. The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter. When things were going great I crowed, "I've got it made. I'm GOD's favorite. He made me king of the mountain." Then you looked the other way and I fell to pieces. I called out to you, GOD; I laid my case before you: "Can you sell me for a profit when I'm dead? Auction me off at a cemetery yard sale? When I'm 'dust to dust' my songs and stories of you won't sell. So listen! And be kind! Help me out of this!"
"You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I'm about to burst with song; I can't keep quiet about you. GOD, my God, I can't thank you enough.”
JoAnn Lampe has attended Crossroads Church since November, 2001. Her daughter Dana, is married to Scott and they have a son, Alex, the joy of his grandmother's life. Daughter, Sarah, is engaged to Chuck and will be married April 17, 2010. JoAnn volunteers at Wings of Eagles Ranch, loves to read and take long walks with her 2 dogs.