“Show me just how far I really am!” – Rival Choir
Deuteronomy is a gem of a book. It’s always been a favorite of mine. Years ago God used it to really speak to me. He used it to confirm who He is to me and to remove so many lies that I was believing at the time. He made things crystal clear regarding His character and who He is. I journaled everything He was speaking to me. I highlighted any passage or verse that spoke directly of His character. It was an amazing time of getting to know Him.
In the book, Moses recounts to a new generation of Jews why their fathers never entered the Promised Land. He reminds them of God’s faithfulness and stresses the importance of why obedience and trust is critical in fully experiencing God in their lives. He also reminds the people of their father’s disobedience and grumbling because of their lack of faith in the Lord.
Today, I was reading Deuteronomy 1 and came across this verse:
“…and you complained in your tents, and said, ‘Because the Lord hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.” (v27, NKJV)
Ouch. What an accusation! The people were not experiencing the fullness of God’s promises and so they were blaming God for having some sort of devious, malicious and meticulous plan to annihilate them. They even said that it was out of a hatred towards them! They even said that God saved them in order to destroy them!
This verse absolutely shook me. Not just because I was disgusted with the people’s accusation (although it certainly is a scathing indictment!), but because the Lord showed me my own heart. I felt ashamed. I saw myself in the people of Israel.
The Lord was speaking clearly to me and asking me some very hard questions. How often have I believed the lie that God, my Savior and the Lover of my soul, is out to get me? What sort of state is my flesh in and how bad are my circumstances for me to accuse God of seeking my destruction? Of setting me up for failure? Of meticulously planning my end out of sheer contempt for me?
I related to this sinful allegation and I felt God’s broken heart. I was strongly convicted. Even if my heart has had the slightest feeling that God is withholding good things from me, it’s coming from a place of disobedience. You see, obeying God is not a works-based way of getting blessing from Him. It’s not about me doing good things in order to achieve points so that He then “pays” me back in rewards. To obey Him is to live according to His plan fully trusting that His way is the best way for me to fully experience HIM. He knows what brings destruction into my life. He’s also very good at telling me to steer clear of these things. He knows that I need His warnings because most of the things that bring destruction into my life are what my flesh desires. And so often I ignore his warnings, I disobey His instruction and then I wonder why I am not experiencing a full and complete relationship with God. Worse than that, I then develop a resentment. I accuse God of saving me only to then kill and destroy me out of hatred for me. It’s incredible how deep we can sink into lies. The biggest and most hurtful lies are the ones we believe about God’s own character. It must shatter Him.
What an amazing truth it is though, to simply trust in God. When we disobey Him we are, in reality, telling Him that we don’t trust Him. Then the lies build up in our heart and soon we’re acting like God’s accuser. And does He strike us down in that moment? Does He abandon us because of our insolence? Does He withdraw His Spirit and promise of salvation? No. He opens His arms even wider and invites us into the embrace of a Father. He comes to us with tenderness to remind us of Who He is, what He has done, and the price it took upon the cross to make all of it happen. We may receive some discipline, but His love is driving Him to correct us.
Oh what a Savior we have! His love is totally unfathomable. If your heart is telling you that God is your enemy and that he’s withholding from you, rebuke the lie, look into your heart of disobedience and repent. His grace and forgiveness is greater than all our sin.
And His promises will always stand.