Friday, February 22, 2013

our faithful God

written by Stephanie Varghese

Read Deuteronomy 7 and Ephesians 2

I’ve decided that THIS will be the year that I read through the entire bible. I was finally shamed into it by my husband Eric’s sweet tiny Grandma. She is struggling with old age and spends a lot of time in bed, but every time I see her we, talk about what she has been reading and I’m always amazed how quickly she reads through the Bible. She told me once that she switches every other time she reads between English and her native language Malayalam, and even though she says she reads much more slowly in English I don’t think it takes her more than a month or two to read through the Bible. So, this year I decided it would be the year, and I have an app on my phone that let me pick from a couple different options and since stick-to-it-iv-ness is not my forte, I thought I may do better with a short term goal and go with the read through the Bible in the 3 months plan. I am supposed to read between 10-15 chapters a day.  Needless to say, I’m a bit behind, but I plug along.

As I’ve been reading through the history of the Israelites in the desert for 40 years. I get annoyed when people knock big-mouth Peter, doubting Thomas and the rest, but I think the Israelites deserve any flack they get. The Israelites saw miracle after miracle: were freed from the Egyptians; had food provided for them every morning and every evening; had water supplied in the desert time and again; conquered tribes and cities they never should have been able to; but they never remember what the Lord did the last time, and they never believe consider that He will do it again.

Finally Moses has had it and he says, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give them birth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers?.... I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.”

But God says in Deuteronomy 7: 6-9 “..The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you… but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.  Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”

The Lord still makes these promises after all their unbelief and stubbornness.

This hits close to home. I am also stubborn. I also have continued to rebel and complain and lose faith at the tiniest twist in the road. Yet, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-6

What a promise, what a faithful God.


  1. In reference to God's faithfulness I would agree that all of our doubts and reservations have been proven unwarranted. That being said, I might argue that the Israelites should be extended the same grace given to “big-mouth Peter” and “doubting Thomas.” Israel did not just witness the natural and supernatural blessings of God, but they also saw the natural and supernatural judgments of God. They were witness to history's most terrible demonstrations of God's wrath. The “miracles after miracles” that Israel witnessed were frightening acts of a vengeful God. They saw and experienced numerous plagues. They endured forty years of wandering through hunger and thirst. They buried friends and family. They were given 611 complicated commandments and suffered dire consequences for minor deviations. They did not have a personal relationship with God, but rather a national relationship which meant that people would be judged because of the actions of their representatives. The God they followed seemed constantly angry. He provided bread with worms. He gave quail, but poisoned it. He gave water, but first made the people to thirst.

    We don't experience the miracles that Israel experienced, but we also don't experience the judgments either. We complain, but our complaints are not met with immediate death. We doubt, yet we can always see more than a meal or drink into the future. We disobey, but are not under a burdensome law. We covet, yet have a diet that consists of more than a daily serving of boiled bread. We have a personal relationship with our God and know Him as a God of grace.

    Is it possible that Israel's complaints were not that God was going to let them die by forgetting about them, but rather that God was going to make them die by paying attention to them? How do you love a God that scares you?

  2. Dan,
    I really appreciate your response to this. Time and again I was frustrated by the Israelites, but also caught myself shaking my head in disbelief at the incredible wrath displayed by God, something I had a hard time reconciling with how I understand God to be. I guess I never put the two together. You have an incredibly good point. Thanks for sticking up for your peeps. :)