Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Psalm 78

For me, this adoption journey has been nothing if not spiritually rich, fraught with glimpses of Him seen more clearly through the lens of suffering and waiting. The lessons continue.

Today I was reading Psalm 78, which is a command to tell the coming generations about the deeds of the Lord. (Noel Piper talks a lot about this passage in her book on traditions). I love this chapter because I love the idea of remembering--something God commands us over and over again to do--and telling our children what He has done.

Further along in the passage, though, we read an account of what God did in protecting the Israelites, setting them free from the Egyptians, bringing them through the Red Sea, and providing for them in the wilderness. And then at one point, here is how they react to a trial that comes upon them:

They tested God in their heart
by demanding the food they craved.
They spoke against God, saying,
'Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
He struck the rock so that water gushed out
and streams overflowed.
Can He also give bread
or provide meat for His people?'
(Ps 78:18-20)

In other words, He provided what we needed before, but can He really do it again? Note that what they wanted wasn't bad: food. God wanted to provide it for them, and He did, even in spite of His anger and their lack of faith ("...they did not believe in God and did not trust His saving power..." vs 22).

So then, He gave them food, and while it was still in their mouths, He struck some of them down. His anger was kindled against them. But where His justice goes, His mercy often follows:

Yet He, being compassionate,
atoned for their iniquity
and did not destroy them;
He restrained His anger often
and did not stir up all His wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh,
a wind that passes and comes not again...
...They did not remember His power
or the day when He redeemed them from the foe...
(Ps 78:38-39, 42)

All this relates so exactly to this adoption journey. How many times has He shown Himself strong for us? How many times has He provided? How many times has He fought for us? As we prepare to leave for a trip full of many unknowns, He goes before us and will be with us. When the times come on this trip when we are tempted to doubt that He will do again what He has done before, may we remember this. And when we are home with our daughter and beginning our life as a family of five,

We will not hide them from [our] children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and His might,
and the wonders He has done... that they should set their hope in God.
(Ps 78:4, 7a)

Iain, Cory, and Baby Girl, we will tell you what He has done. We wille always remember His works and never doubt that He can again spread a table in the wilderness. His might and power know no end, and He is leading us, carrying us, feeding us, fighting for us, rescuing us. He is strong, just, able, good, and full of mercy. You will hear the stories, and you will live them with us, so that your hope will be forever in God.

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