The time is just before the crossing over into the promised land of Canaan. The psalmist is instructing this generation… and future generations through lessons drawn from their past. Many were unfaithful and disobedient–but experienced God’s mercy and grace just the same. The more the people received by God’s faithfulness, the more they wanted. By His compassion and grace for his people he still gave. But getting what we want sometimes also brings unwanted consequences.
We can learn many things from our past, both good and bad. This Psalm identifies Israel as having a history of rebellion against God. In those days when God’s law and His provisions were all they had to live by, defiance and ingratitude were serious offenses against God’s wonderful acts to save His people. Continued rebellion brought even more judgment.
What are the principles to be lived by in the life of a man? We can begin with understanding the work of the Holy Spirit. The power to bring forth comes from the Father… the power to arrange comes through the Son… the power to perfect come through the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 8:6, “ Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live— and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
To put all into perspective,
- all things originated from the Father,
- that by which all things exist, the Son,
- and that by which all things attain their final destiny, through the Holy Ghost.
We are not made just merely to exist, but everything created has a purpose and a destiny. To be led by God is the cause of development—according to our nature, and we mature [made perfect] by the work of the Holy Spirit. In the case of Israel, their identity was known as a ‘multitude of people’ all with one mind—to be carried out of the bondage of Egypt into a land of their own. Through it they would learn to recognize God as their deliverer and their only source of continued “life.’ And some still did not believe when it came to the end of their journey.
The question still was, ‘‘How was the multitude of the elect to attain their final perfection?” The answer can only be “by the Holy Ghost’s action upon the people.” They could never accomplish their end unless they dwelled in God’s temple… and He in them. It is the natural love of God that keeps Him in the heart of His children—by which we in return love Him. It is like seeing ourselves in a mirror and be conscious of His handiwork, and reflecting it back to His glory. His glorious purpose is to be known as He is known, and enjoy the closeness of communion with God. This can only become a part of us by the indwelling of Christ in our hearts—this is evidence of God’s higher purposes realized when the Holy Spirit makes man’s heart His dwelling place.
It was important to continue to carry on the traditions from that first generation who experienced the Exodus, passing it to the children of future generations. Tradition was kept alive by the sharing of meals and observing the holy days while families would sing psalms and pray together. Religious instruction was never to be set aside or neglected. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His ways are perfect. Each oncoming generation must be taught to recognize God’s hand in this present time as well as the past and future. Today our children should be taught to distinguish between a changing society and moral values that do not change. Continual resistance to God destroys opportunity, and cuts off our future.
1 Give ear, O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert!