In this track on Learners we look at Psalm 81:1-10
Sing for joy to God our strength;
shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
Begin the music, strike the timbrel,
play the melodious harp and lyre.
Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival; this is a decree for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
When God went out against Egypt,
he established it as a statute for Joseph.
I heard an unknown voice say:
“I removed the burden from their shoulders;
their hands were set free from the basket.
In your distress you called and I rescued you,
I answered you out of a thundercloud;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
if you would only listen to me, Israel!
You shall have no foreign god among you;
you shall not worship any god other than me.
I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
The issue of idolatry in Israel revolved around God’s provision. From his perspective, his provision had been abundant. From his perspective there were adequate lessons showing his faithfulness to his covenant and poverty-based responses need not be considered. Yet at times he has to take us through a test repeatedly to grow is to a place where there is no more fear there.
We see David’s training when God sent him back to Judea to face Saul. He hid in the wilderness, terrified, he fled. He was grown significantly in his ability to frame this very situation around the covenant-keeping God that promised he would be the next king. God tested him early on to reveal to him how deficient his faith was through the repetitive test. Bringing Saul closer and closer each time until he could walk into the camp while they slept and take Saul’s spear and water bottle.
Tonight as your kidney and adrenals prepare for the soul to shut down, consider whether you need to forgive God for the repetitive lessons. There are many situations that are done once. There are others where God knows are significant and he brings us back to them again and again and again.
With a Father’s wisdom, he is growing us to the point where we are absolutely bullet-proof on that issue. We know it. That is a treasure that comes from the hand of a covenant God. A treasure so often we curse because we don’t want to go through the growing pains.
If that is an issue with you, I would encourage you to acknowledge your anger towards God, ask him to forgive you and lean into the process allowing him to decide where you need receptive testing.
Having listened to this section for Learners, what are your thoughts and emotions that bubble up? How do you relate to what is being described?
Think of a situation in your life that was a one-off ordeal. Now think of those reoccurring times when you know you have been around this mountain before. Firstly, let yourself off the hook if you bought into the idea that you somehow missed it the first time around and you are now suffering the consequences of further testing. It can very well be you are in need of repetitive testing to grow in this area and that can only come by way of process.
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