March 10

Psalm 95

“For forty years I loathed that generation and said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they do not regard my ways.’ Therefore in my anger I swore, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’” vss. 10-11

Israel’s family story had some patches of what sounds like parental abuse. As they remembered their time in the wilderness they heard about the problems at Meribah and Rephidim when the wanderers had been directed by the Lord to camp where there was no water. When the people had complained, the anger of the Lord had been kindled against them, and they had been punished. That generation was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. This is not a story of grace! In fact, the psalmist used it as a warning. He believed that if he reminded the people of the Lord’s anger in the past, they’ll be sure to behave in the present. We tend to gloss over passages like this, and it’s probably good that we do. Many of us know what child abuse is all about–we’ve had parents who punished us severely. They may even have said they were doing it for our own good, so that we’d turn from our sinful ways. Some who have been exposed to such treatment, and who read such verses, have concluded that God is like their angry, punishing parent. Some may even believe that God loathes them! What a pity! The psalmist did not have the last word on the nature of God. Jesus did! And he tells us God loves us unconditionally!

Thought for the Day: How did my parents punish me?

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