Don't Test the Lord - Do These Three Things Instead

April 2, 2020

 

Strength in the Desert, Part 2

When Israel was wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, they became disgruntled, discontented, and dissatisfied. Although God was providing everything they needed to survive and be healthy, they thought they deserved more.

We need Jesus to be our perfect substitution to speak to the Father on our behalf. He is the only representative who has never been disgruntled, discontent, or dissatisfied.

Psalm 78 describes the wrath of God against such attitudes, so what are some ways to safeguard ourselves from testing the Lord like this?

1. Be thankful

James 1:17 says that every good and perfect give comes from God. How often do we complain about the very things that God has blessed us with out of his own gracious desires? Next time you feel yourself about to complain, take time to thank God. Are you frustrated with your spouse or child? Thank God for giving you such precious gifts that many other people would give anything to have. Are you disappointed that dinner wasn’t as good as you hoped? Be thankful you are able to eat.

2. Be Content

Paul says in Phil. 4:12 that he can abound in any circumstance. Not everyone has a lot of money or a wonderful place to live, but Paul reminds us that wealth and temporary prosperity is not the source of true joy and contentment. The Israelites were not thrilled about only being able to eat manna, but they should have been thankful and content that they were able to eat what God provided for them.

3. Be satisfied

In Psalm 63 David expressed his earnest desire for the Lord, and in verses 5-8 he responds to this need by praising the Lord and remembering him. He says his soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food when he remembers and meditates on the Lord. Instead of craving the selfish desires of this world, crave the Lord himself and meditate on the wonderful things he has done.

As we strive to keep these God-honoring attitudes, it is also important to remember that it is inevitable for sinners to fall prey to selfish attitudes at one time or another. That is why we need Jesus to be our perfect substitution to speak to the Father on our behalf. He is the only representative who has never been disgruntled, discontent, or dissatisfied. If you are in Christ, he is your mediator, representative, and savior.


Steve Swartz, D.Min

Dr. Swartz is the senior teaching pastor of Grace Bible Church in Bakersfield, California and author of Shattered Shepherds and Strength in the River. You can hear him on the Steadfast in the Faith broadcast.


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