Consider: The Covenant

14 08 2010

Part 11 of “Consider This”

Ever feel like God has forgotten about you?

I have now written 10 blogs in this “series” I have called Consider This and they have all been things that we tend to forget about God, but the one in Psalm 74:20 is interesting because this one is directed to God; this one asks God, “Have you forgotten?”

You walked off and left us, and never looked back.
God, how could you do that?
We’re your very own sheep;
how can you stomp off in anger?
Refresh your memory of us… (74:1-3, MSG)

  • God have you forgotten I am actually the man on your side?
  • Have you forgotten I am the woman who loves you?
  • I am the student who has given up a lot of things to serve you?
  • I am the one who has followed you since I was a boy, and now that I am old, have you now deserted me?
  • We are the ones who believed your promises, have you forgotten?

Now, consider again your covenant, God (Psalm 74:20, NASB).

The Bible is full of people who have pointed things out to God (Moses and the entire nation of Israel, Job, Elijah, most of the prophets, the Disciples to name a few), spelling out that they were alone or lonely or hungry or in need of rescue; did God hear them and had He forgotten His promises? Everyone knows God is powerful enough to rescue them; does God know?

It was you who split open the sea by your power;
you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan
and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.
It was you who opened up springs and streams;
you dried up the ever flowing rivers.
The day is yours, and yours also the night;
you established the sun and moon.
It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made both summer and winter (74:13-17, NIV)

God, we know you can do all these BIG things, where are you when we are needing something small like $1,000 or a job or an answer or relief or revenge or healing or just a word, God, just one….little…..word?

Silence. Silence. Silence.

This is confusing for us. This is confusing for people asking questions about God and faith. When we look at the world (or just our world) and the state that it is in, has God forgotten?

I don’t have a neat little answer for this. I wish I did. I just know that God did not enter into our contractual agreement; He is the one who drew up the covenant and it is us who have forgotten, not Him. He has always said, in bold print,

As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:9-11, NIV)

I think I say that I want to follow God, but often in reality, I want Him to follow me. I want to make plans and for Him to bless them. I want Him to get me out of a jam and fix things. My wants become expectations, and unmet expectations derail me. God confuses me when I get confused about His role and mine.

I came across this passage in Zephaniah 3, a beautiful description of the tension that exists between God and man. In this case it is describing His relationship with Jerusalem, but it also describes me, or any of us. God says,

The LORD within her is righteous; he does no wrong.
Morning by morning he dispenses his justice,
and every new day he does not fail…

But our response, my response is:

She obeys no one, she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the LORD,
she does not draw near to her God.

Those words, “draw near” are everything, not because they solve everything for me; drawing near to God does not mean He will reward me with all I ever wanted (remember Job?). But unless and until I draw near to God, I will always overestimate “me” and continually underestimate Him.  Drawing near allows me to look at God closely, to know Him, to trust Him.

If I take it upon myself to judge God from any distance, then I will love Him or hate Him based on whether He gives me what I want, how and when I want it. I will not see any greater purpose in anything, and I will interpret any waiting time, any discomfort, as cruel. If I do not draw near, He and I will be connected by a thread and eventually, inevitably, I will walk away when God does not show up, believing He has deliberately forgotten His covenant with me.

Ultimately, if I am frustrated that God is not meeting me or operating by my standard, then I am following god, not God.

— Teresa Klassen

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