Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness…
Thanksgiving is a little over two weeks away. And we’ll be counting our blessings, taking inventory of all the wonderful things God has done for us.
Today’s focus text calls upon readers to recall the grievous sins of the past. Yes, we’re all sinners. And most of us have some whoppers we’d just as soon forget.
But wait. We’re forgiven. Justified — which means God views us “like we never sinned.” The case has been closed on those offences against God. Why bring it up again?
Part of growing in Christ is learning from the sins of our past. Don’t let the ugly part of your history repeat itself.
The psalmist refers to the time the Israelites camped in the wilderness at Rephidim. There was no water there, and rather than trust God to provide, they complained. Their grumbling was so severe it caused Moses to fear for his life. So he called out to God, and the Lord gave them water from a rock.
Sins of your past are repeated when you are dissatisfied with God’s provision.
We’re given greater insight into their sin in Exodus 17:7. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Massah means testing. Meribah is translated — rebellion.
Obviously, they flunked the faith test. Their continued rebellious spirit led to God’s punishment, 40 more years in the wilderness.
Sins of your past are repeated when your heart turns hard toward God.
The psalm writer warns, “Do not harden your hearts…” Don’t repeat the foolish sins of your past, like when you grumbled and complained against God. Here, the transgressions referenced were committed by their ancestors two hundred years before. But God’s expectations for His followers remained the same.
Life is hard and can harden our hearts; cause us to be indifferent to God. We get so wrapped up in today’s problems, we overlook the Lord’s provision from the past.
The Lord had miraculously delivered the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. Then as the Egyptian army was closing in, God parted the sea, allowing His people to cross safely. When they were hungry, He provided manna. But conditions were far from ideal, inconvenient, and unpleasant. And so they grumbled and rebelled.
Sins of your past are repeated when you cease to look forward in faith.
They were focused on where they were and not on where they were going. Faith trusts the Lord to take us where we need to go; trusts God to lead us through the wilderness of adversity to something better.
Just because you can’t see evidence of God’s help in your problems, it doesn’t mean He has abandoned you. Remember, “…faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Then one day you look back and realize He was there all along. The Lord brought you through the wilderness of adversity. That problem that once weighed so heavily upon your heart is gone.
Sins of your past are repeated when you fail to learn from the faith lessons from your past.
Sins of the past have a way of resulting in future temptations. Like a pop quiz from the teacher designed to determine if you have learned the lesson as you should. When you pass the test, you prove your spiritual maturity.
Repeating sin stunts spiritual growth. Rejecting sin shows progress.
Have you ever eaten in a restaurant where the experience was so bad you swore you would never return? Or have you shopped at a store where the service was so despicable you vowed to never shop there again? That’s how you should feel about the sins of your past. You never want to go there again.
A hard heart and indifference to the Lord can cause ungodly history to repeat itself. Ask God to warm your heart to the righteousness and faith that honors Him. And if you’re going through a season in the wilderness — keep on trusting. He promises never to leave you or forsake you.
For more on this topic, check out this article: God Knows the Reality of Your Heart
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.