“They flattered … they lied”
Scanning our eyes through today’s reading of Psalm 78, our attention was arrested by the many references to God’s people Israel that – they did this, and they did that. I counted twenty-seven times the word “they” occurred! The word ‘they” was used in reference to things they did – or did not do. We meditated on this. God’s eyes are on Israel because they are his chosen people! So what did his angels see as they looked into their hearts?
There were times, we read, when
“they sought him; they repented and sought God earnestly. They remembered that God was their rock, the most High God, their redeemer” (verses 34,35).
That is all to their credit and the same can be said of followers of Christ in all ages, when they started to follow him.
Are the next two verses equally true of Jews and Christians? We read –
“But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues. Their heart was not faithful toward him; they were not faithful …” (verses 36,37).
What would you expect God’s reaction to be to this behaviour?
We read on ..
“Yet he, being compassionate … did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often …” (verse 38).
This is evidence of the God of love that many ‘Christian’ leaders talk about, portraying him as ever merciful, that believers are once saved, are always saved! This became a ‘slogan’, you don’t have to worry about sin when you follow Jesus! But isn’t it human nature, the more you get away with something, the more you do it! It seems as if that is how human nature worked with the Jews, they even killed their Messiah!
Let us go back to the Psalm and note the situation that ultimately developed! The time came, the Psalmist has to reluctantly see the time, when God
“was full of wrath, and he utterly rejected Israel” (verse 59).
Here is a very sober warning for Christian believers today. Could worship become just “flattery” from a heart that is not genuinely “steadfast”? Has it become that way for some? For many?
We read in Hebrews 3:13,
“Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ if …” (Hebrews 3:13,14).
Turn this up and read Paul’s exhortation to his fellow Hebrews as his nation was nearing its climax. And what a tragic climax.
It seems clear that the world of ‘today” – in which God’s word has been so easily available – is nearing its climax! Let us meditate right now – from our hearts – on the question Jesus asked!
“When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8).
The answer may depend on how real is your faith – and my faith! Faith is ‘proved’ by actions, our priorities day after day, not just by our words.