It’s not that I understand the Bible better reading outside in the morning – I think I hear better – even with muffled sounds of the toll way and Love Field’s air traffic. So, when I settled into my comfy outdoor chair, coffee in hand, I was not disappointed when I heard from the Lord – but I was startled.
What startled me was what I did not see.
When I opened my Bible to begin a review of Deuteronomy, I could see the pages were filled with underlined words or whole verses; pithy notes; quotes; comments and cross-references colorfully marked; testifying how often I studied Deuteronomy! There, right in front of me in black and white – and red and blue and green – the reminders of clear instruction – care -- and warning.
• God didn’t choose Israel because of her worthiness.
• God hated the wickedness of the other nations.
• God did not want His people to embrace their ways, or their religions.
• God wanted Israel to show His greatness in all they did and said -- And
• God is faithful
Then, I saw what I hadn’t noted in previous study: God’s indictment of His people’s conduct -- their constant grumbling, and persistent willfulness – observations about Israel that apply to me. In Deuteronomy 1:27 no marks reminded me that God hears me “grumbling in my tent.” Nor, had I underlined what God told Moses to tell the Israelites: I spoke to you, but you would not listen. (Deut. 1:43, emphasis added) Had I never see a connection to me?
These may seem mild compared to Israel’s later failures – but they are the very seeds from which so much bitter fruit grew. Discontent with God’s way and preferring my own course to His are ruinous roots that wreck my autumn’s garden. And they wreck many other seniors’ gardens when we imagine our age allows us special privileges.
The older we get, the more we may feel we have the right to speak our mind, and to do as we please. Babies may get away with it, but people who complain and refuse to take directions are hard to be around, especially in old age. Scripture never grants that right to any saint – no matter how senior -- to be unrestrained. God did not excuse Moses’ outburst of temper. He won't excuse mine. His ear is attuned to my grumbling and His eye to my failure to represent Him. He saw Israel’s willfulness, and He won’t stop overseeing me in my golden years.
|Note: Trash Can
“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob,
all you who remain in Israel.
I have cared for you since you were born.
Yes, I carried you before you were born.
I will be your God throughout your lifetime—
until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you." (Isaiah 46:3-5)
The sad reality though is how many old people have never heard the Gospel of grace, and feel trapped in the terrifying twilight of their years. This need not be so!
Who will go for us asked the Lord of Isaiah --- Those of us who can, may go – and offer friendship and encouragement; those of us who aren’t as mobile can pray. Pick up a tool, while the light remains – the harvest might look white for more than one reason! (John 4:35) And quit kvetching!
Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
they will remain vital and green.
They will declare, “The Lord is just!
He is my rock!
There is no evil in him!” (Psalm 92)
The Week Begins – April 29 last year.
|1st ROSES 2014!