Sunday, September 12, 2010

Oblivious of God (DT 29:1-9)

"And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, 'You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh and all his servants and all his land; the great trials which your eyes have seen, those great signs and wonders. Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.'" (Deuteronomy 29:2-4)
Moses recounts some of the blessings and victories the Israelites received over their forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Specifically he recalls:
  • They were delivered and lead out of Egypt as a result of God's mighty wonders and signs.
  • For forty years they had no need of clothes for their clothes did not wear out.
  • They eat food from heaven without sowing and reaping.
  • They won battles against nation mightier and more experienced in war than they.
  • They had already begun to receive an inheritance of lands, houses, and possessions.
Israel's forty years in the wilderness were forty years of the goodness and grace of God, yet for all the things He did for them, they somehow failed to perceive it; they failed to see God in all they received; they had become oblivious of God. Even today, we can find ourselves going through life oblivious of God and His hand of grace working in our lives. We move from day to day, believing in God, but failing to see Him when He interacts with us and our lives on a daily basis.

There are many reasons why we loose sight of God even in the face of His abundant grace and blessing. One reason is rebellion. "Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear; for they are a rebellious house." (Ezekiel 12:2) Even after God delivered them from Egypt, the Israelites carried with them their false gods from Egypt. "Did you present Me with sacrifices and grain offerings in the wilderness for forty years, O house of Israel? You also carried along Sikkuth your king and Kiyyun, your images, the star of your gods which you made for yourselves." (Amos 5:25-26) In the wilderness, the Israelites did have God but they also had their idols and false gods. This rebellion dulled their eyes from the reality of God in their daily lives. While we may not have wooden idols we carry around with us, when we allow other things and activities to take the place in our hearts that belongs to God, we begin to loose sight of His working in our lives and our eyes grow dim.

Another reason we fail to perceive God is simple pride. "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants." (Matthew 11:25) As we mature and become stayed in our knowledge, understanding, and beliefs, we can become deaf to the surprises of God. We can become so satisfied with what we already know that we turn a deaf ear to the new things God wants to show and teach us. We become prideful in our knowledge and understanding and leave behind a childlike wonder of the world in all its beauty, wonder, and amazement. Paul encountered some Jews who, when Paul shared the Gospel with them, simply refused to believe because it did not fit with their nice packaged religion. "Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, 'The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, "Go to this people and say, 'You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive.'"'" (Acts 28:24-26)

Finally, God can fade from our view when we allow ourselves to become dull; when we loose our edge; when we settle for a life of mediocrity and the status quo. When the disciples asked Jesus why he always spoke to the crowds in parables He said:
"To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, 'You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.' But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear." (Matthew 13:11-16)
As for those outside, they had become dull and their eyes had grown dim. This dullness and blindness does not happen over night but is the long term result of neglect; neglect of our relationship with Jesus.

When we find ourselves having grown oblivious to the goodness of God in our lives, the only solution is to press into God. Jesus encouraged some of the early churches to, "buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see." (Revelation 3:18) We must buy from Him eye salve that we might once again see; see His abiding presence and work in our day-to-day lives. In Isaiah God put it this way, "Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost." (Isaiah 55:1) The key here is the word "come". We must return to the Lord, come daily into his presence, spend time "buying" what we need from Him. If we will learn to be with Him, in His presence, then we will once again become everywhere aware of His presence, blessings, and provisions in our lives.

David Robison

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