Volume. XXIX, No. 16
Sunday, 19 October 2014


From the Pastors heart : Wait for God (Part 12)


Psalm 106:13, “They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel.”

 

The message from Psalm 106 offers us a different milieu concerning waiting for God. While all other passages we have studied so far deal with situations in which God’s people exercised their patience by faith in waiting for God, this Psalm rebukes God’s people for not waiting for Him. Warren W. Wiersbe produced a year-long devotional book, Prayer, Praise & Promises: A Daily Walk through the Psalms (Baker Book House, 1992) from the book of Psalms.  He offers us no less than 5 messages from Psalm 106 alone.  If we read just the titles of those five devotional messages, we may see the flow of thoughts of the psalm. They are: (1) Who can praise the Lord? (vv. 1-5), (2) Thanks for nothing (vv. 6-15), (3) Stand in the gap (vv. 16-23), (4) A leader sin (vv. 24-33), and (5) The cost of mingling (vv. 34-48). The Psalmist opens the psalm by speaking of the goodness of God and His worthiness to be praised. However, right after that section is over, he talks about ungratefulness of God’s people and their forgetfulness of His mighty acts for them. 

 

The Psalm begins with a powerful affirmation of the mighty works of God in verse 2: “Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise?” They are none other than the people who have experienced God’s goodness and power. The psalmist says of the people of God and his forefathers (vv. 4, 7). His goodness and power is extended even to His people who have sinned and committed iniquity against Him. However, they did not remember His mercy (v. 7). They do not understand His mighty works for their deliverance in Egypt. Despite their ungratefulness, the Lord delivered and rescued them for the sake His own name (v. 8). At His rebuke, the Red Sea made an open and dried path for them, while their enemies were destroyed in the water. They wonder and are marveled at the works of the Lord.  Thus, they even believe the words of the Lord and sing praises to Him (v. 12).  However, all of their commendable words and deeds have stopped there, and soon they begin to depart from the path of righteousness.  They forgot His works and did not wait for His counsel. 

 

The Psalm also tells us about the conditions of the people when they forgot the works of God for them and did not wait for His counsel any more. They lusted exceedingly and tempted God (v. 14).  They envied their leaders, Moses and Aaron (v. 16).  They made an idol and worshipped it (v. 19).  Verse 28 says, “They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead.”  Their despicable practice of idolatry is well described in verses 37-38, “Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils. 38 And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.”  They forgot God all together (v. 21).  If we know that the historical background of his talks is the Exodus event, God’s redemption of His people from the bondage of the Egyptians, we will be even more surprised. The children of Israel benefitted from the Lord’s mighty works against the Egyptians. They saw how He rescued them from the threats of the following Egyptian army, when they reached the Red Sea. They experienced the Lord’s good and mighty works of providing them with food and water in the wilderness. That was the time when they began to rebel against God because they had already forgotten what He had done for them. The beneficiaries of God’s mighty works were still alive, and there were many eyewitnesses of God’s redemptive work for the children of Israel during the time of their rebellions.  In fact, the ones who rebelled against God in the wilderness were the ones who had seen all the mighty works of God and tasted His goodness. They simply did not remember them. They forgot them all, as if nothing happened for them by God.  They did not remember God.  It is an irony that God who rescued them from the hardships in the land of Egypt had to punish them bitterly. 

 

In the midst of all these rebellions and confusions, we may find reasons why they have fallen into such spiritual abhorrence. Verses 34-35 say, “They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: 35 But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.” I would say that there are two clear reasons why they fell into sin: (1) They were mingled with the heathen and began to learn from them; and (2) They forgot God and all His benefits through mighty works and goodness.  It is always the case that these two reasons go together. When a believer of God does not keep the boundaries between the world and God, or when he does not separate himself from world while claiming to be a child of God, he is in danger of losing his faith and trust in God and forgetting Him altogether. These two reasons also pose two subsequent problems: (1) such a person begins to rely on himself or other means for supplying  his needs.  He does not realize that God is the supplier.  He has overconfidence in himself by depending on him for his own needs; (2) such a person does not feel any necessity to know the will and thought of God. Thus, verse 13 says, “They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel.” Their mind is simply led by their own thoughts, which are different from the thoughts of God. “They waited not for His counsel.” 

 

Such a change from relying on God for deliverance and redemption to relying on themselves for all their needs does not take a long time. Their memory of God’s goodness toward them is only for a short period of time. Verse 13 says, “They soon forgat . . . .” As we ponder on such sins, we need to learn a few lessons.  The first lesson is that the majority does not do the right thing always.  In fact, all Israelites above twenty years old at the time of Exodus perished in the wilderness because of their iniquities. They were major components of the people of Israel.  They were soldiers, leaders, and workers during the wilderness journey, but they could not escape the justice of God.  The second lesson is that the sins we have seen in this Psalm are not committed only by immature people but also by mature believers.  Even the mature believers may fall into this danger of not waiting for the counsel of the Lord. Consider the error Joshua committed when the Gibeonites approached him. Instead of asking the Lord for His counsel, he made his own judgment, and as a result they could not be expelled from the land of the children of Israel. There is no one whose thoughts are always in agreement with the thoughts of God, except the Spirit of God. The third lesson is that all God’s children must be patient and faithful in knowing the thoughts of God in all things. They ought not to commit the sin of not waiting for His counsel. Consider what Andrew Murray has to say on this matter: “Our whole relation to God is ruled in this, that His will is to be done in us and by us as it is in heaven. He has promised to make known His will to us by His Spirit, the Guide into all truth. And our position is to be that of waiting for His counsel as the only guide of our thoughts and actions. In our church worship, in our prayer-meetings, in our conventions, in all our gatherings as managers, or directors, or committees, or helpers in any part of the work for God, our first object ought ever to be to ascertain the mind of God. God always works according to the counsel of His will; the more that counsel of His will is sought and found and honored, the more surely and mightily will God do His work for us and through us. The great danger in all such assemblies is that in our consciousness of having our Bible, and our past experience of God’ s leading, and our sound creed, and our honest wish to do God’s will, we trust in these, and do not realize that with every step we need and may have a heavenly guidance. There may be elements of God’s will, application of God’s word, experience of the close presence and leading of God, manifestations of the power of His Spirit, of which we know nothing as yet. God may be willing, nay, God is willing to open up these to the souls who are intently set upon allowing Him to have his way entirely, and who are willing in patience to wait for His making it known” (The Andrew Murray Collection: 21 Classic Works, Kindle Locations 19478-19487).

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Bro Edwin D’Mello. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Phil Surman.

*Baptism & Membership Transfer will be conducted next Lord’s Day. Candidates will be interviewed today at the side sanctuary.

*Rehearsals for Mini-Christmas Concert begins next Saturday. Please avail yourselves for this God-honouring church function.

*Working Bee: help needed to clean up church property.

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Bro Aaron Tan (Adl); Dn Mark & Sis Helen Heah; Bro Jason & Sis Tabitha Tan & Joell (Tas); Sisters Jun Lin, Peng Ha Yeo (Adl) & Felicia Tan (S’pore); & others travelling.

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Visitors & new worshippers.

4. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

5. Good weather in last week.

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Herbert (Dilly) Anderson (Kenya), Raymond Ang’s father (S’pore), Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law, Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicia’s father - S’pore) & Jason Teng; Sisters Margaret Hooper, Myung Ki, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Margaret Pearson, Iris Surman’s brother, Corinne Teng, Susan Weng & Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong; Mr Lucas Lee; Mr Tony Zhang; Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Mumbai); & others in affliction.

2. Post-op recovery: Sis Christabelle Selvanayagam.

3. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis Wol Hee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

4. Chemotherapy: Sis Queenie Lau (Canberra).

5. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.

6. Cambodia Missions - Rev Moses Hahn & Ministry; Preacher Zhang & Ministry (Sihanoukville).

7. IBPFM & PMU: board members & missionaries.

8. New Life BPC (London) - strength & encouragement for congregation; Resident Preacher Mok.

9. Providence B-P Church, Valley View - Bro David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

10. Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

11. Journey mercies: Dn Mark & Sis Helen Heah; Bro Jason & Sis Tabitha Tan & Joell; Bro Ricky & Sis Lucy Kim & Lara (Adl); Bro Joseph Selvanayagam (S’pore/Adl/Melb/Adl); & others travelling.

12. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

13. Year 12 students: Bro Samuel Ting; Sisters Kai Jun Chua, Natalie Gan, Agnes See & Joey Teh; & University students - preparing for year end exams.

14. Candidates for Baptism: Bros DiWei Lin & XiHeng Wu; Membership Transfers: Bro Sung Hyun & Sis Arum Ma (& Grace); Bro William Song.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063