Who Do You Think I Am? - Conclusion

We've reached the end of the titles of God in the Psalms without me even realizing it.  Yes, I could have expanded the study to include all the adjectives and descriptive phrases, but for the sake of brevity, I wanted to keep it focused on the titles themselves.  And, it seems we've reached the end.  Honestly, though, I can't think of a better term to end on than the one we discussed yesterday: "He in whom I trust."  If you think about it, it's only because God is all these other things that we can place our trust in Him.  What an awesome conclusion!

In fact, the book of Psalms has a beautiful conclusion of its own.  The last several chapters are all about praising God.  They speak of who God is, what He's done and what He is going to do.  It's like the Lord planned the book in such a way as to first explain precisely who God is so that we would find Him worthy of praise by the time (and hopefully long before) we reach the end.

For the sake of time and space, I'm not going to share with you all of these closing psalms, but I do encourage you to read them.  I would, however, like to post the final psalm as a means of concluding this study.  The title asks, "Who Do You Think I Am?"  Now, we know the answer to that question, and because God is so amazing, He deserves our praise.

Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. - Psalm 150

Who Do You Think I Am? - He in Whom I Trust

Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me. - Psalm 144:1-2

"Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him.  How I've proved Him o'er and o'er."  I stopped singing at that point because it occurred to me that I was lying through my teeth.  The fact was, at that moment, I wasn't trusting God at all.  I was fretting.  I was anxious.  I felt overwhelmed and all alone in my torment.  I needed help.  I needed answers.  But more than anything, I needed to learn to trust.

In Psalm 144:2, we find a term of God that is different than any other we have studied because whether we can apply this name is entirely up to us.  Every other title we've discussed has been a sure thing.  As Christians, God is our strength, refuge, fortress, deliverer, and so on.  It's non-negotiable.  It really has no bearing on what we do or don't do.  Obviously, it's up to us whether or not we plug into the power source that is God, but whether we do or not, God is still all of these things and more.

However, the phrase "he in whom I trust" is only applicable if we truly have faith in God.  If the psalmist had said that God was "he who is trustworthy," that would be a different story, for God is trustworthy regardless of our faith.  But the psalmist was very specific and insisted this title be more personal than all the rest.  So, while God is certainly trustworthy and has proven His faithfulness time and again, whether He is "he in whom I trust" depends on me.  After all, there's no getting around that personal pronoun "I."  It's not about "he whom others have trusted," nor is it about "he whom I should trust."  So the real question is, do I trust God?

I wish I could answer with a resounding "yes," but my actions and emotions indicate the opposite.  I wouldn't allow my worries to keep me up at night if I really trusted God.  I wouldn't fret over how to pay the bills or how to fit 20 hours worth of work into a 24-hour period.  I wouldn't spend so much time and energy feeling overwhelmed and uneasy.  I would be happier and more at peace.  So, do I trust God?  Evidently not, but that's not to say I don't want to.

How about you?  Is this title of God one that you can apply to your life?  Can you say, without a doubt, that God is "he in whom you trust"?  It's entirely up to you.

As for me, I may not be able to honestly sing, "Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him," but I can and will continue to pray, "Oh, for grace to trust Him more."

Who Do You Think I Am? - Our Goodness

Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me. - Psalm 144:1-2

We all know that God is good, but we often fail to realize that God is goodness itself.  The word "goodness" carries with it the idea of mercy, integrity, uprightness, of good moral standing.  Where God is concerned, goodness is the characteristic that allows Him to show mercy and patience when we don't deserve it, to pour His love out on us even though He knows we'll take it for granted, to give to us knowing that we'll only ask for more.  In short, God treats us far better than we deserve.  And any good qualities we find within ourselves are all from Him.  In and of ourselves, we are anything but good.

In all my years of being a dog lover/owner, I have never been tested in the area of goodness like I have recently with Barnabas.  Our newest addition is a sweet, loveable little critter, but he definitely has some issues.  I've already told you about his anxiety, but he also has a stubborn streak like I've never seen.  As if that weren't enough, he has the doggie equivalent of ADHD syndrome.  All in all, he's a handful.

But here's what I'm really having a difficult time with.  The poor dog seems to have more mood swings than I do.  One minute, he's calm and peaceful; the next, he's running through the house like a wild animal.  One day, he seems to have learned the lessons from our training sessions; the next day, it's like we're back to square one.  One day, I see marked improvement; the next, I'm ready to give up!  I don't think I've ever felt so much at my wit's end with a dog.

I will admit there were a few times in those first couple of weeks when I thought of returning him.  I had already fallen in love with him, but he was proving to be more work than I had anticipated.  So, why did we keep him?  For one, as I stated, I love the crazy mutt, and love doesn't give up on someone when things get difficult.  Secondly, I see myself in Barnabas.  Unfortunately, I'm familiar with the anxiety, the mood swings, the difficulty focusing on one thing instead of being distracted by everything around me.  I understand what it's like to think I've finally learned a lesson only to discover that I made the same mistake again.  In my insecure pooch, I recognize my own lack of trust in my Master which causes me to act out in ways I'm not sure I'll ever understand.

You know how every parent prays their child will have a child just like them so they can experience the "joy" of raising such a young one.  Well, I'm not sure if my parents ever prayed that about me, but it seems that's exactly what happened.  My "child" is just like me, and I don't have a clue how to help him.  But I'm learning.  In fact, I'm learning by example.  My Master is guiding me by using my own life as a visual aid.  And today's lesson has helped me to realize how good God is.  Comparing myself to Barnabas, I can see how much goodness God has bestowed on my life.  He has been so kind, loving and patient.  He's displayed mercy beyond belief.  And no matter how troublesome I've been, He's never left me, forsaken me or given up on me.  His goodness endureth forever!

And now it's time for that goodness to flow through me to help another dear one who needs to be reminded that his master loves him, cares for him and will continue to work with him as long as it takes.  After all, that's what goodness does.

Who Do You Think I Am? - God of Gods and Lord of Lords

O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever. - Psalm 136:2-3

God of gods and Lord of lords. Throughout the ages, man has created, served and worshiped a multitude of gods. From idols made of stone to famous sports figures, man has always held someone in high esteem and given that individual priority above all else. But no matter how often man may protest, there is none above God. He is the God of all gods, King of all kings, and Lord of all lords. No matter how important or impressive another might be, there is none more important or impressive than God, and He has the resume to back it up.

I think of Elijah as he challenged the prophets of Baal to a little contest. The rules were simple: (1) Call down fire from Heaven. (2) Witness the response of God (or false god, in the case of Baal). Elijah was even kind enough to allow the Baal worshipers to go first. They built their altar and cried to their god, but nothing happened. They begged, pleaded, jumped up and down on the altar and even cut themselves in an attempt to get Baal's attention. The result? Absolutely nothing. On his turn, Elijah ordered the altar wet down again and again. He turned his eyes to Heaven and humbly asked the God of all gods and Lord of lords to prove His power. He did! Not only did the fire consume the offering, but it also consumed the wood, the water, the rocks and everything else. And the winner is. . . (drum roll please). . .the Lord God! No doubt about it.

Time and time again, God has proven Himself more powerful, more wise, more loving, more compassionate, more holy and more loyal than any other so-called god. Even death itself could not defeat Him. Everything and everyone is under His command whether they like it or not. And one day, everyone will answer to Him. At that time, there will be no doubt in anyone's mind who's the boss.

I know we shouldn't compare ourselves with others, and there's no place for bragging when it comes to worldly possessions or status. Let's face it, we live in a day and age that thrives on "My car is better than your car" and "My house is more expensive than your house." It's sickening and has led many to max out their credit cards in an effort to "keep up with the Joneses." And still, they're discontent with their lot in life. It seems everyone is trying to one-up someone else, when the fact of the matter is we're all just sinners, some of us saved by the grace of God, but sinners nonetheless. None of us is any better than anyone else.

When it comes to God, however, I'll gladly debate with non-believers. "My God is bigger than your god." Why? Because it's not just my opinion. It's a fact. Name another God who can create entire worlds with just the sound of His voice. Tell me about another God who can make the sun stand still or the seas to part. Show me another God who can rise from the dead. Anyone? I didn't think so. There is none other like Him. He is One of a kind. He's the God of all gods and Lord of all lords.  And He's my God!

For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward. . .Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen. - Deuteronomy 10:17, 20-21

Who Do You Think I Am? - A Shade Upon Our Right Hand

The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. - Psalm 121:5

There are so many ideas and schools of thought about the phrase "shade upon thy right hand," but I'll do my best to keep this clear and concise, focusing on the main points.  First, let's discuss the word "shade."

Despite the fact that it's the first week of November, I sought the shade this morning.  After running my weekly errands, I decided to take Barnabas for a stroll before embarking on my own prayer walk. By the time I returned home with him, I was sweating like crazy.  Before I went on for my own walk, I changed into a short-sleeved shirt.  Still, when it came time for me to decide which route to take, I opted for the one with more shade.  Despite the cooler clothes, the sun was sweltering, and it felt like mid-summer to me.

A shade is a shelter.  Protection from the elements, particularly harsh elements that could do us harm. In fact, the next verse in Psalm 121 explains the necessity of shade.

The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

Consider where this passage was written.  I've never had the privilege of visiting Israel, but I know enough about it to know the sun's rays can become so intense during the day as to burn you in a matter of minutes while the very same night, the coolness of the evening can cause harm.  This passage reminds us that with God as our shade (both figuratively and literally), neither the sun nor moon will harm us.  In this respect, God as our shade is similar to Him as our refuge.  The term implies safety.

As for the phrase "right hand," there are two points to discuss.  First off, the right hand in the Bible signifies power and favor (with all due respect to you "lefties" out there).  Jesus sits at the Father's right hand.  What an intriguing thought that He also places Himself on our right hand.

Not only that, but the right hand is also the hand with which one would yield a weapon, meaning the shield is held by the left hand.  This leaves the right hand virtually unprotected, but once again, we see that God has all the bases covered, so to speak.  We know He is our shield, but He is also the shelter of our right hand.  He gives us the power with which to fight on the offensive while acting as our defense as well, shielding us from all sides.

The word "shade" can also be translated as "shadow."  What we can glean from this is that God is always as close as our own shadow.  No matter where we go or what we face, He's there.  At our right hand.  Closer than we can imagine.  And He never leaves us.

He's with me.  He's protecting me.  He's empowering me.  What more could I need?

Who Do You Think I Am? - Our Keeper

The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. - Psalm 121:5

The theme of Psalm 121 is that of God as our protector, guide and preserver.  The word translated "keeper" is the Hebrew word, "shomer" which is used several times in this one short chapter.

Vs. 3 - He that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Vs. 4 - He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

Vs. 7 - The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

Vs. 8 - The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in.

God takes care of His people.  As if this weren't proof enough, the word "shomer" is used over 400 times in the Bible, in many cases speaking of God's actions toward His children.  In its most literal translation, the word means "to place a hedge about."  I like to think of it in the sense that God has me surrounded.

So often when we think of being surrounded, it's a negative thought.  Surrounded by the enemy.  Surrounded by broken dreams.  Surrounded by troubles and trials.  Surrounded by people who always want more than we can give.  Too often we lose sight of the fact that God is on every side.  He goes before us to light the way.  He walks beside us in companionship and love.  And He follows in our wake, guarding our back against the trailing enemy.  We are protected from all directions, and nothing will get to us unless God permits it.

But the central truth I want to remind us of today is that God's protection (keeping) goes far beyond physical foes.  His preservation of our soul encompasses protection from our thoughts, limiting beliefs and so much more.  Allow me to share just a few examples.

1) He keeps us in peace. -

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3)

  Not only does God keep us from things, but He also keeps us to things.  He brings about peace in our hearts and minds when we make an effort to keep our thoughts focused on Him.  In that haven of peace, we are secure against the dangerous sway of emotion which often leads to anxiety and depression.

2) He keeps us from falling. -

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen (Jude 1:24-25)  

Not only does God protect us from outside sources, but He offers security against our own fleshly desires and worldly ways.  Through the conviction of His Spirit (our conscience), He points out wrong actions and the consequences that are sure to follow and gives us the opportunity to make better choices.

3) He keeps us in His way. -

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. (Psalm 91:11) -

Not only does God prevent us from doing wrong, but He leads us in the ways to do right.  He opens our hearts to compassion for the needy.  He moves us to help others, to serve in whatever capacity He's enabled us and to follow His commandments.  That's not to say we're always successful, but we can be assured that He is continuously there guiding and urging us to do the right thing.

4) He keeps whatever we commit to Him. -

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (II Timothy 1:12)

I have given Jesus my heart and life, and I can trust Him to keep me safe.  When I commit my problems to Him, I can have faith that He will properly deal with them.  Whatever I give Him, I know, without a doubt, He will take good care of it.  After all, another definition of the word "shomer" is "to treasure or cherish."

Safe in the arms of Jesus--that's where we are today.  Safe in His tender care.  He is our keeper, and He is faithful to protect, guard and guide us.  We need not fear what we may face in this life because our Keeper is ever attentive to our needs.  He never slumbers or sleeps.  He knows.  He cares.  He's working.  And not only does He keep His children, but He also keeps His promises.  We're in good hands with Jesus our Keeper.

Who Do You Think I Am? - Our Song

The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation. - Psalm 118:14

The message of this verse is critical.  How do I know?  Because it's written out for us three times.  Check it out:

The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. - Exodus 15:2

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. -  Isaiah 12:2

Strength.  Song.  Salvation.  We've already discussed the first and last of those, so let's talk about the Lord as our song.

When I think of a song, I think of gladness, rejoicing, and praise.  I realize some songs and melodies can bring us down, but overall, the word "song" is indicative of good things.  We say we have a song on our heart or there's a song bubbling within us.  Music has a way of setting the soul free and provides a beautiful outlet for praise and worship.  It is no accident there's a songbook in the middle of the Bible.  Music is essential and plays a vital role in our spiritual and emotional state.

One of my favorite references to the word "song" in the Bible is Psalm 42:8 which reads,

Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

God's lovingkindness is with me during the day, and His song is with me in the night.  Let's break that down.  If God's song is with me in the night (the dark times of my life), and God is my song, then God is with me in the darkest hours.  Not only can I feel His presence, but He allows peace to settle deep in my heart.  There is no other explanation for why Christians can laugh and cry at the same time.  How else could we sing a song when our hearts are broken?  It can only be because God is that song.  He gives us Himself.

When we feel all alone.

When our dreams are shattered.

When the doctor shakes his head and walks away.

When the bills are due, and the bank account is empty.

When it seems everyone is against us.

When nothing runs smoothly.

When the days are long and the nights are longer.

God is our strength, meaning He'll give us the power to make it through.  He is our salvation, which tells us He will provide a way around or through our current trial.  And He is our song, meaning that no matter what is happening around us, we still have a reason to sing.  God is with us.  He is in us.  And He is for us.  He's worthy of a melody or two.

Sure, it may be dark from where you're standing, but last time I checked, your voice works fine without light.  So, open up and sing praises to God.  Don't know what to sing?  Never fear.  God will give you the perfect song when you need it most.

Who Do You Think I Am? - Our Priest

The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. - Psalm 110:4

In the Old Testament times, the priests acted as mediators between God and man.  Chosen and assigned by God, their duties were to pray for the people, offer sacrifices for the sin of the people and ultimately represent the people before holy God.  It was an important job with strict regulations and was never to be taken lightly.  The purpose of this arrangement was to act as a portrait of a time to come when God Himself would act as priest and mediator.  Earthly sacrifices didn't pay for or cleanse anyone of sin.  It was merely a covering in accordance with God's law--a picture of a higher and final sacrifice to come.

When Jesus died on the cross, He fulfilled the ultimate duty of a priest.  As our go-between, He bridged the gap between our wickedness and God's holiness and made a way for us to enter into God's presence.  Because of Jesus' great sacrifice, it is no longer necessary for us to use an earthly mediator to speak to God.  We can go to God ourselves.  We can go boldly into His presence because Christ paid for the right for us to do so.  He is our High Priest, offering a one-time sacrifice unlike any other.  With His precious blood, He paid for all the sins of the entire earth and set things right between God and man.  But don't take my word for it.  Look what the Bible has to say:

By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. - Hebrews 7:22-28 & Hebrews 8:1-6

A more excellent ministry.  The mediator of a better covenant.  Our High Priest.  Yep, that's my God!

Who Do You Think I Am? - The God Who Forgives

Thou answeredst them, O Lord our God: thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions. - Psalm 99:8 

The Hebrew phrase used in Psalm 99:8 is El Nasa, and the very basis of our salvation hangs in the balance of this sweet name which, in its most basic definition, is interpreted "God who forgives" or "forgiving God." Interestingly enough, there are different forms of the word "nasa," each carrying with it its own meaning. Some of the most common interpretations of the word are to lift up, to carry, to bear, to forgive, honored, and traveled. I don't know about you, but I can see where each of those definitions fits into the theme of forgiveness.

The Bible tells us that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We are all guilty of sin. We are sinners by nature and sinners by choice. Because of that sin, we are not fit for Heaven, a place of perfection and complete holiness. But God didn't want us to miss out on the joys of Heaven, so He made a way for us to be cleansed of our sins and made righteous in His sight. He sent His only begotten Son to be born, to live a sinless life and then to die in our stead. On that dreadful day of crucifixion, Jesus lifted up and carried, not only the weight of the cross, but also the weight of our sins as He traveled up the hill to Calvary. He bore our sin and our shame. He pleaded with the Father to forgive the very ones who were persecuting Him, and that includes us, for it was our sin that put Him on the cross. With the cry of "It is finished," He honored us with a gift that no one else could ever offer: everlasting life.

Because of that great sacrifice, Christ now acts as a mediator between us and God the Father. When Satan stands before the throne and accuses us of sins (of which we are guilty), Christ reminds the Father that our sins have been covered and paid for. On our end, to maintain sweet fellowship with the Lord, we need to ask forgiveness for the wrongs we've done. First John 1:9 tells us,

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Other passages in the Bible comfort us with the knowledge that, not only does God forgive our sins, but He also forgets them. He casts them into the sea of forgetfulness, never to be brought up again.

No matter what we've done or how bad we've been, God is a God who forgives. He loves us and wants us to be right with Him. He welcomes us to His throne and listens with a loving heart as we pour out our faults before Him. As soon as they're confessed, He tosses them away and welcomes us back into loving fellowship with Him, just as if we had never sinned. He doesn't love us any less or treat us any differently. It's truly as if we never messed up to begin with. No guilt trips. No grudges. Just open, loving, genuine forgiveness.

I have heard with my own ears someone say, "Well, God can forgive a lot, but He can't forgive this." Yes, He can. No sin is too great (except the rejection of Christ's gift of salvation). He is a big God, an awesome God and a forgiving God. If we'll do our part (confess the sin), He will do His part (forgive). That's just the way He is. He's the God who forgives.

Who Do You Think I Am? - Our Maker

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. - Psalm 95:6

When I think of the Lord as our maker, I meditate on creation.  To make a man from the dust of the ground is indeed a miraculous thing, and to make a woman from the rib bone of that man is extraordinary.  I'm reminded of an old joke where a couple of scientists held a meeting with God to inform Him they had reached His level of intelligence and power.  According to them, they had perfected the process of creation.  Just as God did thousands of years ago, they could create a human being from dirt.  God simply smiled and asked for a demonstration.  As the scientists began scraping dust from the ground, God shook His head and stated, "No, no.  Use your own dirt."  Sorry, but I think that's hilarious (which gives you insight to my warped sense of humor).  But, I digress.

The truth is, the Lord as our maker goes so far beyond creating us (as if that weren't fantastic enough).  God could have formed our bodies, filled us with breath, then said, "Okay, now you're on your own."  But He didn't.  He's with us always.  He's constantly working on us.  As the old children's song says, "He's still working on me to

make

me what I ought to be."  God is still making us.  He is making us stronger in His strength, wiser in His wisdom and more courageous through our faith in Him.  He is making us more like Jesus every passing day.  And He makes a way when it seems there is no hope.

Not only is He making us in the sense of creation and construction, but He's also making us in the sense of the word which means "to cause to act in a certain way."  In this instance, I think of Psalm 23:2 which says, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures."  He makes me.  Why?  Well, let's face it, it's not really in our nature to be still and rest, is it?  We're busy.  Always on the go.  So much to do, so little time.  But for our own good, God makes us rest, just as a good parent makes their child go to bed even when the little one is declaring, "But I'm not sleepy!"

Interestingly enough, if you read through the rest of Psalm 95, the psalmist tells how God is our shepherd and discusses entering into His rest.

For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest. - Psalm 95:7-11

Back in the book of Exodus, God

made

the children of Israel a promise that if they followed and obeyed Him, He would deliver them into the Promised Land.  He

made

a way of escape out of Egypt and a path through the Red Sea.  The Lord 

made

food rain down from Heaven every day for forty years so they would never go hungry.  He

made

provision for their worship and sacrifices.  But despite His goodness, the people refused to follow Him, so He

made

them wander in the wilderness for forty years until all the unbelievers died off.  Then, and only then, was He able to

make

good on His promise.

Through this psalm, God is urging us not to

make

the same mistake.  We haven't arrived.  God is still working on us, but He's

made

us some promises, and God never lies.  However, we need to keep in mind that some of those promises are conditional promises ("if you..., then I'll...), and are dependent on our keeping up our end of the bargain.  Fortunately, God

makes

it easy for us to obey Him and follow Him.  He leads and guides with patience and understanding.  He gives us strength and provides us with what we need for the journey.  And through it all, He continues to work in and through us, making us what we ought to be.  Praise God for being our faithful maker!