843 Acres: The Real Problem

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Deut 1 (text | audio, 6:27 min)
Ps 81 (text | audio, 1:33 min)
Ps 82 (text | audio, 0:48 min)

Problem: On Friday, we read the Psalmist’s exhortation for us to remember God’s past provision so that we may continue to hope in him [1]. Our problem, however, is not just our memory; it is our heart’s approach to our memory. As Tim Keller says, “The real problem of the human heart is not disbelief in the existence of God or disbelief in the law of God. The real problem is that we don’t trust God. We don’t believe in his love, his good will or his grace. We believe God hates us. In spite of everything he has given us, we think that he is against us” [2].

Mistrust: To rescue the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, God sent ten plagues and parted the Red Sea. In the wilderness, he guided them by a cloud and a pillar of fire and fed them with manna from the sky. Through Moses, God wrote the law with his own finger so that they might know how to love him and one another [3]. Within months of their having left Egypt, however, they forgot what God had done for them. When they arrived at the border of the Promised Land, they realized that other people – tall and intimidating people – were already living there. They were afraid and said, “Because the Lord hated us, he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us” [4].

Cross: Our hearts say, “God hates us,” because part of us knows that he should. We constantly forget what he has done, take credit for his good gifts, rebel against his good law and mistrust him and his motives. Yet he does not hate us. What did he say to the children of Israel when they doubted his goodness? “Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you” [5]. In Jesus, he has kept his promise: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” [6].

Prayer: Lord, Forgive us for thinking that you hate us. Establish your love in our hearts so that, when we question whether you are trustworthy, we remember, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things” [7]. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] 843 Acres. “Do We Remember to Use Our Memory?” May 24, 2013. | [2] Tim Keller. “The Grace of Law.” Sermon. May 13, 2007. | [3] Exodus 31:18 | [4] Deuteronomy 1:27 ESV | [5] Deuteronomy 1:29-30 ESV | [6] Romans 8:1 ESV | [7] Romans 8:32 ESV

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