Good ideas are not always “God ideas.” We see this in the life of the apostle Paul: “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them” (Acts 16:6-7).
Just as it happened with Paul, a sincere disciple of Christ, it can happen with all of us. We may want to go certain places and do certain things, expecting God to go with us. However, sometimes the pathways we choose for our lives during a particular season may not actually be the pathway of God for us.
Paul had a vision of a man appealing to him to come to Macedonia and help them (16:9). “Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them” (16:10). So, although Paul had had different plans, he and his company headed off to Macedonia. On the way, they ministered to a group of women meeting for prayer. One of them was an influential part of the community and “she and her household were baptized” (16:15).
Next, they encountered a demon-possessed slave girl and when she was delivered, her masters seized Paul and Silas and had them beaten and thrown into prison (16:22). This serves as a reminder that we have no guarantee that we will get a pass through trials and trouble. In fact, sometimes obeying the will of God will actually get us into trouble. But God´s plans are always far superior to our own.
In prison, Paul and Silas sang praises to the Lord and witnessed to the jailer, who in turn was transformed and baptized along with his entire family (16:33). And just think, all this started with a man appearing to Paul when he was praying at night, saying, “Come and help us.”
The power of God is always found where the Spirit leads you. Today I implore you to have the courage to say, “Lord, I do not want to live simply for my will. What would you have me do? Where do you want me to go? Let your will be done in my life.” Then watch God do miracles!
In Ps 106:13 the Psalmist said, “They soon forgot His works.” In the context, he is talking about Israel forgetting all that God did for them when He brought them out of Egypt and through the Red Sea, Ps 106:7-10. They soon forgot that the Lord had destroyed their enemies in the Red Sea. “There was not one of them left,” Ps 106:11. How in the world could they ever forget that? They even sang a song about this great deliverance and victory which is recorded for us in Exodus 15. People have short memories when it comes to things like this. How does the old adage go? The only thing men never learn from history is that they never learn from history.
Now, in the past couple of months, hopefully, the Lord has done great things for you. He certainly has done great things for me. My heart and spirit have truly been revived. God has made some significant changes in my life for the better. However, you and I run the risk of forgetting all that the Lord has done for us recently. We could easily slip right back into the old ways of doing things as we did before all this COVID-19 thing started. We cannot let that happen.
As a safeguard against falling into the same trap Israel fell into, it will help us to see why they soon forgot His works. If we can identify the source of the problem we can address it better and, hopefully, keep from forgetting what the Lord has shown us and done for us. They soon forgot His works:
Because they quit believing His words – Ps 106:12 – “Then believed they His words.” They believed right then, but they didn’t keep believing His words. Everything that has changed in my life and in the lives of others with whom I have visited is directly related to things in the words of God. God has revealed His truth directly out of His words and applied these truths in our lives. We know and understand things now that we didn’t fully understand before. In Ps 106:7, the Psalmist said, “Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt.” But then in Ps 106:12, he said, “Then believed they His words.”
The Jews caught on to what God had been saying to them. He told them He was going to deliver them after he plagued Egypt. But when the plagues started and Israel’s workload increased significantly, the Jews weren’t so sure that God knew what He was doing. After Egypt had been destroyed, they had been freed, and their enemies had been totally destroyed, they got it. They understood and they believed God. At least they believed His words for a little while. They soon forgot.
If you think about some of the things you have just learned, God has been trying to teach you these lessons already. It took what you have just been through to get them. Now that you have learned and you believe what God has shown you, don’t forget. Write down what you have learned and review it from time to time to help you remember.
Because they quit singing his praises – Ps 106:12 – “They sang His praise.” Exodus 15 is an excellent song with many references to the second coming of Jesus Christ. It’s a song that Israel could sing today with as much spirit as they did when they sang it in the wilderness. This song is a constant reminder, not only of God’s great deliverance back then but also his even greater deliverance in the future.
That song is just like many of the songs that we sing. Those songs used to be so sweet to you. And when you hear those songs sung from the heart by people who are praising the Lord for His wonderful works in their lives, there is no greater sound on this earth. The Spirit of God truly honors that singing.
But Israel quit singing songs to the Lord. They switched from the song in Ex 15 to the song they started singing in Ex 32. They were singing to a golden calf, see Ex 32:18. How in the world could that have happened? It happened because they wanted music that was louder; it sounded to Joshua like war, Ex 32:17. They wanted music that was sensual, something they could feel. They danced to this music, Ex 32:19. They wanted something that was visual.
They could see the calf. They wanted music where they could show more flesh; many of them were naked, Ex 32:25. They wanted to worship where they could play, Ex 32:6. They had some of the right lyrics in their new song, Ex 32:4-5, but they weren’t worshipping God. If you let your songs change, you are going to soon forget His works, just like Israel did. Instead, you ought to sing songs to God with as much spirit and joy as you have ever sung them. They’re a constant reminder.
Because they quit waiting on His counsel – Ps 106:13 – “they waited not for His counsel.” It was not Israel’s idea to leave Egypt and travel through the wilderness to Canaan. It was God’s idea. It was not Israel’s idea to gain possession of the land by defeating the inhabitants, it was God’s idea. Though it was in David’s heart to build a temple for the Lord, it was God’s design and it was God’s desire that Solomon, rather than David, build it. You see, all of these things were according to God’s counsel, not men’s.
When Israel quit waiting for God’s counsel, they went after the idols of the nations around them and they forgot God. It is unbelievable how many Christians are living their lives today without waiting for the counsel of God. Even Bible believers will receive counsel through the preaching and teaching of God’s words and within a day fall right back into their own ways of doing things.
When you don’t seek and wait for the counsel of God on the matters in your life, you are setting yourself up to forget His works. You’ll turn, instead, to your own lusts. Like Israel in Numbers 21, you will end up tempting God by demanding your own way and turning from His way. You’ll forget.
Conclusion: Ps 106:12-13 shows you why Israel soon forgot His works. You don’t want to look back on these days a few months from now and say, “why did I forget the works of the Lord in my life back then?” You see where this problem could arise. So, keep believing His words and keep learning the lessons that God reveals to you out of His words.
Keep singing His praises. Ask God to put a song in your heart when you fall asleep and another song in your heart when you awake. And keep waiting on His counsel. Don’t make a move until you know, for sure, which way God is leading you.
Thus united to them in the fellowship of life, he will both understand the things revealed to them by God and, thenceforth escaping the peril that threatens sinners in the judgment, will receive that which is laid up for the saints in the kingdom of heaven. – Athanasius of Alexandria