Intro: On Sunday, I had invited our family (and extended family) over to the house after church for brunch to celebrate the dedication of our sweet new granddaughter, Amana, to the Lord. Since I would be at the church for several hours before the brunch, it was necessary to program a delayed start time for my oven in order to cook a french toast casserole. I rarely use this function on the oven, so I could not remember how to properly set it up for the desired result. Intently, I hunted for the oven instruction manual so I could understand how it was designed to work. I set the oven according to the instructions and when I returned home the most wonderful aroma filled the house. Success!
The Hebrew word for “instruction” is Torah. When God gave Israel the Torah, he was sharing the way humanity was designed to function and live before their Creator. Humanity was created to live righteously for God’s glory; as a reflection of his faithful and merciful love for the world. God provided grace that would be available to save and protect his people. If God’s people would listen to his instruction, they would know his plan and walk in his ways. The results would be abundant living.
In our passage today, the psalmist sings about the power of God and the lessons Israel learned and did not learn from their history. God rescued Israel from slavery and provided for them throughout their journey in the wilderness. This testimony of God’s faithfulness was to be passed down from parents to children in order to cause them to remember their rebellion against God’s law/instruction in the past. As well, knowing history would help future generations remain more faithful to God’s instructions.
I praise God every day for the love and sacrifice of Christ for my sin, because I cannot flawlessly follow God’s righteous instruction. However, every time I go to the instructive Word of God, I can refresh my thinking and grow in the Spirit; growth is progress. I am then reassured that saving grace has drawn me to God and perfecting grace will continue to grow Christ’s character in me before I return home to him. God has always wanted human lives to be successful—the sweet aroma or fragrance of Christ (the Living Word) in the world (2 Cor 2:15). Ask the Spirit to help you be the aroma of Christ for someone, today.
Psalm 78:1, 10-11, 17-18, 37-38, 52-54 VOICE
O my people [Israel], listen to me! Hear my instruction; soak up every word of what I am about to tell you.
Yet, they [Israel] were not loyal to their covenant with God; they turned away and refused to walk in it;
They did not remember all the wondrous things He had done, even the great miracles He had revealed to them.
Even after witnessing all of these miracles, they still chose to sin against God, to act against the will of the Most High in the desert!
They tested God in their stubborn hearts by demanding whatever food they happened to be craving.
They were not consistently faithful to Him, and they were untrue to their covenant with Him.
Yet by His great compassion, He forgave them and decided not to put an end to them. Most of the time, He held back His anger and did not unleash His wrath against them.
Then He guided His people like sheep to safety and led them like a flock into the desert to freedom;
He took them on a safe route so that they would not be afraid, and He allowed the hungry sea to swallow all of their enemies.
He led them to His sacred land— to this holy hill, which He had won by the power of His right hand.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for writing your instruction on our hearts. May our minds continue to be renewed in the Truth. Help us to honor your instruction, live in your ways, teach them to our children and grandchildren, so we can all live for your glory. We want our lives to be a sweet-smelling aroma that draws all people to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.