Friday, July 27, 2012

I Thought Better Of It

Psalm 119:47-48(MSG)
I cherish Your commandments--oh, how I love them!  Relishing every fragment of Your counsel. 

It's so true!  This verse, I mean.  I do cherish the Word of God.  His words bring such comfort, clarity, confirmation and strength to any situation we find ourselves in.  The full counsel of God will find you wherever you are and minister sweetly to your soul. 

A great example of the way God uses His word to shape us and grow our confidence in Him happened the day after I wrote the previous post.  (Click here if you would like to read it and didn't get a chance to.)  I was reading along in my yearly Bible when I came to a few chapters in Ezekiel.  (Chapters 18-20).  If you have a few minutes, you should read this incredible prophet's dealings with the Israelites and his obedience to the Lord.  It will leave you refreshed, encouraged, and challenged all at the same time. 

There were several parts that jumped off the page at me, however, the portion that ended up confirming my previous reflections on choosing not to act on our feelings, was repeated by God through the spoken words of the prophet Ezekiel four different times in chapter 20. 

Here is what God said in response to a rebellious people who would not listen to the Lord's instruction about letting go of the vile things they were addicted to.

Ezekiel 20:8-10(MSG) 
I seriously considered inflicting my anger on them in force right there in Egypt.  Then I thought better of it.  I acted out of who I was, not by how I felt.  And I acted in a way that would evoke honor, not blasphemy, from the nations around them. 
(Italics my own.)

I was so encouraged by God's words in this passage.  He goes on to repeat a similar message three more times within this chapter.

Ezekiel 20:14-15(MSG)
Tropical Storm Debby appears angry as she begins to
unleash her fury in the Gulf of Mexico.
I seriously considered unleashing my anger on them right there in the desert.  But I thought better of it and acted out of who I was, not by what I felt, so that I might be honored and not blasphemed by the nations who had seen me bring them out.   (Italics my own.)

Ezekiel 20:21-22 (MSG)
"'But the children also rebelled against me.  They neither followed my statutes nor kept my laws for living upright and well.  And they desecrated my Sabbaths.  I seriously considered dumping my anger on them, right there in the desert.  But I thought better of it and acted out of who I was, not by what I felt, so that I might be honored and not blasphemed by the nations who had seen me bring them out.  (Italics my own.)

Ezekiel 20:44 (MSG)
"'But, dear Israel, you'll also realize that I am God when I respond to you out of who I am, not by what I feel about the evil lives you've lived, the corrupt history you've compiled...".  (Italics my own.)

To read these directions straight from God, gives me courage.  It helps me understand that the emotions I feel are first of all the way I was created.  I have been made in the image of God, so therefore, I too will have intense emotions.  What freedom to know that I am not a slave to those emotions.  I can respond in a manner that is different than how I may feel.  Why?  Because "the nations" are watching.  Who are the "nations"?  My children.  My spouse.  My neighbors.  My friends.  My coworkers.  

When I am feeling mad, I can choose to be calm.  When I am experiencing frustration, I can respond with patience.  When I am afraid, I can speak peace.  When I am saturated with timidity, I can pour out boldness.  When I am overwhelmed with grief, I can allow His comfort to flow out of my heart.  How?  Through Christ who supplies my every need in His strength! 

Philippians 4:13 (NIV)~I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. 

Thank You for teaching us to "think better".  Thank You for modeling what it looks like to stop and choose our actions rather than respond to our emotions.  As the verse says tonight, I truly  relish Your counsel.  It is clear and concise and full of the unending love that You have for us! 
In Christ's Name,

No comments:

Post a Comment