Devotion – April, 8.
But you are a God who forgives;
you are gracious and loving, slow to be angry.
Your mercy is great; you did not forsake them.
Nehemiah 9, 17
The ancient Israelites were a bit stupid. God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt and did great miracles for them. But they were longing to return! They thought of the thin soup, which now seemed to them like the best meat; they thought of the hard beds of straw, which now appeared to them as soft four-poster beds. They forgot the blows of the supervisors, the hunger, the heat, the injustice … Egypt attracts them! They reproached Moses and God for leading them into the desert, to let them die of thirst and starvation. But God really had patience with this silly, stubborn people. He had worked so hard to free them from slavery! Again and again He forgave their debt. Even as they made another god of gold and worshiped him. He was patient and forbearing. He was gracious and merciful. Every morning He gave them bread from heaven. He let water flowing out of the rocks. Flocks of quails (a delicacy!) He let rain upon their stock. The shoes did not get wear out in these forty years wandering in the desert and the clothes got no holes or cracks. Yes, God even cares for such little things! He really provided them with everything and they should have been well. But they were so stubborn: I don’t want! I want to go back to Egypt! How beautiful the slavery was there! Here there is just sand …. terribly boring and barren!
How well that God not always takes us seriously. Because we often do look back longing for these old days. Often we do not see God’s work and His miracles in our lives. Sometimes we are incredibly blind, stubborn and stupid. That’s terrible with us! But God’s promise applies for everybody: He is the God who forgives us. He is gracious and merciful and He never forsakes us. He is patient with us. He is not abandoning us to our fate. He has hope for us!
Thank you, Jesus, for your patience! Forgive where we are stupid and stubborn and always look back. You have hope for us, You see a wonderful presence and a marvelous future for us! Yes, Lord, I will turn to You and look forward! Because you are there!