A Victim Mentality
Lord, You are the source of my joy and my hope. May I show that hope and joy to others.
Read Psalm 78:17-31
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (Jas. 1:15).
Today’s section picks up a theme which Paul wrote about in his warnings to Christians at Corinth (1 Cor. 10:9,10). “They willfully put God to the test” (18). Paul speaks of grumbling. Anthony Thistleton writes, “the concept is not petty complaints as such, but the constant grudging, carping, querulous moaning, which transformed the bold, glad self-perception of those whom God had redeemed … into a self-pitying, false perception of themselves as “victims” on whom God had weighed heavy burdens and trials, in contrast to the fantasy life of ideal existence in Egypt or the world.”
The psalmist brings out the gracious patience of the Lord who is slow to anger. He supplies water (20), he supplies bread (24,25), and he rains down a flock of birds for meat (27,28). But many of the people were not able to accept these signs with sufficient faith to believe that God was truly with them and that they would come through this journey safely to reach the place God had promised (22).
The pattern is all too familiar. We can probably think of people who used to worship with us. Now when God is mentioned they refer back to the time when they first began to see themselves as victims of God’s mistreatment and gradually went on to doubt his existence altogether. Once entrenched it is a very hard position to come back from. Our Bible readings this weekend and next week’s section in 2 Chronicles affirm that God does use the upheavals and tragedies that are the pattern of life in this fallen world as wake-up calls to those with faith to see them as such. For others they become accumulating proof that there is no God of love.
Moses was often daring in his intercession (Exod. 32:31,32). Pray with that same daring for those you long for God to save.
Patient Father, I know I can be a complainer. Help me focus on positives rather than negatives, on what You have done rather than what I think You should do.
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