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Psalms 81

“But My people would not heed My voice, And Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, To walk in their own counsels.”  ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭81:11-12‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

We are all free to make our own choices.  This applies to our thoughts just as much as it does to our words and actions.  God will not force anyone to accept His “…good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).  It is completely up to us whether we want to follow His commands and accept His wonderful plan for our lives, or whether we want to follow our own plans.  If we choose to travel down our own path, we should heed the warning written in Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”  The Israelites provide so many good examples for us that we can learn from.  In Numbers 11, we see an example of them giving in to self-pity and discontentment.  They allow themselves to be consumed with thoughts of what they do not have, which leads them down the destructive path of complaining and choosing to be unhappy because they do not have what they want.  Ultimately, God does grant them the meat that they asked for, but it comes at a huge price.  Another example can be found in Numbers 13 and 14 (We really encourage you to re-read this! It goes quickly and is such a great story to learn from).  Here, the Israelites choose to allow themselves to be defeated by their own fear instead of allowing God’s strength and peace to guide them.  Their fear leads them down a road filled with dissatisfaction, whining, worry, and lack of faith, and causes them to come up with completely ridiculous plans of their own.  They even choose to blame God instead of trusting Him and asking for His help with their fears.  

Unfortunately for the Israelites, God does not let this harmful and negative behavior go unpunished.  One final example to point out comes at the end of Numbers 14, where a group of Israelites choose to act in their own timing instead of waiting for God’s timing.  They completely ignore the warnings of Moses and insist on proceeding anyway.  It is no surprise that their journey was not successful…The moral of these stories?  God’s ways and God’s timing are ALWAYS right for us, no matter what.  “A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 28:20).  We all want our lives to be abundantly blessed and filled with joy and peace, right?  The way to accomplish this is to fully surrender your life to Christ.  Trust Him.  Follow Him.  Have faith that He will help you, forgive you, and never stop loving you no matter what.  The next time you are tempted to complain about an inconvenience or a difficulty occurring in your life, stop yourself and choose to focus on something that God has blessed you with instead.  Try it! 

Remember that God will give you over to your bitterness, grumbling, disobedience, and discontentment if you insist on it.  He can’t bless you if you refuse to be blessed.  It truly is your choice whether to stay trapped in your world of unhappiness, hopelessness and negativity, or whether you want to take hold of His hand and allow Him to pull you into the peace and rest that He promises. 

Once you trust in Him and allow your faith to guide you, you will be able to say with confidence: “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:2).

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