Walt and I love plants! Our back patio is a little oasis filled with a variety of pots filled with different kinds of plants. This summer, our daughter-in-law, Haley asked me to care for her favorite plant. When she asked, my initial thought was, “Sure, I’ll keep your fig plant. No problem.” However, after a few weeks, I noticed little gnats flying around the plant, and, they began to increase in number. I did some research to find out what I needed to do about these pesky bugs and moved the fig plant to our patio oasis. This plant will not die under my watch!
This week I’ve been reading and reflecting on Psalm 78 and Psalm 80. Asaph points his readers back to the Israelites – their slavery in Egypt, God’s delivery, the years of wandering in the desert, grumbling mouths, and stubborn hearts. Hmmm…. Am I looking into a mirror? Some of these verses hit a bit close to home.
“Teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them … So each generation can set its hope anew on God, remembering his glorious miracles and obeying His commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors – stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.” ~Psalm 78:5-8
Psalm 78 points out many wonders and works of God on behalf of His chosen people. However, they tested God and provoked Him. They did not remember His power, miracles, and mighty acts. The children of Israel continued to sin and despite all He had done for them, they would not believe.
“They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember His power or the day He redeemed them.” ~Psalm 78:41-42
In Psalm 80, Asaph calls to the Shepherd of Israel and asks Him to show His power and come rescue the people. He points out that we need God to restore us and direct our steps toward Him. This statement is repeated three times and each time Asaph ascribes greater power and majesty to God’s name! (See below. Emphasis mine.)
“Turn us again to Yourself, O God. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.” ~Psalm 80:3
“Turn us again to Yourself, O God Almighty. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.” ~Psalm 80:7
“Turn us again to Yourself, O Lord God Almighty. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved.” ~Psalm 80:19
Earlier this summer, I took Haley’s fig plant and moved it to the patio. I drove out those bothersome little gnats and added some healthy topsoil to the pot. You know what? That plant began to grow, sprout new leaves, and flourish. It is now a healthy and thriving plant.
“You brought us from Egypt as though we were a tender vine; you drove away the pagan nations and transplanted us into your land. You cleared the ground for us, and we took root and filled the land.” ~Psalm 80:8-9
Moving Haley’s plant to the patio, getting rid of those little gnats, and watering the plant this summer have provided simple examples of the Lord’s tender care for me. He watches over each of us and provides all that we need. He is a compassionate and loving God. The Lord sees us and He hears our cries. He is our salvation. God wants us to flourish and grow in our life with Him.
Would you make time this week to write a list of some things God has done in your life? Praise Him for the goodness, compassion, grace, and provision He has extended to you.