“Sure,” Adam and Eve may have felt towards God, “You gave us life and the Paradise Park called Eden, a purpose in living, daily fellowship with You – but what have You done for us lately?” And the Devil was ultimately able to entice them into thinking that God was actually holding out on them.
The Prophet Balaam was appointed to the service of Almighty God, a great honor in itself. He spoke the will of God for others and had respect from people round about as a representative of God. But when messengers came from Moab (enemy of Israel), offering money, position and power if only he would curse God’s people, Israel, the will of God fell from its lofty position in Balaam’s heart.
Could he have been thinking, “Well, I know God appointed me a prophet, but look at my portfolio? What has God been doing to pad my retirement years? Perhaps I should take some of these matters into my own hand in order to get some of the material gain which God hasn’t seen fit to give me.” What have you done for me lately, God?
Consider the young nation, Israel. God freed them from horrible slavery and terrible living conditions in Egypt. He led them out of Egypt with a strong hand, performing amazing and powerful miracles as He did so. But barely have they crossed the Red Sea (on dry ground, no less!) but they are murmuring against God because they are thirsty and see no way there will be enough water to keep them alive. “Yes, God brought us out of captivity with its cruel and bitter bondage. Yes, He delivered us from oppressors we will never, ever see again. But what has He done for us lately?”
And that kind of attitude seemed to prevail in Israel for much of their wilderness wandering. It didn’t matter how often God delivered them, sometimes in very amazing and dramatic ways, all it took to bring them to a crisis of faith was the next challenge with which their human reasoning could not quite wrestle.
Throughout Biblical history, Old and New Testaments, we note that we humans are slow to develop sustaining faith, based on all God’s great and gracious dealings with us since the beginning of time. The generation to whom Jesus came kept on asking for yet one more sign. It’s as though they were thinking, “Yes we’ve seen You do amazing things, but what have You done for us LATELY?!!”
What about us? “Yes,” we say to Him, “We know You sent Your Son to die for us 2,000 years ago. We know You have forgiven us, saved us and brought us into Your family. BUT, what have You done for us lately?”
Is it not true, friends, that if our Father God decided never to do even one more thing for us again, we would have absolutely no justification for anger, resentment or disappointment? He has already done immeasurably more than we could have ever asked or imagined...and far, far more than we could have ever deserved! Let us learn well, from Scripture, from history and from God’s loving care for us through all our lives until this moment, that whenever uncertain times scare us, whenever enemies are sounding off and kicking up dust, whenever death looms and weakness fills our bones, our God is awesome and able for such a time as this.
Doug Oakes is minister at Woodlawn Church of Christ in Zanesville; email at email@example.com.