One of the things that I set as a goal for 2010 was to read last year’s journal. I have a two-fold purpose in doing this. First of all, it’s interesting to see what all we did last year and refresh my memory on the little stories, incidents, and happenings that I didn’t remember. I also enjoy looking back to see what I was doing on “this day” a year ago! 🙂 Secondly, I often write down thoughts, spiritual insights, and Bible verses that have special meaning to me at different times of my life, and it’s encouraging to go back and see God’s hand working in ways that I didn’t notice at the time, or have already forgotten. While reading through a few days ago, I found today’s entry (January 25), and it included a verse that the Lord showed me that day, which I hadn’t entirely forgotten, but needed to be reminded of!
Psalm 81:10b says, “…open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” That seems to be very commonplace language, but the more I meditated on it, the more I found. (God’s Word is like that: perfectly inexhaustible, just like He is!! I Corinthians 2:7-10; Psalm 90:2) In the context, the Lord is speaking to the children of Israel, recalling the signs and wonders that He had done for them since the beginning of their nation. He reminded them of the ways that He had miraculously preserved them as a people, protecting and helping them, and delivering them from bondage in Egypt. Then He pauses His narrative to deliver a singular plea and promise, “… open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”
When I first read this, it reminded me of Matthew 7:7 – “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” God promises that “…[He] shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”, and that “…no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” But we must “ask,” “seek,” and “knock.” As I pondered this, I immediately thought of the example of baby birds. When they are first hatched, they are tiny, defenseless, and totally dependent on their parents for their warmth, shelter, and food. Anyone who has cared for, watched, or studied birds knows that the chicks seem to be hungry all the time. Often, looking into a nest, one can see several little mouths gaping, waiting for their parents to come fill them with the life-sustaining food. However, what if one day, the babies decided that they could live without their parents’ help? What if, when feeding time came, their mouths remained stubbornly shut, refusing to take the nourishment absolutely necessary for survival? Of course, we know that they would soon die of starvation.
As God continues His story in Psalm 81, He sadly tells of Israel’s response to His promise in the next verse: “But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.” Our Father is more than willing, yea, He longs, to bless us, but we must prepare the fields of our hearts to receive His showers of blessing! In verses 13-16, we see God lamenting over what He wanted to give to His children, and which they stubbornly refused: “Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee.” What a sad commentary on the perverseness of the human heart!! And yet what a beautiful elaboration of the mercy and love of the Lord and His desire to bless His children!!!!
In a way, we are much like baby birds, dependent on our heavenly Father to care for us. We cannot possibly make it on our own; He is the One Who created us(Isaiah 64:8), and He is the only One Who can keep us alive, both physically and spiritually! However, as the story of the children of Israel sadly illustrates, we must be willing to receive His blessing. If we shut up our hearts, pursuing temporal allurements and insisting on our own way, we will soon perish in our sin, starved of the life-giving support from the Word of God and His Holy Spirit’s work in our lives (Jeremiah 5:25). God will not force Himself upon us (Genesis 6:3); He has given us a free will, and though He calls us to leave the world’s shallow pleasures and follow His loving path for us, He ultimately leaves the choice to us, for He wants us to choose to love Him! (Isaiah 57:15-16; Revelation 3:20) We must forsake the idols of self, possessions, position, or aspiration, and seek His will for our lives, living only to give Him glory. (Mark 8:34-37; Mark 10:21) Then, when we have given up the idea of finding contentment and peace outside of Him, and have turned our whole heart over to His control, He can pour out His matchless grace upon us (Jeremiah 6:16)! He wants to bless us; He holds out His gifts and offers them to us (I Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 64:4); all we have to do is “open our mouths wide, and He will fill them” with the goodness and blessings that only He can give!
Psalm 31:19 – “Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!”