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Reading:                                       Psalm 78

Verses 56-64

But they put God to the test
and rebelled against the Most High;
they did not keep his statutes.
Like their ancestors they were disloyal and faithless,
as unreliable as a faulty bow.
They angered him with their high places;
they aroused his jealousy with their idols.
When God heard them, he was furious;
he rejected Israel completely.
He abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh,
the tent he had set up among humans.
He sent the ark of his might into captivity,
his splendor into the hands of the enemy.
He gave his people over to the sword;
he was furious with his inheritance.
Fire consumed their young men,
and their young women had no wedding songs;
their priests were put to the sword,
and their widows could not weep
(NIV).

Reflection

Sin has consequences. We can pretend it isn’t so, but we’re fooling ourselves. Unchecked sin on a personal level can have devastating consequences—consequences that lead to heartache and an early grave. I think we all know individuals who became trapped in sin and wandered down a self-destructive path.

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Grey Nuns Park, Orleans, ON — photo by David Kitz

Today’s reading from Psalm 78 reminds us that a whole nation can abandon God and become mired in the consequences of sin. The nation of Israel did just that. The psalmist tells us they were disloyal and faithless, as unreliable as a faulty bow.

When Israel abandoned God, He in turn abandoned them. We read, “He rejected Israel completely. He abandoned the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent he had set up among humans. He sent the ark of his might into captivity, his splendor into the hands of the enemy. He gave his people over to the sword; he was furious with his inheritance.”

Has God changed? If the LORD abandoned His people in ancient times, will He treat our nation—any nation that turns away from Him differently today? There are consequences for sin and that truth applies to nations too. When collectively we abandon the ways of God and the precepts He has established from the foundations of the world, we can expect dire days ahead. That’s what happened to ancient Israel, and it can happen to us today as well.

Response: LORD God, collectively as a nation, we have wandered away from you. LORD in your mercy lead us back to the center of your holy will. Give us repentant hearts that seek your face. Amen.

Your Turn: Are you concerned about the spiritual state of your nation? What are you doing about it?