Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do not regard the stubbornness of this people, or their wickedness or their sin, lest the land from which you brought us say, “Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land that he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to put them to death in the wilderness.” For they are your people and your heritage, whom you brought out by your great power and by your outstretched arm.’
I don’t like giving someone leverage against me. Who does? If you know what makes someone tick, what they truly value, then you can use it to get them to do something. That’s why money works so well. It’s the leverage that needs no explanation.
The amazing thing is how Moses uses leverage against God. And how our Father allows it. Moses understands how our God is jealous for His glory. Very jealous. It’s what He truly values. So in this beautiful and strange way, that I can hardly begin to understand, God invites us to use this leverage against Him. Moses saves the whole people of God using it. “Folks are going to talk bad about You, God” — that’s the substance of his argument with the Lord. We can go further than Moses did, we have the Son Himself! In Him we have the cross, the blood, and the new birth. But we can go further than this. He calls us sons and daughters and told us to call Him Father. We have the Spirit of sonship! What a staggering leverage this is! Use it!
I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.
God loves us unconditionally. That final word that He loves us freely without anything we did to provoke it is the word of constant hope to often failing Christians. Unconditional love is beautiful. But the truth is that we don’t love that way. We can’t. We try to love our children that way, our spouses that way, and one another that way, but it is terribly difficult. Inevitably we have conditions. It has to be a fruit of the Holy Spirit when we love that freely because that is the way our God loves.
Look how unapologetic the psalmist is. He loves God because God hears him. That startled me when it was first pointed out. I had not thought of it that way before, but it makes perfect sense. We can’t love our God unconditionally! We don’t have to! The truth is that we never would have to. He has met all the conditions for real love in the sacrifice of His Son. And He has heard you cry out, and will hear you when you cry out today.
Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
It is so easy to disconnect our Father’s answer to our prayers from thankful praise. Like children who consistently need to be reminded to say thank you, we need a lesson in how to respond to our God. Thanksgiving is the breath of life for the believer. Our faith is not called to be something merely abstract, but something listed with proofs. Not proofs that can appeal to someone who does not believe. They wouldn’t work. No, they are reminders of our reason for confidence and joy, listed out for the glory of the Son. Perhaps nine churches out of ten will forget to do this, and perhaps that portion is always the same in the coming of our Savior’s kingdom. Let’s not let that happen to us. So much has been done for our church; it would be all the more shame not to shout our constant thankfulness to our God!