Factoring In The Flesh
A Daily Devotional And Reading From The Psalms
38 But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not:
Yea, many a time turned he his anger away,
And did not stir up all his wrath.
39 For he remembered that they were but flesh;
A wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
40 How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness,
And grieve him in the desert!
41 Yea, they turned back and tempted God,
And limited the Holy One of Israel.
42 They remembered not his hand,
Nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.
Last week our church held our annual vacation Bible school. We always go all out. We do everything that we can to reach out to children and their families. We have volunteers spending unbelievable hours on decorations and lesson preparation in the weeks prior. During the week, people work all day at their normal jobs and then run as fast as possible to get to church so they can pitch in for about three hours a night. Obviously, with all of this labor and dealing with energetic and excited youngins’ our folks are exhausted physically and mentally. With exhaustion we shouldn’t be surprised, are some short tempers, sensitive feelings and a little unspiritual behavior. I tried to relay a principle to an offended worker last week, people aren’t themselves when they are tired.
As we read in this Psalm the lengthy account of the failures of God’s people we see this wonderful truth, our God understands the limitations of our fleshly bodies. In verse 39 we read, “For he remembered that they were but flesh”. I am so thankful that when I get tired and weak that my God factors that in and doesn’t give me the treatment my behavior deserves, aren’t you? When Jesus was praying in the garden the night of his arrest, his disciples slept instead of praying with him. Look at what he said,
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Jesus was from a human perspective disappointed in their lack of devotion. The Lord expresses his dissatisfaction when he said, “What, could you not watch with me one hour?” In the end however, he responds with grace as he remembers that they were but flesh and says, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak”. He found good in their intentions and understanding in their weakness. That is the loving and gracious God that I serve. Now here is the application, if God can do this then why can’t I? If he factors our flesh in his evaluations shouldn’t we?