Seeing vs. Knowing

…where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works 10 for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ ESV Hebrews 3:9-10

Most of us have seen the hand of God at work in some point in our lives. Perhaps He protected us during a car crash. Perhaps He healed us during an illness. Perhaps He clearly answered a prayer. These make special, formative spiritual moments in our lives, and we often find ourselves reflecting on them and clinging to them during difficult times, and well we should. Seeing God’s work in our lives also shapes our understanding of God’s ways–an even greater aspect of our spiritual formation.

When God brought the nation of Israel out from Egypt and led her into the promised land, He continually performed great and mighty miracles. However, despite His continual provision (parting the Red Sea, providing manna, showing His presence in the pillar of cloud and fire), they failed to recognize His covenantal love for them. Hence, they continually rejected Him, and accused Him of bringing them into the desert to kill them. They saw the works of God on a daily basis, but failed to discern His ways of of working in their lives. Too often we fall into the same trap. We see God’s provision, but fail to learn His ways. God answers a prayer for us, but we fail to embrace prayer as a normal part of our lives. We experience God’s provision of peace, finances, or wisdom at a critical junction of our life, but find ourselves given to worry just a short time later. How do we fail to learn God’s ways when we see His hand at work so clearly? Perhaps because we are self-centered children. Instead of worshiping God when He works for us, we take those things for granted and continue to try to play God ourselves.

Have you experienced God’s work in your life? Would you say you know His ways? Can you identify the patterns in which He works? God desires an intimate relationship with us, and part of that relationships involves discerning His ways of working in our lives. As we identify these patterns, our love and worship of Him grow. Take time today to reflect on His works, and seek to discern His ways.

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