In this psalm the writer gathers up a wealth of historical evidence to show that in spite of the foolishness, the disloyalty, and disobedience of God's people the Lord still loved them and patiently watched over them and provided for them. This account is recorded particularly for our benefit and our warning! Note the indictment against them in the following verses: v8, 11, 17-18, 22, 32, 36-37, and 40. Now, note verse 41: "Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel." Can God be limited by man? Yes! There are two principles to consider from this verse:
1. God is ready and longing to do great things for and through His people.
2. God is prevented from proving His sufficiency and is not allowed to use them as He desires because often we will not let Him.
I. Consider the people who are guilty of limiting the power and work of God.
A. It isn't the unsaved.
1. I believe that a part of Satan's strategy is to keep us stirred up about what is going on in the world while he attacks from within.
2. God's problem, if we can call it that, is not with the world...it is with His own people!
3. It is not the athiest, the agnostic, the infidel, or the people who are devoted to bringing about a godless society.
B. It is the Christians!
1. Note v1: "Give ear, O my people..."
2. The problems with our society and our government did not originate there...they originated here!
3. We are living in the day of spiritual indifference, apathy, and apostasy.
4. 2 Chron. 7:14 says, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
5. Revival begins within!
II. Consider the One we are limiting.
A. The Holy One of Israel...God.
1. He is the Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of mankind.
2. He is the One with whom all things are possible and for whom nothing is too hard.
3. He is a loving, almighty God.
B. Note His power remembered in this Psalm.
1. He is the One who divided the sea to deliver His people from Egypt. v13
2. He is the One revealed His power to both Israel and Egypt through the plagues He sent upon the Egyptians.
3. He is the One who provided refreshing waters to a thirsty people who had been traveling through the wilderness. v20
4. This is the One who was limited by His peoples sin and unbelief.
III. How do we limit Him?
A. We limit God by our disobedience. v10
1. The fundamental condition of blessing in the lives of God's people is obedience.
2. That simply means gladly and unquestionably doing what God says.
3. Is it really all that important?
a. John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
b. John 15:7, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
c. John 15:10 & 14
d. 1 John 3:22, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."
e. Disobedience limits God's blessing in and through us.
B. We limit God by our forgetfulness. v11-17
1. How many mighty things has God done for us?
2. Answered prayers are soon forgotten, His goodness and mercy to us fades from our memories.
3. Our forgetfulness limits God's blessing in us and through us.
C. We limit God by our doubt and unbelief. v32
1. Note: Mt. 13:58 & Mk. 6:5
2. Note: Mt. 17:14-21 This was unbelief on the part of the disciples!
3. Our doubt and unbelief limits God's blessing in and through us.
D. We limit God by our insincerity. v36-37
1. We limit God when we talk the talk, but do not walk the walk.
2. It is so easy to sing the hymns, but do we mean it when we sing "All to Jesus I surrender" or "I'll live for Him who died for me"?
3. Jesus called people with that kind of behavior hypocrites. cf Mt. 15:7-9
4. Insincerity means inconsistency in our life and testimony before the world.
5. It will limit God's blessing in and through us.
Conclusion: The list could go on and on. The truth is that we limit God's blessing upon us by what we do. Consider your life and witness...have you limited God? The greatest hinderance to our spiritual growth is ourselves.
The greatest hinderance to this ministry's outreach isn't the fact that Bloomington is a liberal ungodly city. It is ourselves. Why has it been month's since we've seen someone saved? We don't need to look around us for the answer, we need to look within us! Note: Ps. 139:23-24
Search me, O God! my actions try, And let my life appear As seen by Thine all-searching eye, To mine my ways make clear.
Search all my sense, and know my heart, Who only canst make known, And let the deep, the hidden part To me be fully shown,
Search till Thy fiery glance has cast Its holy light through all, And I by grace am brought at last Before Thy face to fall.