“Even an ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master’s care – but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them” – Isaiah 1:3 (NLT)
I did not get up this morning intending to write. All I really wanted to do was check my e-mail and a few sports scores, and then settle down and read some nice, comfortable, soothing, spiritually uplifting and self-esteeming Scripture. Why I chose Isaiah is beyond my understanding.
As you can tell, I didn’t make it past verse three. At first, I wanted to ridicule and scoff at Israel for not knowing their God and forgetting everything He has done for them. The Lord rescued them from their Egyptian masters, gave them a land overflowing with abundance, established a lifestyle of worship and peaceful existence with their God and continually protected them from their enemies. In response to God’s marvelous care for them, the Israelites show a tremendous lack of gratitude and turn their backs upon Him (Isaiah 1:4).
After I finished thinking bad thoughts about a group of people who died 2,700 hundred years ago, I started to consider the many ways this verse speaks of my life. In how many ways do I not recognize God’s care for me? It didn’t take long to compile a list.
When I started thinking about the many ways God cares for me, the first item that came to mind was the fact I live in the United States. This realization is not to put down the many other fine countries in the world, but to recognize just how many comforts and securities I have living in America. Clean water, the freedom to vote, low gas prices (comparatively speaking), the strongest military in the world making sure I sleep peacefully, the liberty to worship when, where and how I choose. The list could go on and on. I know that my standard of living is higher than most of the world and I need to be grateful for it. Just living in America is a privilege the Lord has blessed me with, and I don’t want to ignore that fact.
After first acknowledging my personal comfort level as an American, I finally moved on to remember the many blessings I have as a Christian. What you now see is me thinking physically before thinking spiritually, which is mostly true.
The first thing that comes to mind is salvation. God has salvaged me from a life wasted without Him and shown me I’m valuable in His sight. Everything I now do is in response to this wonderful show of love and approval from the King of the Universe and the Ancient of Days.
The next thing I recognized is my privilege to respond to this eternal gift of salvation. God has not granted me the gift to speak, write, think and act so I may simply make a living and do as I please. As Paul reminds us, “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). In other words, any thing I do or movement I make that I do not center in, around and on God and His good purpose has no good purpose. It is my joy and privilege to live my life in a way that pleases God and fulfills His good purpose on the earth.
God cares for me in so many ways it is hard to count them all. I don’t want another day to go by where an ox or a donkey can say they know their Master better than I do (and yes, there have been those days!). I’m starting to realize how good I’ve got it, and I’m determined not to forget it.