When I was a kid, my sister and I wanted a hamster because some of our friends had them. We got a guinea pig instead. They weren’t as much fun as the hamsters (in my opinion). You see, the hamsters had all kinds of exercise equipment that they would do, and you got to watch them. My favorite was this wheel thing that they would jump on and run and run and run. I’m thinking that hamsters are in shape better than any humans pound for pound from all the running they do on those wheels. I must say that I did feel a bit of empathy for the hamsters on that wheel. They put forth a great deal of effort, but they never got anywhere.
While I enjoyed watching the hamsters go around and round without going anywhere, I don’t enjoy this wasted activity in my spiritual life without getting anywhere. I have noticed in my life times when I am spiritually very sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and I enjoy times of great revival. Then I slip into a spiritual “comfort zone” where I tend to become lazy with my spiritual disciplines and I naturally backslide. That leads me to making very poor decisions, which leads me directly into trouble. I then realize that I need God, and I run back to Him and ask for forgiveness and restoration. Of course, we have a very merciful God, and He forgives and restores our relationship. That brings me times of spiritual revival … and the cycle continues.
Psalm 107 is a great chapter, reviewing this spiritual cycle in the lives of Israel. Four times throughout this chapter (Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31) we see almost the exact same words: “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men” (Psalm 107:31). It seems that the psalmist was pleading with those of us who would read this chapter to get off the wheel! To stop the cycle of drifting from God and then experiencing the effects of our backslidden condition. There are a couple of lessons I draw from this chapter, and witnessing the cyclical pattern of human behavior.
First, I think about the reality of this cycle in every period of human history, including our time (there is nothing new under the sun). We are a pitiful people, and are bound to repeat this in our lives. Second, I am thrilled to see that God has always been merciful, and will continue to be merciful. He always forgave and allowed His children to return. Third; there is a solution to the issue. I need to keep my heart filled with praise to the Lord for the good things He has done for me. I need to repeat His wonderful works that He has done for me on a regular basis. I want to please my Heavenly Father.