"Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel." Psalm 78:41
I challenge you to read the entire Psalm 78, or at least from verse one through verse 42. When you do, you'll see the familiar pattern of Israel which is that of receiving God's blessings, forgetting him, getting into trouble, then calling on him for help. Being a merciful God, he obliges and brings them out of trouble. Doesn't that sound like us? We receive God's blessing, then we get a little lax or cold, we get into trouble, we call on God, and in his mercy brings us out. I can think of this happening through my Christian life several times. No, I didn't go out into sin, but just got cold and careless about my relationship with him and didn't care if I felt his love and spirit or not, so long as I was doing my duty. But, what we don't realize is, when we act like this, we are limiting God. We are keeping the power of God from moving through our lives and we are also allowing sin to grow in our communities and country. " Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." Ecclesiastes 8:11 Men are not judged today in "Christian" America because of lack of power in the church. God is unable to move through the church for deliverance of souls from hell, sickness, demon possession, because of our "limiting God." You may say, God can do anything he wants. Yes, he can but he has made the church and those who are a part of his church his tools for witnessing and vessels of the Holy Ghost for healing and the other gifts of the spirit, and demonic deliverance.
The first thing we see is that Israel "turned back." The backslid or looked back from where they came. They had their hearts set in Egypt which is the world. "We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:" Numbers 11:5 We turn back when we get our eyes on the world and forget the battle we are in. We get immersed in worldly things and turn back and lose sight of Christ. While we must work and live in this world, we must keep in Christ and know that he is first. " No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." 1 Timothy 2:4
They then tempted God. They once asked, "Is God among us or not?" Usually, coldness sets in then lack of trust. " I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." Galatians 2:21 The Galatians were turning back and began to turn again to the works of the law instead of grace. When we get cold, we get ritualistic and tend to do things just for duty's sake. Don't get me wrong, sometimes there is an oppression and we don't always feel the Holy Ghost so there are times that we just go forward, not on feelings but just because we know we need to. However, after a while victory should come and we should be able to break through that oppression by the power of his spirit.
The last thing is that, after looking back and getting cold and tempting God, they limited his power and work. This is what is happening in the church today and in many lives of professing Christians. But this is not the time to back up on God. Our nation is in trouble and the world is reeling. Christ's return is soon and we know not the day or hour. Now is the time for revival in the church that we can have revival in America! Let's not limit God but let him use us as willing vessels!