God promises many things to His people, to those who love Him. He promises salvation, comfort, peace, and wisdom. He promises that He will meet our physical and spiritual needs, and will give to us in greater measure than we give to others. He promises strength and protection, that He will be with us through our darkest valleys.
When we have recently experienced the fulfillment of one of God’s promises, we believe Him and sing His praises. Psalm 106 recounts a similar response from the Israelites to God’s promises:
9 He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up;
he led them through the depths as through a desert.
10 He saved them from the hand of the foe;
from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.
11 The waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them survived.
12 Then they believed his promises
and sang his praise.
In the same way, when our Red Seas are parted and God sees us through our troubles, we sing His praises and believe all His promises. But how quickly we forget. When we again drop down into the valley of the shadow of death, we grumble and complain. We ask: “Where is God now?” and “Why must I endure this trial?” We forget to trust the promises of God that are the only sure thing to get us through.
The Israelites did the same.
13 But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his counsel.
14 In the desert they gave in to their craving;
in the wasteland they put God to the test.
24 Then they despised the pleasant land;
they did not believe his promise.
25 They grumbled in their tents
and did not obey the LORD.
At this point, things did not go well for the Israelites for quite some time. Eventually things got so bad that they called out to God again to save them. Somehow, deep down, they remembered His promises. And God was faithful to His promises once again.
44 But he took note of their distress
when he heard their cry;
45 for their sake he remembered his covenant
and out of his great love he relented.
I think the lesson to learn from the Israelites is to never lose sight of or quit believing in God’s promises, even when we are beset by trials and tribulations. When the going gets tough, that is when we need to lean on God’s promises the most. For if we forget God’s promises when we are in the valley, we will find ourselves on the path into the deepest darkest part of that valley instead of on the path back up to the mountaintop where we want to be. It is when life is difficult and the troubles of the world seem to press in on all sides that we most need to sing God’s praises and cry out to Him to remember His promises.