"Yes, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel." This passage from Psalm 78:41 has been twisted by many to support the idea that mankind has an autonomy which God cannot violate and that man, therefore, has the ability to "limit" God's interactions with His creation. Man has a "sacred free will" which God can not or will not violate. Ironically, however, the context of the seventy-eighth Psalm makes it clear that the "limiting" of God of which Israel is being accused is actually in their perception of God and their challenges to Him. For instance, we read in the nineteenth verse that Istael "spake against God; they said, can God furnish a table in the wilderness?" Likewise, we read of their brazen questioning in verse twenty: "Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?" Israel sinned by questioning God's abililty to provide for them and by limiting Him in their descriptions of Him. As the following verse 42 (and, in fact, the rest of the chapter) reminds us, this came about because they had forgotten the great things that God had done for them in the past. Rather than bowing to Him as the sovereign Lord Who does His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, Who will do all His pleasure, working all things after the council of His own will, none being able to stay His hand (Da 4:34,35; Is 46:10; Ep 1:11), the Israelites were challenging His power, questioning His sovereignty, and disregarding the miracles that He had already shown them. They were like the atheist of today who audaciously declares, "God, I will believe on you if you will just cause this table to levitate, or if you will just give me some other miraculous sign" As if God has nothing better to do than prove His existance to rebellious unbelievers or submit Himself to the beck and call of the disgruntled Israelites! Sadly, many people make the same limiting statements about God today, trying to chalk out a silhouette for Him that will appeal to their own reason or desires. However, God will not be boxed up, painted in, put down, or searched out by man's mind or will. As Proverbs 19:21 reminds us, "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand." Thankfully, as the last verse of our Psalm 78 reminds us, God is not, even by our rebellion, limited in His dealings with man, for "He fed them according to the integrity (completeness, perfection) of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands." (78:72) He is able to overcome man's plans, man's will, and the many devices of man's heart. Written by Justin Huffman.