As a New Testament believer, I had always assumed that the truth taught in Romans 8:28-29 was taught in Scripture as a New Testament principle:
” 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”- Romans 8:28-29
Basically, the principle here is that, for those who love God (i.e. all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ), God supernaturally works all things in their lives together for their benefit, namely that He might be glorified through their manifestation of His Son’s character.
However, in the Lord’s providence, I happen to be reading through Psalm 78 AND Ezekiel 20 this morning in my study time. Both citations recount Israel’s wanderings through the dessert from different perspectives: from Israel’s perspective and from God’s. Psalm 78 records the following:
“12 In the sight of their fathers he performed wonders
in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.
13 He divided the sea and let them pass through it,
and made the waters stand like a heap.
14 In the daytime he led them with a cloud,
and all the night with a fiery light.
15 He split rocks in the wilderness
and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
16 He made streams come out of the rock
and caused waters to flow down like rivers…
23 Yet he commanded the skies above
and opened the doors of heaven,
24 and he rained down on them manna to eat
and gave them the grain of heaven.
25 Man ate of the bread of the angels;
he sent them food in abundance.
26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
and by his power he led out the south wind;
27 he rained meat on them like dust,
winged birds like the sand of the seas;
28 he let them fall in the midst of their camp,
all around their dwellings.
29 And they ate and were well filled,
for he gave them what they craved…
36 But they flattered him with their mouths;
they lied to him with their tongues.
37 Their heart was not steadfast toward him;
they were not faithful to his covenant.
38 Yet he, being compassionate,
atoned for their iniquity
and did not destroy them;
he restrained his anger often
and did not stir up all his wrath.
39 He remembered that they were but flesh,
a wind that passes and comes not again.“
– Psalm 78:12-16, 23-29, 36-39
The inspired account in Psalms records the good that God did to Israel, despite their constant waywardness and repeated rebellion. But as we will see in the account in Ezekiel, the motive behind such goodness is not so much based on God’s devotion to Israel as much as His devotion to His own glory!