Friday, April 20, 2018

The Difference Maker

Did you ever notice how the psalms can be both the most encouraging of all the books in the Bible and also the hardest to digest in their ability to not hold back? Sometimes they fill us with such hope of the promises God has made and sometimes we are smacked in the face with our humanity and ability to fail miserably.

The good news is we get a lot of warnings.....tell a future generation the praiseworthy acts of the LORD, so that they might put their confidence in God, not forget His works, but keep His commands (Psalm 78:4,7 CSB) or they will not keep God's covenant, refuse to live by His law, and forget what He has done. (Psalm 78:10 CSB) Pretty clear cut, right?

But sometimes the warnings are a bit more difficult to comprehend. We see that God is slow to anger and abounding in love (Exodus 34:6) but we also see that we can enrage Him and provoke His jealousy. (Psalm 78:58) However, we are at least told how we can do that which we ought not to do: we enrage Him with our high places, and we provoke His jealousy with our carved images. (Psalm 78:58)

At this point, we almost have to ask ourselves what our high places and carved images are. It's not necessarily an easy question to answer either because we don't always recognize them. We read the Old Testament and can't see beyond the physical reality of what the high places and carved images were and so we think we can't possibly have them. Except we do. Time, money, influence, success, etc. They exist, just more in the abstract than the literal.

So what do we do? How do we stop ourselves?

Sadly we can't on our own. We need divine intervention in the most profound ways to keep our idolatrous hearts in line.

So as I sat here thinking about this, I realized something rather obvious. It's not simply about God being enough, it's about God being everything. And the difference is so subtle it's almost impossible to explain, but I'm going to give it a go anyway.

According to Merriam Webster online, the definition of enough is occuring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations. However, the definition of everything is all that is important. One is subjective based on personal perception, the other is objective leaving no room for error about what matters most ~ God Himself because He is God, not because He can or will meet our needs.

Praise God that He understands we are human, flawed, fleshy, and fickle!

Getting to the point where God goes from being enough to everything will undoubtedly take a lifetime of His grace and compassion. We will think He is everything until something distracts us and we tell ourselves yet again that He is enough despite our disappointment in not getting what we want. And slowly but surely we will get as close as we can with His help while we still draw breath. But  one day we will see Jesus face to face. And on that day, we will be in the presence of God and realize what a cheap imitation everything else was compared to all He is. And I think that's okay. Because when our faith does become sight, Jesus will be removing the tears from our eyes knowing we were only capable of 'getting it' so much. 

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