He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, April 17, 2017

God As Our Center

         Most of us are familiar with the book of Ecclesiastes, which recounts Solomon’s desire and search for all that is good in this world.  Solomon looked everywhere, but in places that did not include God.  He looked at pleasure knowledge, and material things as focal points, to bring him happiness.

            Our world is full of people searching, not unlike Solomon----experimenting with drugs and alcohol, sexual escapades, pornography, careers, gambling, collecting material possessions including big ticket items like cars and houses; sports, and dozens of other types of ‘idols,’ in a search to fill a void in our lives. 

            Everywhere you look you can find articles and workshops, books and blogs for self-help.  The very fact so many are available, suggests people have a real problem! There are all kinds of ideas on how to fill the void in our life, from success to yoga and many, many in between!  But most of these self-help ideas do not include God. 

            Solomon is considered very wise.  When God offered him anything he wanted, he asked for wisdom.  The very idea that he had the thought process to do this, indicates he longed for a right relationship with God, like his father, David.  Yet, with all his wisdom he made choices that led him away from the God of his father.  He married into cultures that were forbidden, and to placate his many wives he allowed other gods to enter his life and began worshipping them.

            This led him down a path of anything but happiness!  His priorities had changed.  God was no longer his center.  Instead of contentment in life, everything brought a measure of disappointment including his family, friends, his life in general and even himself.

            Isn’t this exactly what we see in our world today?  It’s fast paced, with an attitude of working until we drop so everything we own is bigger or better, and more than any of our neighbors. 

            Like Solomon, we need to remember that our external pleasures will not bring eternal joy.  Everything on this earth is momentary and will one day be of no value at all.  In reality, all our earthly possessions, awards, accolades or notoriety, hold no value now, if our center is not God.  It matters not how much we have collected of anything!  None of it will bring us true joy, peace or pleasure, if these ‘things’ are placed before God. 

            God insists on being first!  He is a jealous God.  Anything we willfully put before him is an idol.  We may think our activity, or outing of ‘pleasure,’ is something we deserve, and it may well be; but if we put it before God, it’s wrong.  It requires rethinking our priorities and making things right with God if we ever want to have the perfect peace of God.

            When we ignore the nudging from God, turning our backs on what is right because we believe it is our ‘due,’ then repentance is in order. We’re no different than Solomon and one day we’re going to have to come to terms with our behavior.  

           The aching void that is camped in our hearts, leaving us searching for new ways to enjoy life, can only be filled with God as our center.