June 2, 2014

Perfect Stranger, Part I: Where Is You Heart Aimed?

In the heat of battle when we are under attack what do we desire? In the pit of despair. In the forlorn gloom of depression. What is it that we truly desire? In the throes of embarrassment over being humiliated. In the isolated oneness of being rejected by all for a firm biblical stance, where should our focus be? What should we want? Do we look for power so we can control others or what they think of us? Do we look for safety when all seems lost? Do we try to find harbor in the tempest? Do we seek revenge or vindication for what we perceive has been a wrong done to us? What we desire speaks of the longings of our hearts at the basest level. It is the true core of what we are and what we’ve become. So what should we want in all the above situations?

In Psalm 84 we read the following about in Psalm 84:1-7

“How lovely are Your dwelling places, O LORD of hosts !  My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the LORD ; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.  The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, Even Your altars, O LORD of hosts, My King and my God.  How blessed are those who dwell in Your house! They are ever praising You. Selah.  How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion!  Passing through the valley of Baca they make it a spring ; The early rain also covers it with blessings.  They go from strength to strength, Every one of them appears before God in Zion.

The words “longed for” here mean desire(d). Kasap נִכְסְפָ֬ה means to yearn for or to long after. It has a basic meaning of feeling great favor toward something. Desire seems as if it have a central role to play in our lives with God. If we were created pre-Fall with the desire to fellowship with God as Adam did, then what do we strive after now? What is it that we strain against in our sin? What do we crave? Sex? Fame? Fortune? Peace? Without God at center it would appear all of these are but pipe dreams. Do we think getting the sex, fame, fortune or other things without God will fulfill what we really crave and really need anyway? I suggest not.

So what is that one major thing that you have replaced God with? What is it that you attempt to place your strength in as the verse above speak of? Do you have a love of the dwelling place of the Lord first and foremost as the heart of the psalmist does above? It isn’t a matter of you “should” have that desire, it is a matter of “you must”.  The psalmist speaks of the court of the Lord being a proper place? Why? Because the court is where you would expect to find worship of God. The court is a place that you would expect the end of a pilgrimage to gain audience to the presence of the King. It is what we should be desiring too if we truly believe in a sovereign God who has control over our lives. The Psalmist yearns and longs for that presence. Total attention is on God here. By seeking God’s presence we will often need to go through His word to find it at times. In the word, we can even find the answers for many of the predicaments mentioned in the introduction and in the lament Psalm below.

If we jump back to Psalm 27 we see some of the things that can derail or spiritual pilgrimage to the location of God’s courts, mostly enemies, oppressors, false witnesses and even being forsaken by family members. In Psalm 27’s lament from David we see that the wicked may advance against him but David seeks that which matters. He seeks one thing, “…that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

Same as the psalmist in Psalm 84 we see the overcomer who overcomes by running to the arms and the courts of the sovereign King. The temple or court is analogous to being in God’s presence. It is God who gives us the victory not only over our enemies but also over ourselves and our own sins. It is exactly because we inevitably turn away from God and His glory that we begin to lose our way. Why such an intense focus on God? It is because this is the seat of our faith. All of our faith stems from there. Bold faith is not naïve faith, it is a faith firmly rooted in that which we can trust. When that faith or trust is rooted in anything other than a totally trustworthy God we will certainly be let down. Placing our faith and trust in the world is a equation that equals disaster. The enjoyment of God’s presence assures the believer goodness and love of God (Psalm 23:6).

You know you have something that blocks your view of God. What is the one thing in your life that should be God but ends up being something in this world in the creation? Is it your wife? Children? Financial security? The truth is you will gain none of these things and be truly happy until you realize that they are not replacements for the Lord, most are the fruits or a proper relationship with the Lord. When we try to put these things first instead of going to God first and allowing Him to provide them to us, we invert the proper order. Things can only spin into chaos and disarray in this circumstance. There is no true joy at the base of these things, only a sense of having acquired them as a goal in and of themselves. It is the Lord Himself in a triangular relationship between you, Him and these people and things that gives them the meaning they were created for. Otherwise they are just things and even your love ones and family members just end up being familiar strangers. They are just convenient relationships for you that are devoid of their true intent: spiritual fellowship.

It is in these emptied relationships that the twisted nature of the world enters and what should’ve been a holy form of fellowship becomes disrespectful relations, people being used and sexually depraved relations being passed off as love. In the same way our relationship with God becomes twisted. By putting Him second, He becomes one of many. A spiritual possession to put on a shelf like the others. Another spiritual contact for fellowship in our spiritual black-book. He is not the primary fellowship, just another one. In this way we trivialize our relationship with God thereby trivializing God Himself. We bring Him down to our human level and then have the audacity to treat Him like just another Christian. Shameful is what it is. Instead of going to God in faith, we attempt to try and make Him come to us when we need Him.

It don’t work that way folks.

So what is your “thing” that your heart craves? You know, the thing David spoke of that was clearly the desire to dwell in the house of the Lord in His presence? What is it that you think is so important that you are willing to supersede Jesus with and make Him sit in the spare broom closet just out of sight but close enough to call on just in case you get yourself into a pickle?

Admit it, you have something. Is it contentment? The feeling of accomplishment at retirement which rarely ever feels like you accomplished anything. Is it a comfortable good paying job at middle-age? Is it clout and importance of a new career in your twenties and thirties? Fess up. What do you daydream about. What thoughts captivate you day in and day out the moment you rise? Are you aiming your arrow at things in this world or are you concentrating all your effort into a perfect well-placed shot dead-center on God?

What are you aiming at?

[Concluded in Part II]

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...