Sunday, November 9, 2014

Choose this day - will you have this or that?

"He who has God and everything else has no more than he who has God only," wrote C. S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory.

IES Jakarta, waiting for people
to arrive and celebrate God's goodness
God gives each person the choice to serve him or to follow other gods. Sometimes those idols are of our own making. Sometimes our idols are values inherited from our parents or learned from our culture. Joshua presented a decision to the nation he had led:

...If it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

His mind was made up. He chose the LORD he had served all his life. He stayed faithful from first to last.

Reading the books of the Kings and Chronicles in the Old Testament, the options seem so obvious. Serve God and thrive. Live. Experience abundance of crops and protection from God. It's not that Israel didn't have to fight off their enemies. Their lives were not always easy. But God guided, helped, and intervened as needed.

Serve the Baals and foreign gods or choose our own path - and God lets us and those around us reap the consequences. 

Here are some of the gods W and I have observed:

  • money - for power, admiration, or a sense of security
  • relationships - friends, spouses, parents, or dare we mention ... children (whether we have them or want them)
  • the approval of others
  • self-will or selfishness
  • addictions - sex, food, drink, drugs, habits
  • ambitions
  •                                            (you fill in the blank)
None of those idols fill our souls or satisfy us to the core. These diversions are demanding. Never satisfied. Unattainable.

IES teens pray a farewell blessings over their pastors,
who are setting off on the next steps of obedience
So why is it so hard for us to consistently choose what would make us happy?

Read more:
Do not be afraid, land of Judah; 
    be glad and rejoice.
Surely the Lord has done great things!

Do not be afraid, you wild animals,
    for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green.
The trees are bearing their fruit;
    the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.

Be glad, people of Zion,
    rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
    because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
    both autumn and spring rains, as before.

The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
    the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten-
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm-
my great army that I sent among you.

You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
    and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.

Then you will know that I am in Israel,
    that I am the Lord your God,
    and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed. Joel 2:21-27 NIV

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