There it is was sitting right in the middle of an old familiar Psalm:
They exchanged THEIR Glory for an image of a bull which eats grass. They forgot the God who saved them. Psalm 106:20-21
Ouch. It sounds so foolish when considering how the Israelites had witnessed all those miracles straight from the hand of God, but how many times have I done the same thing? How easily I forget that God is MY Glory. My Glory is not my winning personality, my clever intellect, my nicely decorated home, my 401K or how I look in that new dress. Why would I try to impress anyone with anything less than the God who loves me? My Glory is my heavenly Father. The same Father who has rescued me numerous times and has patiently gone out of his way to tell me that he loves me. The same Creator who breathes life into those who surround me and has made this wonder filled universe. The same God who bent down to my level and took the form of a man so I can understand and know Him; the same God who sent his beloved Son to pay the price for my sins.
Where did I ever get the idea that I should push God aside and try to fill the void with something or someone less than Him? The Israelites and I have much in common. We have fruitlessly tried exchanging the God who saves us for ridiculous gods we attempt to own all the while forgetting that what we worship controls us. Why do I ever seek another master?
Yesterday, I stopped by to say good bye friends who were packing up and leaving for Texas. Their house was a shell full of boxes and random scattered items that didn’t make the cut and wouldn’t make the trip southwest. I rescued a few plants and some stray items from their pantry. My throat knotted up thinking that the home my friends had created no longer existed. I was going to miss the comfort of their sofa and the gentle spirit of that place. We had spent hours there breaking bread, getting to know one another, praying and pouring over God’s word and watching friends laugh, struggle and grow together. We watched God change lives in this house. The space they created is no more. Memories remain. Life goes on. The moving van is physical proof.
The truth of the matter is that we are nomads in this life. This is not our home. Possessions may bless and comfort us, but they can also crowd our existence, complicate our lives and snuff out our souls’ deepest desires. We have to let go. Jesus knows this about us. Living in a land of such material blessing, his instructions take on even greater urgency.
“Take nothing for the journey except a staff-no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave as a testimony against them.” Mark 6:8-11
To lean back on the simplicity of these words is freeing if not terrifying. Jesus instructs me to not become dependent upon possessions, place, plans, wit or even outcome. Like moving, this is all a bit disorienting, but at the heart of it, Jesus wants me, my full commitment and trust in Him. He doesn’t want anything, anyone, any situation to take hold of my heart. He longs be soul proprietor so that I can walk in the beauty of the truth, grace and spaciousness that only knowing Him can bring.
Lord, may this be so. Amen