Archive for January, 2012

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a fan of classic rock, I can’t help it, I just like the sound of guitars played through an overdriven tube amp. Of course, as with other styles of music there are some songs and bands that Christians should obviously refrain from listening to and I do. However, I’ll leave that to your discernment as that’s not really the reason for this post or even my comment, just a little disclaimer. Maybe I’ll write on that subject another time. The reason I make the statement is that this morning, while reading my Bible, I was reminded of a classic rock song (I know that’s probably strange to most people). It’s a song called When Will I Ever Learn to Live in God recorded by Van Morrison many years ago (makes more since now doesn’t it?). Anyway, this is the thought that I had and the more I think about, the more I realize that it’s a good question to ask. Let me explain.

I am currently reading through 1Samuel in my daily quality time with God. Today I read chapter 6 and here’s what’s happening. Israel (God’s chosen people) is pretty much doing their own thing. They’re living their lives the way they want to, oh they go to worship when they should and make the appropriate sacrifices but they conduct themselves according to what suits them and even worship other (false) gods at times. Even their priests are corrupt. There are some people who continue to follow God’s law and worship Him because they love Him but for the most part people are going through the motions. That is, until they need God; which is exactly what happens in chapter 4.

In chapter 4 we read how the Philistines attack Israel and so, under the leadership of the corrupt priests, Israel decides to go into battle with the Ark of the Lord. The Ark is significant because it represents God’s presence among His people. Now the Ark was intended to stay within the heart of the Tabernacle where people would go to worship God. It was a sacred thing and was intended to be kept sacred. The problem is that the people, including the priests, didn’t treat it as a sacred thing but as a good luck charm. They thought they could do what was right in their own eyes, offer God whatever sacrifice or semblance of worship, or nod of the head that they wanted to and when they were under attack just break out the good luck charm and watch God destroy their enemies. That’s not the way it happened though. Instead they were defeated, their priests were killed, and the Ark was captured.

That’s not the end of the story though. You see, after the Philistines took the Ark they began to have some real problems. God may not have been happy with the way His people were doing but He sure wasn’t going to let the Ark remain in the hands of the enemy of His people. The Philistines decided they were better off without the Ark so they sent it back. When it came back to Israel in a cart pulled by some oxen the people rejoiced and worshiped God. The symbol of His presence was back among His people. The problem is they still treated it as a common thing. Some of the men decided to look in the Ark and God struck them down. The Bible says that they then asked the question, “Who is able to stand before this holy LORD God?” Now they’re starting to get it; maybe.

God, the things of God, His worship, His commandments, His statutes, His promises of blessing and judgment are not things to be taken lightly or treated as common. God is Holy, and just, and all powerful. He has a plan and a will. As Christians we are called to submit ourselves to His plan and will, to commit ourselves to His service, to take serious His commands and to show our love through our obedience. We are guilty of the same thing as Israel was in 1Samuel when we offer God lip service by going to church on Sunday but living our lives according to what suits us. We’re guilty when we try to take matters in our own hands when it comes to our personal lives, our families, our business dealings, and our churches and expect God to bless us simply because we call ourselves Christian. When we do these things and wonder where God is or why He’s not doing what we think He ought to be doing maybe we should take a step back and simply ask Him to examine our lives and show us what’s lacking. It could be that God wants to get our attention. What Israel needed most was not for God to win their battle for them, if He did they would just have continued as they were. What they needed most was for God to show them their error and bring them back to Him in brokenness and love and real devotion and dependence. God wants the same for us as He did for Israel; to learn to live in Him, to let go and let God. Let go of our sin, our pride, our desire to be in control, our own wisdom, our foolishness, our sense of ownership and entitlement and simply let God be God in our lives. We don’t have to know everything, we don’t have to figure it all out, we simply need to learn to live in God and trust Him, moment by moment, day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year.

God is God of me, not me. God is God of my family, not me. God is God of my business, not me. God is God of my church, not me. God is God of my past, present, and future, not me. What a relief that is to know. When will we ever learn to Live in God?