“I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.”
A Reader’s Digest article I read recently listed off many strange and interesting ironies. Gary Kremen, for instance, the founder of Match.com, allegedly lost his girlfriend to a man she met on Match.com! It turns out that the Bible, which commands us not to steal (Exodus 20:15; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:28), is apparently the most shoplifted book in America! Such examples are endless; weird ironies seem to permeate human existence. One such irony involves the human drive toward comfort and pleasure. Throughout human history, particularly in the western world and in the modern era, man has largely regarded comfort and pleasure as the chief goals of this life. Because affluence is the avenue to these twin pinnacles of human achievement, personal wealth is pursued with a drive and single-minded devotion that often puts Christian commitment into the shadows by comparison. The irony in all this, as today’s verse passage reminds us, is that affluence often draws us away from God—the very One Who provided us with good things to enjoy in the first place! (Acts 14:14-17; 1 Timothy 6:17). The western world was founded upon decidedly Judeo-Christian principles. They guided our founders in their social-political philosophies, policies, and practices. For this we have become some of the most affluent people in all the world. These blessings ought to have increased our faith in God and our commitment to Him. Ironically, they have served to make us among the most faithless and spiritually comatose. We are like the Israelites, who demanded material provision from God, Who “gave them their request but sent leanness into their soul” (Psalm 106:15). That is, in having their material desires granted, they became pathetically weak spiritually. Nothing describes North American existence better. In acquiring wealth and enjoying comforts and pleasures, we have fallen under the delusion that we are self-sufficient and in no need of God’s grace or provision; we’ve adopted the same attitude God counseled Israel against (Deuteronomy 8:10-18). How ironic it is that David was at his very best spiritually when he was running for his life, hiding in the wilderness and completely dependent on God. It was when he was dwelling in safety and luxury that he drifted into gross sin (2 Samuel 11). In similar fashion, the church of Christ was at her very best when she was a persecuted minority, trusting in God and looking for her blessed Hope (Titus 2:13). May the Lord help us display uncommon spiritual maturity in these last of days, enjoying His blessings but grateful and submitted to Him, the Source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).
God bless you,