Life is full of distractions. It comes in all forms, disguises, and clever divergences. Mine have recently come in the form of “the news”. You name it – the issue of marriage and how it relates to our faith, politics, sports, work, business, exercise. All of the above mentioned things for myself and for many others, I’ve noticed, seductively lull the observer into a hypnotic state and cause them to forget their first love. This is the story of humanity. The story is all throughout the Old Testament especially. David, Solomon, Jacob, Sampson, the whole nation of Israel – you name the character or the nation and I’ll show you just how easy it is to get distracted for just a moment, and you’ll wake up miles down a path that you didn’t even consciously decide to take. The enemy is very clever in what Paul referred to in Ephesians as the devil’s schemes.
The funny (or not so) thing about it is that he does it often in obvious ways, but it just eludes the hypnotized victim.
The most recent example for me was tuning into the news. Lately it’s been Christian news. I actually thought I was doing myself a favor by reading it as an alternative to the regular secular news. What I found though is that it either disappointed me because it was nothing more than secular news, which is very depressing, with a Christian spin. Or, it’s often Christian news written with some heavy bias, politically, doctrinally, theologically. In the end, what I’m saying is that it’s ultimitely depressing. Either I end up reading it and questioning what I know or walk away irritated that the writer doesn’t see it “my way”. LOL. I think I can relate to Solomon from Ecclesiastes 12 when he said:
11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails —given by one shepherd.[b] 12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. ”
Here’s my modern day translation – “Be warned my friend of anything in addition to the words of God. People print books, write articles, blogs (me!), but none can compare to the words of the good Shephard. Go ahead, and choose to study other texts that you may find interesting, but know that it alone only leads to exhaustion and confusion.”
So, back to the Word for me…… The only knowledge that I find peace in is in the bread of life. Somehow, someway, I tend to forget that from time to time, even though I read the bible daily. I believe that such distractions are one of the many schemes of the enemy. In many ways he’s taken our penchant for technology and information and once again found creative ways to use it against us. Social media, 24-hour news cycles, endless reporting on politics, sports, food, home life, personal health and wellness, you name it, he’s got a vice for it. But, by the grace of God, and if we’re open to hearing the Spirit he’ll gently nudge us back on the path that brings life. Most recently, while reading the bible I had an epiphony about the love of God. Recently, it’s been consuming my thoughts, and that’s right back to where I want to be. It’s these types of scripture that have the ability to remind us of our fist love. This one hit me like a ton bricks:
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children —
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Now that’s what I call “Good News”.