I recently read a book in which the author described going to an estate sale. He enjoyed looking for rare and out-of-print books, but something different happened at this one. As he filed through the house with other strangers seeking to purchase what the deceased left behind, he started to think about something other than finding a good bargain. Was that his favorite chair?Did he purchase this item or was it a gift from someone who loved him? Then, he realized that one day people would come and pick through his possessions as well. Everything he spent his life accumulating would be sold to strangers at a bargain price.
Consumerism has become so rampant in our culture that we don’t notice it anymore, and we struggle to understand what this does to our own hearts. Our drive for more, newer, bigger, and better causes ceaseless unrest and anxiety in our hearts. Left unchecked, we can make ourselves and everyone around us miserable as we endlessly grope for that which will never satisfy.
Today’s readings anchor our hearts to a truth we need now more than ever—God gives us everything we need in the exact moment we need it. He knows us, He loves us, and He provides for us. This assurance saturates the message of Psalm 23. The Lord shows Himself to be a loving shepherd who relentlessly cares for His people.
David’s metaphor helps us understand how God cares for our every need—physical, financial, emotional, and spiritual. He summarizes God’s action towards us in the last verse, saying, “Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life” (v.6). David employed the Hebrew word for pursue, the same word used to describe Israel chasing down the Philistine army after David struck down Goliath. What an illustration of how God chases after us with His goodness and loyal love!
When we understand God’s heart for us, we learn how to be content in our circumstances. We know that God is not depriving us for His entertainment or holding a grudge over some sin we committed. Instead, we live where we live, drive what we drive, eat what we eat, and earn what we earn because God, out of His loyal love for us, knows that this is what we need for the good of our souls right now.
We know from Romans 8 that because God gave Christ to us, we can be sure that He will not withhold anything we need. When we grasp the love of God for us in Jesus Christ, we can lay down our restless striving and say with the apostle Paul, “I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.”
Written by Scott Slayton