Monday, August 26, 2013

Becoming What You Pursue...

In 2 Kings 17, we find the sad story of the fall of the northern Kingdom of Israel. Israel's last King, Hoshea, is defeated by Assyria. Samaria, the capital, falls. The northern 10 tribes of Israel are captured and deported and Israel is no more.

The writer goes on to tell us (2 Kings 17:7-18) as to why this happened. They had sinned against their God. They had worshipped other gods. They lived according to the customs of the ungodly nations. The secretly did wrong and built high places, Asherah poles and served idols. The Lord warned them through His Word and His prophets that they should not do these things yet they continued. And then, the writer states...

"They pursued worthless idols and became worthless themselves..." (2 Kings 17:15)

We serve an infinite, loving God. He loves us so much that He even allows us to choose our ways. We can choose to follow Him. We can choose to reject. While this in no way limits or diminishes the fact that He is all powerful and all knowing, it does create an interesting dilemma for us as a human race.

God seeks, calls and even yearns for us, His creation. Yet He also lovingly places in each of us the capacity to accept or reject His overtures. Love forced upon oneself is never true love. It has to come from a choice, a commitment of devotion. And, interestingly enough, what a person sets their heart on, or what a person pursues, is in many cases, literally what they become.

The Israelites in this story pursued worthless idols. They became worthless. Today, we also pursue so many worthless things: wealth, fame, recognition, etc. Look at the plethora of reality shows (a misnomer, no doubt) on television. Everyone wants their 15 seconds of fame. And who among us couldn't live with just a little bit more money?

While these things are not evil in themselves, the truth is plain in the Bible (and in life). What you pursue can be what you become.

Jesus said it a bit differently but with the same emphasis. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21)

If I am going to become what I pursue or treasure, I pray that every moment, every day, I pursue God. I pray that I pursue and treasure Him with all my heart, soul, strength and mind. I pray that I pursue His ways, His wisdom and His heart. I pray as the Psalmist...

"Lord, hear my voice when I call; be gracious to me and answer me. My heart says this about You, 'You are to seek My face.' Lord, I will seek Your face." (Psalm 27:8)

May we all pursue something worthy. May we all pursue the face of God.


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