Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wanderer Four

So, God sends community to the lost, healing to those in darkness, His word to those who sin against themselves, and to our final wanderer He reveals Himself through creation.  Psalms 107:23-32, tells of a wanderer who goes out to establish a name, do business on the mighty waters.

23     Some went down to the sea in ships,

doing business on the mighty waters;

24     they saw the deeds of the Lord,

his wondrous works in the deep.

25     For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,

which lifted up the waves of the sea.

26     They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;

their courage melted away in their calamity;

27     they reeled and staggered like drunkards,

and were at their wits’ end.

28     Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

and he brought them out from their distress;

29     he made the storm be still,

and the waves of the sea were hushed.

30     Then they were glad because they had quiet,

and he brought them to their desired haven.

31     Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

for his wonderful works to humankind.

32     Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,

and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

Think of where we are as a country right now.  We have gone down to the sea in ships, traded on Wall Street, taken financial risks and explored business opportunities on the mighty waters of industry.  Aren’t we big and strong?  I think that this passage is interesting because the mighty waters belong to the Lord.  All seas and all ships belong to the Lord.  We see His deeds and His wondrous works, but these are His and His alone.  We went down to the sea thinking that we would conquer what is rightfully the Lord’s.  This wanderer is one that we see everywhere right now, the entrepreneur.  Does it stop at finances, though?  Isn’t there an element to greed that cannot stop itself at money?  It wants the heart and soul.  It is the spiritual entrepreneur and the sin is greed for what does not belong to him, what rightfully belongs to the Father. 

God has commanded and raised the stormy wind.  He has lifted up the waves of the sea.  He is allowing us to ride this new economical wave to the heavens and back down to the depths.  Is your courage being melted away?  Has your home been affected by this crisis?  Do you really remember who gives us everything that we need, anyway?  My home does.  Before it is over, we could be among those who reel and stagger like drunkards, at our wits end.  Ask those who are losing their homes and their jobs what this feels like.  We, as a country, are paying for the greed that has consumed us, physically and spiritually. 

There will come a time when we are glad for the quiet.  We will be grateful for the jobs that we have, the car that we are privileged to drive, and the home that the Lord has offered to us to raise a generation for Him and do the ministry that He entrusts to us.  We will all learn this lesson, and I pray that our desired haven will have a less frivolous tone when we get there.  Isn’t it funny that the truly faithful are not afraid of this change?  They see it, recognize it, understand the implications of it, but…they are not freaking out; maybe because of the way that they handled their money before, or maybe because they know that the Lord is faithful.  Either way, there are those who show us how to manage homes and money faithfully.  These are the counter-cultural few who we now realize had it right all along.

I think that this brand of wanderer is upon us.  God will call these in, in abundance.  Nature is a wonderful metaphor for that which is out of our control.  God tells us,

James 4:13, 14, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.’ 14 Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”

Ecclesiastes 8:8, “No one has power over the wind  to restrain the wind, or power over the day of death; there is no discharge from the battle, nor does wickedness deliver those who practice it.”

We are out of control, and this is a good thing.  We can never conquer, earn, dominate, force or manipulate control over anything as long as there is a God of the universe.  He allows us to live in this space.  We choose to take on the responsibility and resources of a Holy God or to pretend in futility that we are the ones doing business on the mighty waters. 

I encourage you to read the rest of Psalm 107, how He longs to give rest to wanderers, by turning nothing into something.  He establishes towns for community, He turns emotional and physical deserts into vineyards, He allows His people to multiply and He rescues the oppressed and weary.  We have a God who loves us deeply.  Psalm 107:43, “Let those who are wise give heed to these things, and consider the steadfast love of the Lord.”

Father, thank you for loving us with a steadfast love.  Let this thought be on our hearts and in our minds today.

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