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Archive for April, 2009

incdutyHave you ever watched the PBS television show, Antiques Roadshow? The basic concept of the show is this: A team of experts and appraisers travel to a city, set up in a large venue such as a convention centre, and invite people to bring in their antiques, collectibles and family heirlooms to be appraised. Sometimes people bring an object that they think is valuable, and it ends up being worthless junk. At other times the item turns out to be extremely valuable, beyond the owner’s wildest dreams.

The Bible says that when God created the earth and everything in it, one part of His handiwork stood apart from the rest – human beings. “Then God said, ‘let us make man in our image, in our likeness’…” (Genesis 1:26) When God created humans, He marked us with His likeness, His “maker’s mark”. You could even say that we bear His “hallmark”, in that at creation, humans were pure. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, the purity of God’s creation was corrupted, and we see the results in the world today. Corrupted though it may be, God’s image still marks us indelibly. Even people who say they don’t believe in God usually have an innate sense of right and wrong. Paul talks about this in Romans 1:18-23:

“But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.”

What Paul is suggesting is that disobedience has its roots in our view of God and of ourselves. Considering what happened in the Garden of Eden, this seems to be true. The serpent planted seeds of suspicion and mistrust in Eve’s mind. This caused her to see God differently, and to question His motives. As a result she pushed God off the throne and took matters into her own hands. We know the rest of the story. “People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him…” Paul goes on to say, “they traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand”. In other words, we have a built-in tendency to accept (or even prefer) counterfeits – idols – though ‘the real thing’ is obvious and readily available.

If disobedience has its roots in our view of God, then a good question to ask on a regular basis is, “How great is our God?” Though God has nothing to prove, I think He provides plenty of opportunities for us to see how great He is. Some of us miss these opportunities because we’re too busy or we’re not paying attention. Others are so ensnared in pride and rebellion that we refuse to give God His rightful place in our lives. Our anthem is “my way or the highway”. Unfortunately, we don’t see the inevitable head-on collision coming until it’s too late.

God loves us and He has our best interests at heart. When we want something and He says, “no”, He isn’t trying to deprive us, He’s trying to protect us. His perspective on our lives takes into consideration factors we aren’t even aware of. The thing we think we want could end up destroying us. There are also times when God says “wait”. This can be at least as hard as hearing “no”.

When I struggle with giving God the ‘final say’ in my life, I find great comfort in knowing that though He didn’t sin, Jesus was tempted and tried. The night before His crucifixion, He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)┬áLike us, ┬áJesus had desires. Unlike us, He consistently submitted them to God.

Lord, help us to worship you with our submission and obedience, even when we don’t understand. We choose to believe that You know what’s best in every circumstance of our lives.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5,6)

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