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Friday, 19 May 2017

The emptiness of a Godless life.

There is an old limerick that goes: 

"A cheerful old bear in the zoo
could always find something to do.
When it bored him, you know,
to walk to and fro,
he reversed it, and walked fro and to!"

Perhaps the composer of that bit of doggerel believed that people could learn from the bear. Certainly, bears appear to be content as long as they have sufficient food to eat, and some other bears for company. A lot of we humans could, indeed, learn a valuable lesson from such an example!

The prophet Haggai, whose prophetic book is found in the Tanakh (the Old Testament in the Bible), lived at the time when the Children of Israel had returned from the Babylonian exile, and he discovered that man cannot find happiness when he lives at the level of even the highest animal. His contemporaries ignored the fact that the Temple had not been rebuilt (Note to the so-called Palestinians, and the members of UNESCO - this was a long time before the false 'prophet', Muhammad had even been born!), although they had provided, for themselves, finely constructed houses, and occupied themselves with worldly affairs.

However, their harvests were poor; their clothing was inadequate; and their wages failed to keep up with the rising costs that resulted from inflation! The prophet uttered the word of YHWH: "You have sown much, and harvested little; you eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages earns wages to put them into a bag with holes." (1:6). The prophet told them to re-examine their priorities, as they were reaping a harvest of unhappiness by putting selfish pleasures first.

Whenever people forget the Lord, and concern themselves with the pursuit of material and sensual things, they are - at least in the long run - poorly rewarded. The rich find little true satisfaction in their abundance, and the remaining multitudes, who are not even particularly rich, end up discontented, disillusioned, and bored with life. The reason for this is that God made us in His own image, and for His glory, and we can never find true joy until we obey the instruction of the Lord Jesus to: "... seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, ..." (Matt.6:33). Only then will we sow and reap abundantly, and eat and be truly filled. Augustine said: "You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You." A modern version of that says "There's a God-shaped blank in every heart that only God can fill."

If you are aware of an emptiness in your life, that the so-called pleasures of life are failing to satisfy, then I commend the Lord Jesus to you. He came, He assured us, that you "... may have life, and have it abundantly." (Jn.10:10). That life - eternal life - is available to you, today.

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