Hollow and Shallow
There is no catalyst for behavior correction like a police car pulling up behind your car. Bam. We all put on our brakes, whether we’re going the speed limit or not. We all fasten our seat belts quickly, whether they're already fastened or not. And we all put away our phones, because we know it’s not very safe to drive while using a cell phone.
Similarly, there is a catalyst in the Bible that causes all kinds of behavior reactions. That catalyst is The Word of the Lord. The Bible often begins an amazing or awful story of human behavior with, The Word of the Lord came to…. For Abraham, the Word of the Lord came when he was living in his father’s house in a land called Ur. What follows is the majority of the book of Genesis and, in reality, the rest of the Bible. For Moses, he was minding his own business, taking care of his father-in-law‘s sheep, when a burning bush spoke the word of the Lord to him.
This Sunday we’re going to begin a new series on the book of Jonah, which is a wild story that begins with the phrase, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah.”
The more I hear about the increase in suicides, mental health medications, drugs and alcohol abuse, and the decay of the family unit, the more I long to know what Creator God has to say. It seems that much of the world these days is in an exhausting and unfulfilling striving. Instead of producing good, the striving leaves the striver with a hollow sense of identity and fulfillment. And instead of helping, the striving seems to produce a shallow impact on their loved ones and the world’s problems.
My prayer for you today, and as we go through this little, funny book of the Bible, is that you would become more aware of the word of the Lord that has already been spoken to you and over you. That you would be able to take a good assessment of where you are in relation to the word of the Lord spoken to you and over you. Jonah is not a very good example for us; but his example makes us all feel better about the patience and persistence of the God of the Bible—the God who wants to lead you to a fulfilling and impactful existence of peace and joy.
As Thomas Merton puts it, “There is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace, and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him, I will find myself, and if I find my true self, I will find Him.” It is the word of the Lord that is wanting to lead us into the discovery of who He is and who we are.