Friday, 19 September 2014
What Am I Hungry For?
When I stop to notice, it’s unbelievable how constantly my thoughts swirl around my favorite subject–me. In the time it takes me to fold a load of laundry I can cycle through self-congratulation to self-loathing to self-doubt to self-analysis to self-pity to self-indulgence. What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t he call me? Why do I try so hard? Why can’t I get my act together?
The only thing to do at this point is head for the kitchen and find some dark chocolate. It won’t answer my questions, but it will definitely put me in a better mood.
Why don’t I pick up my Bible at times like these? Because frankly the Bible isn’t very interesting to me when I’m self-preoccupied. The kinds of questions that are chasing each other around in my head aren’t likely to be answered by flipping open the Book and pointing at a verse. As every pastor and Bible teacher will tell you, the Bible is not a book about me, it’s about God.
Now, before I tell you to shelve your “me” questions and go sit in the corner with your Bible, here’s another perspective. The Bible may not be a book about me, but it is a book for me. In fact I am invited not only to read it, but to bring myself to it. Hear the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters!
Whoever has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price. Isaiah 55:1
Four times the invitation rings out. Come. Come. Come. Come! I’ve never received four invitations to the same party before, have you? God is a most aggressive host. He wants the thirsty to come thirsty. He wants the hungry to come hungry. He doesn’t want us to bring a salad to the feast or try to pay for our part of the tab. He simply wants us to come.
What am I hungry for?
We don’t need to clean ourselves up to come to this banquet, but there is something we do need. Our host is spreading a feast of his grace before us and asking “What are you hungry for?” That question can stump us when we’re self-absorbed. Hungry? I don’t know. I just feel bad. I keep pulling out my phone to check Facebook, but it’s making me feel more left out. The chocolate bar helped a little, maybe I’ll head to the mall…
We need to go from self-absorbed to self-aware. What AM I hungry for? That’s the me-question you can ask in God’s presence. He answers by posing some diagnostic questions through his prophet:
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food. Isaiah 55:2
What am I spending my time on? My money, too? That’s a good question. What am I hoping to accomplish? What will satisfy me? I may realize I’ve been trying to prove myself, that success feels like life to me. I may recognize I’ve been feeling lonely and keep looking for a place to belong. “Listen…eat what is good.” He’s offering me something better.
Eat his words.
Now that I know what I’m hungry for, I’m ready to read on:
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David. Isaiah 55:3
Three morsels on the surface catch my attention. Come to me. This is personal. He wants to satisfy me with himself. …that your soul may live. The thrill of success won’t give me life, his words will. …my steadfast sure love for David. The love I long for is offered to me here.
My appetite has been whetted, but I’ve only begun. This feast of words is rich and complex. What’s does he mean by covenant? What does the covenant of David have to do with me? What gives me the right to take these words personally? I’ll have to dig to understand all that he is promising, but at this point I’m hooked.
I’ve begun to feast.