God As Retailer


      I've a friend that likes to compare our relationship with the Father as one of a customer and a retailer.  A consumer and a supplier.  We can have some very warm feelings about this "Retailer," just as we do about our favorite places to shop, eat, and get other "goods" we need, or think we need.  We think of Him as "ours" just as Macy's, Best-Buy, Wal-Mart, and Olive Garden are ours.  We like to think of these places as being ours, but rarely, if ever, do we consider ourselves "theirs."  Even if our credit card statements may say otherwise.  I think this may be for many of us an apt description of our relationship with Him.  He is ours, but we are not His.  At least not in anything more than words.
     The Song of Solomon can be a very overlooked book in the Bible, but it warrants real study, for it details how, no matter what we say, our walk with Him really unfolds.  It's about a Bride, we the church, and a groom, Christ.  As the book begins, everything is about the Bride and how her love for the groom is grounded completely in what He does for her.  She rejoices in His gifts to her, but not in Him.  He longs for intimacy with her, but she longs for gifts, blessings, from Him.  It's not until He has led her through a long, oftentimes painful journey, that her eyes are opened to who He is, and how worthy of her love He is.  He is not her possession, she is His.  Completely His.  Borrowing on the idea from my friend, she is no longer a consumer seeking "stuff," she is a "communer," seeking and receiving Him.  She doesn't get goods, she gets God.
    Chapter 2:16 reads, "My beloved is mine, and I am His."  She speaks this from a heart set on herself first.  She sees Him far more as belonging to her, than she to Him.  Being His is very secondary to Him being hers.  Do we see any correlation in our own ideas and walk with Him?  How like her are we?  Many parents say of their inappreciative children that they are merely "checkbooks" to them.  At root, is there much difference in how He sees us?  Is the Lord ours, or are we His?  Which attitude is foremost in our hearts?  Here's a penetrating question.  Heart piercing actually.  If the Father were to bless us with all we think we need, yet withdraw from our lives, leaving no discernible Presence, would we be OK with that?  Would we notice?  Is the blessing more desirable to us than Him?  The patterns of our lives as to time spent pursuing our desires, and in pursuing Him will supply the answers.
    Matthew 9:27-31 tells the story of Jesus healing the two blind men.  After He had done so, He told them to tell no one, yet they immediately went out and told everyone.  Eugene Peterson said of this, "They enjoyed immensely the benefits of being with Jesus, but blithely ignore His commands.  As long as they need help they are all eagerness and attention; as soon as they get what they came for, they disregard Jesus completely."  This is the mindset and life pattern of a consumer, not a "communer".  Is it ours; yours and mine?  Who belongs to who, and who is really Lord?  Is He our heavenly retailer, or our Heavenly, and earthly King?  Is He one more favorite, alongside Macy's and Best-Buy, or does He stand alone, as God, Savior, Lord of all?  One way or another, our lives will give an answer.

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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