|Vol. 14 No. 7 July 20121||
I want to commend the sentiments of the country song, “I Saw God Today.” This particular song (sung by George Strait) tells the story of a man who stops to notice a flower that has managed to come out of the concrete of a sidewalk. He later sees a man and woman walking hand-in-hand. He notices the certain glow in the woman, and can see that she is beginning to show with child. Then, he goes back up and presses his nose against the glass of the nursery and sees his little, newborn girl. He calls her a “miracle.” Throughout the song he clearly states that he reads the Book and goes to church, but that he often forgets to remember that God is there.
I know that the birth of a child is not a “miracle” in the biblical sense, but it should never cease to amaze us, and to make us so very thankful for what God has created in nature. Further, it is not the case that all of nature is God, as some would say. Yet, the fact is that the composer of this song has a very accurate idea in mind. We live and walk around every day without noticing all of those things that cry out that they have been fashioned by the everlasting love, kindness and power of God. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” While we cannot know God’s true nature and will except through His revelation of Himself in the inspired writings, we can certainly recognize Him as revealed to us through the things that He has made (Romans 1).
My wife, Barbara, and I stepped outside today to look at the different flowers that she plants in our yard. The breeze was blowing lightly, and the sounds of the newly arriving birds of spring could be heard all around us. Plants that we thought had died were coming back to life. Others were already blooming with beautiful flowers. Bees filled the bushes next to the house. The cycle of death being revived in life was in full process. Every part of nature was working in perfect harmony, each part obeying the unheard and unseen commands of the mighty Hand that made them. I said to my wife, “Don’t you just love spring?” She replied that it was probably her favorite time of the year.
The sad thing is that all too often we are far too busy to see the beauty and to hear the symphony of all the world around us that declares our God. I do believe that we “hear God” in the nature around us, and that we “see God” in the eyes of the newborn – one who is born with that within him or her that is eternal, in the image of God. God shows Himself to us representatively through those things that He has made.
I hope that I will always see God through those wonderful things around me. I held my grandson this morning and looked into his laughing eyes. When I looked at him, I really can say that “I saw God today,” shining through the eyes of that little one that I love.
Let’s look for the message in the world around us that God is there, and that He has blessed us so very much. Let us not forget to “see God today!”
When children are small, we often see one of them eagerly desiring to play with or have a toy just like his playmates, and oftentimes, this desire turns into an argument or a tumble. Often we see a teenage boy who wants “wheels” just like those his friends have. A teenage girl may really want to have a date with her best friend’s beau.
A woman may want a beautiful house just like her neighbor’s. A man would truly love to have a fancy motorcycle just like a coworker has. The scenario goes on! You know the story. What makes people desire what others have? Is it human nature to want something as good as or better than what others have? Can a person do anything about those desires? Let’s examine God’s teaching on “covetousness.”
Covet means “to desire selfishly and eagerly something that belongs to another.” Covetousness is defined as “greed.” Covetously means “with a strong or inordinate desire to obtain and possess.” The word “inordinate” itself means “much too great; excessive, unrestrained.” We can all readily see that the definitions of these words are certainly not to be part of a Christian’s life. The first clue we have is that to covet is to selfishly want something that someone else has. This is far removed from the servant-hood commanded for Christians as Christ taught: “Whosoever of you would be first among you shall be servant of all for even the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:44, 45).
To be selfish is to “care too much for oneself and too little for others.” This is in direct opposition to what Jesus did. He cared nothing for the grief and sorrow He knew on this earth and did not fight against that cruel death on Calvary’s cross. Instead, He was thinking about others, about YOU! The care was for others, not Himself. Aren’t we thankful that Jesus Who was Lord of all didn’t come to be served but, by His example, taught us how to be servants? That was His life and His death!
Covetousness is greed. The Wise Man wrote, “Proud and haughty is the name of the one who deals with arrogance of pride… He covets greedily all the day long but the righteous gives and does not spare” (Proverbs 21:24, 26). Also we read in Proverbs 16:27, “He that is greedy of gain troubles his own house.” A greedy person is not going to be an island of trouble only to himself, but that greed will extend to others, causing problems for them. The opposite of greedy is generous, and that’s what a Christian must strive to be.
Paul told the Colossian brethren, “Mortify [that is to deaden] your members which are on the earth; that is, fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and covetousness which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). Paul said covetousness is the same as idolatry, which is worship of false gods. In essence, when one covets, whatever he desires to have is his god, and that becomes more important to him than the true God. That is what is foremost in his mind and actions as he strives to accomplish his self-serving desires.
God dealt with the issue of covetousness when he gave the children of Israel the Ten Commandments. The first commandment was “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). The very first commandment was to put God first, not greed and covetousness. Likewise, the very last of the Ten Commandments concerns covetousness: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, his wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his ass or anything that is thy neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17). God began and ended those commandments by dealing with covetousness, which He knew would become more important to them than Him. He has always expected His people to be free of the burden of sin that covetousness puts on them. So is there something that man can do about his greed or covetousness? Paul said, “Always follow that which is good, both among yourselves and to all men” (1 Thessalonians 5:15). In 1 Corinthians 12:32 the apostle penned, “Covet earnestly the best gifts and, thereby, I will show unto you a more excellent way.” The best way to dispose of evil is to replace it with good, and that applies to all sins, even covetousness. We actually can do something about greediness!