Friday, 15 October 2010
Hungry Chapter 6: Satisfaction
Do you ever feel like your life is a roller coaster?
The ups and downs don’t feel so fun after a while. We can end up feeling jerked around by life. During the good times we feel satisfied–sort of. During the bad times we feel frustrated. Even worse, the good times and bad times seem to have no predictable rhythm. So we become cynical. Or anxious.
We’re always bracing ourselves for the other shoe to drop.
This chapter is meant to give us hope in the midst of the roller coaster. Our anxieties and cynicism don’t come from the ups and downs of life, they come from our view of God. We know God is in charge of the roller coaster. But his sovereignty doesn’t comfort us. Instead it leaves us with questions:
- Why is this happening?
- Is God mad at me?
- What do I need to do to keep him happy?
The bottom line is that we think it’s all up to us. We think the ups and downs of life are because God is mad at us, and we need to make him happy again.
We might have been saved by faith in Jesus, but now we live by our performance.
What Satisfies God?
How do the ups and downs of life affect you personally?
When I asked that question at Bible study, everyone had a story to tell.
“I struggle with a sense of failure, especially when I feel like I’ve let other people down.”
“I feel it as a blow to my pride, especially when it’s in an area where I’m pretty competent.”
“I worry about how it affects other people, even how it affects their faith in God.”
“Sometimes I’m able to trust God and praise him in bad times, but other times I’m just afraid that I’ve somehow offended him.”
So we talked about God’s anger and how different it is from ours.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18).
God’s wrath isn’t a mood or an emotional outburst, it is his settled verdict against our sin. He has a right to be angry, but he is able to control it. In fact he controlled his wrath throughout history as he waited for the right time bring judgment.
When was the right time? God waited until he sent his own Son. He waited until his Son willingly submitted to being crucified, not for his own sins, but for ours. In that moment, God judged his Son, placing all our sins on him–making him sin for us. Then he poured out his justified anger for sin on the Sin-bearer.
Then we talked about God’s satisfaction and how complete it is.
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
Christ, not me, is the propitiation for my sins. On Christ every sin was judged. Every bit of God’s righteous anger was satisfied. Fully and forever.
God is not moody with his satisfaction anymore than he is with his wrath. Memories don’t stir it again. Grudges don’t resurface and cause him to flare up and throw thunderbolts again.
God is satisfied– not by me, not by the quality of my faith, not by the level of my performance.
God is satisfied by the atoning blood of Jesus the Christ.
Placing our Hope in a Satisfied God
What does it look like to place our hope in the satisfied God? It looks like:
- Not punishing ourselves, but trusting the punishment of Christ
- Not measuring our performance, but counting on the perfect performance of Christ
- Not making promises to God about how we’ll do better, but counting on his promises fulfilled in Christ
All of our efforts to put God in a good mood so that he’ll be nice to us today are unnecessary. Propitiation has ended in reconciliation. His settled wrath has been replaced by his settled love.
Today, tomorrow, and each day after, our hope is in his steadfast love.
Fed by the Love of a Satisfied God
God wants to feed us with his love every day. In the wilderness, God showed his steadfast love by giving them manna. Every. Single. Day. He didn’t withhold it a single time. Not even after the golden calf incident. Not even after their refusal to enter the land. That’s why Moses said,
“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14).
Moses wanted them to “eat manna and taste love.” (Hungry, p. 125). As we’ve learned, the manna was meant to point to Jesus as our bread of life.
“Jesus is our food…He is the visible sign of God’s passionate love for his people. When we feed on his life and death for us, our souls are satisfied with his steadfast love one day at a time” Hungry, p. 125.
So eat his words and taste the love. Every. Single. Day.
Until we see him face to face.