Saturday, July 26, 2008


God asks "why?" through the voice of the prophet Isaiah in chapter 55:1-5. "Why" do we buy that which is not bread and work for that which does not satisfy? Why does God ask us a question? Does God not know the answer? Is it a rhetorical or literary device like, "You don't know? Let me tell you why!" Or, is God genuinely perplexed why we, his human family, keep going off track and investing in the dumbest of things? Why do we work lifetimes in careers and jobs that we hate? Why are we so chronically voices dissatisfaction at our conditions?
The voice of God invites us to come to the waters, come buy and eat, buy wine and milk without money and without price. It's a free banquet we are offered, yet we stubbornly insist on making our own dirt cookies that taste terrible and leave us sick and hungry. Why?
The high cost of preaching a text like this is that it never leaves my life. This text is not about this wealthy Santa Barbara community. It's about me, a restless middle-aged preacher who is still learning contentment. The gift and curse of the manna and water God provided for Israel was that it arrived independent of their efforts and control. Like Israel, I really like to control my supplies. I like to hold the remote, drive the car, have the cash in my pocket, select what I want to eat from the menu, read the books I'm interested in, hang out with those I like. I'm not so good at just receiving things freely.
In a conversation with jeff, our daughter's boyfriend, we were talking about economic disparities in this community, filled with the high-high rich and the low-low poor. Jeff was curious about what that looked like. I described for him a family we know in Isla Vista who earn $2,000 per/month combined and pay $1,500 for a 2 bedroom apartment. They all (4 of them) live in one bedroom and rent the other bedroom to another family of 4. When I paused, Jeff asked me if when I was with them I noticed that they were happy or not. "Oh yeah!" I said, "They are incredibly happy. They are strong believers, even cooking a meal for us and refusing our offer to help pay for the meal." "Then" Jeff asked, "What makes them poor?"


At 9:23 PM , Anonymous Rahab said...

Why???? Because our conditions are that of being evil....there is no love in this world , no truth, no genuine posture for the other....none. That's why.

God offers us HIS Living Water of love and His Holy Presence....but from people, or jobs, or surroundings & more....hummmm....I can not go there.....why....too much saddness involved, hate, bitterness-- I'm right dissaster and up-roar-- that's why???? Bewildering to say the least...but, Truthful- I love that word. Rahab


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