Monday, 14 June 2021

G Guest Editorials

Guest Editorial: Wanting What He Doesn’t Need

By Jill Eileen Smith

Have you ever wanted something you did not need? On a purely basic level, I do that every day! I don’t need chocolate, but I want to savor even one small piece. I certainly did not need those McDonald’s French fries in between car shopping and getting groceries, but I really, really wanted them!

On a selfish level, I don’t need all of the clothes in my closest, or the shoes that make my feet hurt, but I haven’t taken the time to sort through them and give some away.

On an emotional level, I don’t need to satisfy my every desire to be happy. I don’t need to live with a majestic mountainous and ocean-filled view. I might want that, but I absolutely don’t need it.

Advertising agencies have convinced us that we will never be happy if we don’t have this car, that dress, those sunglasses, this vacation, that food, this cell phone, and on and on…until we think we need the whole world at our fingertips or we cannot possibly be happy. Yet the truth is, we don’t need any of those things. They are simply a desire.

Even above these things, most of us crave people. The extroverts among us feel this need more than the introverts do, but we all need people. We were made to live in community. And we were made to communicate and be in a good relationship with God.

But would it surprise you to know that God doesn’t actually need us?

Most gods of ancient times were seen as needy, possessing all of the human traits we possess, both good and evil. They were seen as objects or creatures to be appeased with food, temples, sacrifices, sexual orgies, and more. And people did all manner of atrocious things to please those gods because they thought they were fulfilling a need both for themselves (to get what they wanted) and their god (to make him or her happy).

This topic of foreign gods and their worship comes up in The Prophetess, Deborah’s Story, because over and over again during that era, Israel had strayed from the worship of Yahweh, the true God, to the worship of the many gods of the nations that lived near them.

Deborah is quoted in Judges 5 as saying, “When new gods were chosen, war was in the gates.” The people were attracted to these other gods, perhaps because they allowed them to fulfill their sensuous desires. Or perhaps they thought these other gods would give them what they wanted. But what they needed was to obey the One True God, whether they realized it or not.

Today many people think of God as a fable, a made-up concept to make people feel good about themselves or about the future.

Christians, even those who have a living relationship with Jesus, tend to think God made us to make Him happy. I’ve heard it said that God was lonely, so He made us to keep Him company.

Did you know that is completely untrue?

Acts 17:24-25 says, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” 

And Psalm 50:10-12 tells us, “For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.”

God created everything therefore He also owns everything. He cannot be contained in a temple or house made with human hands. He is infinite. We are finite. He is outside of time. We are bound by time. He is bigger than we can begin to imagine.

Isaiah 40 has some great verses in it (worth reading the whole thing), but verse 12 says, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?”

Have you ever tried to hold water in the palm of your hand? If I tried to scoop the water out of our bathtub with just my hands, it would take me hours and hours. Imagine being able to hold the Pacific or the Atlantic in your palm? I wonder if that’s how God dried up the Jordan or the Red Sea. Just put a hand out and held the waves in place.

Since God is that big and has no needs because He owns everything, He made everything, why bother to make us? Why are we here if it wasn’t to keep Him from being lonely? He already had the company of Himself in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

So then, why make us if He didn’t need us?

Because He wanted to show us His love.

John 3:16 reminds us, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have eternal life.”

To quote Bruce Ware, Professor of Christian Theology at Southern Seminary in Kentucky…

“…His purpose in creating and redeeming us is not that we might fill up some lack in Him, but that He might fill us up with Himself. He made us empty to be filled with his fullness, thirsty to drink of the water of life, weak to receive His strength, foolish to be instructed and correct by His wisdom. In his love, He longs to give, to share the bounty. He wants us to experience in finite measure the fullness of joy and blessing that He knows infinitely–all to redound to the praise and glory of His name, the Giver and Provider of all the good we enjoy.”

God does not need us.

But He wants us.

And He wants us for far better reasons than I have ever wanted McDonald’s French fries or a caramel latte. He wants to love us infinitely, far better than we have ever known love.

All we have ever needed or even wanted without realizing it is Jesus.

People everywhere desperately need Jesus.

And God may not need us to complete some lack in Him, but He desperately wants us to be His.

Is there any love more perfect than that?

About the Author

Jill Eileen Smith is the author of the Wives of the Patriarchs series and the bestselling Wives of King David series. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

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