Monday, November 30, 2009

Want vs. Need

Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

The word Immanuel literally means "God with us." I asked the question in church yesterday, "Do we still need God with us?"

I think Barak Obama is correct. In June 2007 as a candidate for president he said, "Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation — at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."

We have been able to see President Barak Obama's progression of thinking and perhaps observation when earlier this year he spoke these words to a world audience in Turkey, ""(We Americans) do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Muslim nation, but rather, a nation of citizens who are, uh, bound by a set of values."

As I said, I think President Obama is correct about our country. We have decided that we don't need God.

But even though we may think we don't need God, in reality we may need God now more than ever. Our nation is embroiled in two wars plus an overall war on terrorism. The latter of which is growing ever larger within our own borders. Our national economy is in the toilet (in spite of the "jobless" recovery we hear about) and the dollar's power globally is dismal. I spent $12 for a quarter-pounder with cheese in Amsterdam earlier this year! (OK, maybe that says something not so great about me spending that much for a taste of McDonald's!) We continue to offer our children up as sacrifices on the fiery altar of abortion – more black people are killed every four days by abortion than the KKK killed in 150 years!

Yes, we need God now more than ever. But our national problem is that we don't want God. Want and need are two very different things. I didn't want to eat vegetables when I was growing up but I needed to eat them. I didn't want to go to church at times as a kid, but I needed to be there. I wanted to do all kinds of things that weren't good for me but I needed to do the "right" thing. Sometimes I got it right and other times I missed the mark. I am thankful that I had parents that led me down the path of need and not want. I am glad I had parents that were parents and not "friends" or "buddies."

One of the reasons I love Christmas is because no matter how hard we may try to avoid Jesus, he just cannot be denied during this season of love and life. No matter how hard we may try to remove nativities from public buildings I can promise that you WILL see a nativity in the next three weeks; you will see the baby Jesus. You will be confronted with your need. And try as people might to avoid Jesus and run from their greatest need in favor of their personal wants, Jesus will be there.

Jesus is UNAVOIDABLE. Especially at Christmas.

Immanuel is not just about "God with us" but God IN us. And that is the greatest gift that will meet all of humanities needs.



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