My dog, Sasha, is a Labrador, and if you know anything about the characteristics of different breeds of dogs, you will know that Labradors have an obsession with food. If Sasha sees or smells food, she seems to go completely deaf to my commands and forgets all her training. If she knows that someone has “treats” in their pocket, she will make a beeline for them to beg for a titbit. This can be quite embarrassing, as she will go up to complete strangers looking expectantly for a reward. She will also go straight to people she does know, if they have given her treats on other occasions and she expects they will again!
Although I used to give treats to encourage her when I was training her as a puppy, I now use them sparingly, because I want her to come to me out of obedience and affection, not just because of what she might receive. I was thinking about this recently and wondering if God sometimes feels the same. Do we come to Him only when we want something from Him? When we pray, do we start with adoration, praise, and worship, or do we begin with our needs?
God is our Father, and He promises to provide for His children. God also promises to heal us, but I wonder if we sometimes seek our healing more than our relationship with Him – seeking His hand, and what we can get from Him, more than His face. As a parent, I loved to provide for our sons and to make sure they had everything they needed, but I would have been disappointed if they had only been in touch with us when they needed money or something else from us.
In today’s verse in Psalm 27, the psalmist says that the one thing he seeks is to dwell in the Lord’s house all his days, gazing on His beauty. He doesn’t speak here about what he can receive from God – it is sufficient for him just to be in His presence. Is it the same for us? Do we desire relationship with God more than what He can give us?
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