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Sunday, March 3, 2013

And the hunt is on!

I love this psalm of David because of the sincerity of heart I see expressed in each stanza.  Here we find thoughts such as God lifts us out of the deep ditches, the sticky places, or what it is like when we come to see the world as a huge stockpile of God-wonders.  Eyes open, heart eager to respond, thoughts turned to God - David stands ready for God's intervention.  Yet, the most truthful words of this psalm are about in the middle - where David calls out to God to deal with his amassed guilt - the very guilt he had accumulated through many wrong choices.  He describes his condition of spirit and soul:  "I was so swamped by guilt I couldn’t see my way clear.  More guilt in my heart than hair on my head, so heavy the guilt that my heart gave out."  (vs. 12)  Not knowing about you all I can do is account for my own realization of having stood exactly where David stood that day - bogged down in the mire of my wrong choices, stuck squarely in the middle of my mess.  In the realization of where I had ended up, my soul was consumed by such guilt, it almost felt like my heart would indeed give out.  The good news is God specializes in "unsticking" our stuck feet - we are not "stuck" to our sin, nor its guilt and shame - we are free in him!

But all who are hunting for you—oh, let them sing and be happy.  Let those who know what you’re all about tell the world you’re great and not quitting.  And me? I’m a mess. I’m nothing and have nothing: make something of me.  You can do it; you’ve got what it takes—but God, don’t put it off.  (Psalm 40:16-17 MSG)

I like the analogy of "hunting for" God.  My brother is an accomplished hunter, while I am more of a hunter of a good bargain at the grocery store!  My brother has all kinds of skill as a hunter - able to secure much in the way of resources for his household through his skill.  So, I wanted to turn today to some lessons from what I have heard my brother describe as some of the tactics and skills of a hunter.

* He knows what he wants to find.  If he has no interest in hunting for a particular species of animal or fowl this season, he doesn't "put in" for the tags to go on the hunt.  In other words, he has a design in his hunting - an object of his desire.  God always honors the man or woman who makes him the object of their desire!  Knowing what or who it is we want in this "hunt" is the first step in being on the right track to find what it is we are "hunting".

* He knows finding requires some preparation.  He secures the right ammunition, the correct size of weapon, etc.  Most important to his preparation is in listening to other hunters.  He finds out much from his interactions with them such as where the object of his desire has been found and what seems to be the type of "intake" they are feasting on.  This gives him a heads up to where he will begin to look - so he is not wasting his time looking where they will not be found.  Knowing what they are "feasting" upon gives him a pretty good idea of where to find them - since he has explored much of the forest and desert lands in our state, he knows well where to find these "feasting" areas.  I don't think things are much different in our pursuit of God - he "feasts" on certain things like the honesty of a heart, the reach of an empty hand, or the tears of a grieving soul.  He can always be found in the midst of our need.  His location is not as unpredictable as some may think - for he is consistently in exactly the same location!

* He scouts for the object of his desire.  What amazes me most is the work my brother has to go to weeks ahead of the hunt - not to obtain the object of the hunt during those early trips, but to become familiar with it.  He goes out, scouting for the object of his focus.  Scouting is nothing more than observing. In these moments, my brother is getting familiar with the paths the object of his hunt travels.  He looks for signs of their places of rest, their paths of travel, and their points of feeding.  Why?  He knows in taking time to get to know these traits, he will become familiar with the object of his hunting.  Here we find the secret of a heart after God - in taking the time to become familiar with the object of our attention he becomes the object of our affection.

* He is rewarded for his work.  No hunter likes to return home empty-handed. If you have prepared well, becoming so familiar with the places the object of your hunt frequents, you should never return with nothing.  God is the God of plenty - not the God of emptiness.  The "work" of seeking the object of his hunt "pays off" in the bounty he is rewarded with.  I don't know what you may think, but I believe the purpose of the hunt was not the "sport" of the hunt, but the "bounty" of the hunt.  It is in the "bounty" that he receives the needs of his home are met.  It is in the "bounty" of God's provision of love, hope, healing, forgiveness, and grace that our hearts are filled to overflowing.

I may not hunt for the furry or feathered creatures of this earth, but my heart is steadfast in its pursuit of the one who gives me "bounty" beyond my ability to fully contain it.  I hope you are along with me on this "hunt".  Just sayin!