5 Day Devotion – Unsatisfied
Written February 4, 2013
Unsatisfied: A 5 Day Journey To Help Us To Never Be Stagnant In Our Christian Life
Moses – Unsatisfied with a Small Glimpse
Text – Exodus 3:1-6
“So Moses thought: I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up?”
Exodus 3:3 (Holman Christian Standard Version)
In Exodus chapter 3 we find Moses in the land of Midian. He has fled there in fear of his life and has made a new life for himself in Midian marrying Jethro’s daughter Zipporah. Moses now has a son named Gershom and is doing fairly well for himself. He is tending the flock of his father in law, living a quiet and peaceful life in the land of Midian, until one day he saw something that was quite unusual. Scripture says that the Angel of the Lord appeared in a flame of fire within a bush. Scholars disagree as to whether this is an actual angel, God’s divine presence, or a Christophany (a manifestation of Christ in the Old Testament or after the time of His ascension). Regardless of where you might fall in the debate a couple of things are for certain. We know this, God was revealing Himself to Moses. We also know that He was showing him something amazing and that God was getting Moses’ attention. We also know that He was inviting Moses to be part of an amazing adventure that was otherwise known as God’s plan for his life. What pushed Moses forward to be part of all that God had for him was the fact that Moses was not satisfied with just a small glimpse of this amazing burning bush, he wanted to see more.
Because he was unsatisfied with the small glimpse that he had Moses pushed forward and walked toward the bush to get a better look. It was there that God spoke to him and revealed His plan of deliverance for His people. It was the unsatisfied appetite that drove Moses forward and moved him closer because he wanted more.
Now you and I would agree that Moses would have been foolish to turn aside from what he saw that day. We would probably say that Moses would have been crazy to say “How neat a burning bush that doesn’t burn up, oh well let me get back to tending this flock of sheep.” We would call out to Moses and scream, “Do you know the wonders that you are passing up by just being satisfied with a glimpse of God? If you would just press forward a little more you will see the Red Sea part, the Nile turn to blood, and pharaoh broken by the mighty hand of God.” We would plead with Moses “Moses you are giving up the chance to be used by God to deliver His people from slavery, to escort them through the wilderness, to receive the Law of God, to see miracles that will be spoken of throughout generations, and even have God Himself walk by you and speak to you as a man speaks to a friend.” We would tell Moses that he was giving up an amazing life of purpose, accomplishments, service, ministry, and become one of the most used men of God ever in history to be a shepherd living a comfortable life, quietly in Midian, not used by God, not fulfilling his God given call in life.
We would try passionately to persuade Moses to go towards the burning bush if we saw him turning away to leave because we know all of what God wanted to use him for and what could be accomplished through his life. However, as we look at Moses’ life and contemplate the choice he made we must ask ourselves how many times have we turned away from the burning bushes in our lives.
Now I know none of us has seen a flaming shrub that is not consumed by the fire within it but everyone of us has had God reveal Himself to us and invite us into a deeper relationship with Himself. Be it in our Bible study at home, in a prayer time, a time of singing, through a sermon, in a time of ministry, or just through the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. God has called each of us to a deeper, more personal relationship, but how many times have said, “God I satisfied with where I am, I’ll pass on knowing you more.”
How many times have we let books remained closed and collect dust on our shelves that could enlighten our minds to the wonders of God? How many times have we sung the great hymns of faith with such silence in our voices that not even our souls can hear the words that have stirred so many souls before it? How often have we fed our unsatisfied longings for God with the fears of our hearts, the worry of where God will take us, the guilt of past inaction, or the simple lie that we can’t? All the while the burning bushes that God has lit are beckoning us to not be satisfied with just a glimpse.
Let us not be satisfied with just the glimpses of God that are revealed to us. Let us boldly, excitedly, and with anticipation say “I must go over and look at this remarkable sight.”
Remember God did not need Moses to complete His will. God was fully capable of freeing His people, giving them His law, and delivering them into the promised land without Moses. God chose Moses and in turn Moses chose God and through that willing heart Moses was able to experience the wonders of God’s power and have his life transformed in amazing ways.
The same is true of us. God does not need us to complete His will. God is fully capable of completing whatever task is before Him in our absence, our presence, or even in our resistance. The glorious truth is this, that God invites us, and wants us to be part of His magnificent work. God lights burning bushes all along our pathway signaling us that now is the time for us to cast aside our complacency and satisfaction with the little glimpses of His glory and pursue with all our might the riches of the knowledge of God. Let us thirst and hunger for that knowledge and experience of the Almighty. For when we do and when we take those steps to further our knowledge of God and follow after His will what a joy and amazing journey we shall be upon as God uses us as instruments of His glory!
Almighty God, help me to not be satisfied with glimpses of Yourself that you reveal to me each day. Help me to thirst and hunger for a greater experience of You. Give me the courage to go boldly forward in pursing You. Help me to know and do Your will. Please grant to me great excitement for what You shall soon reveal to me.
Isaiah – Unsatisfied with Standing on the Sidelines
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
Isaiah 6:8 (English Standard Version)
Have you ever seen something truly amazing? Something that truly took your breath away. The Taj Mahal? The Grand Canyon? The Northern Lights? The Sistine Chapel? Isaiah was privileged to see a vision so incredible that it would have made all the wonders of the world as exciting as a piece of gravel from your driveway. God granted him a vision of Himself, seated on His throne with His angels flying around him crying out Holy, Holy, Holy! What a vision this must have been!
What is interesting is what happens afterward. After Isaiah sees everything that is around him, after the angel ceremonially takes the coal and places it on Isaiah’s lips, God asks a question. He asks “Whom shall I send?” Before we jump to Isaiah response let us think for a moment about the implications of that question. God was asking who would go and speak for Him, and be His emissary and prophet to deliver His message to His people. This is the obvious and intended meaning behind the question that is asked but there is also something else that is implied and asked within the asked question. That is “Who will leave My glorious presence and all the wonders that are here to go into the unclean and sinful world to deliver My message?
With Isaiah’s answer of “Here I am! Send Me.” we can see two admirable characteristics. First is Isaiah’s passion to serve God and the second is Isaiah’s unwillingness to simply stand on the sidelines of life even if it meant giving up his place of observation in the throne room of heaven.
How many times have we fought to stay asleep when we were having a most wonderful dream only to groan when our mind awakens and we find ourselves back in reality. How many times have we dreaded the last day of vacation and did all we could to squeeze out every bit of comfort, happiness, and joy from every second hoping to postpone that inevitable first Monday morning back. We fight diligently that those little comforts might not leave us. How much more would we fight for another hour, another minute, or even another second gazing upon God upon His throne.
Isaiah exemplifies a great principle for us to learn and incorporate in our lives. The principle is this, that whenever we draw close to God it should always be followed by worshipful service. Seeing God should bring a void within us crying out “Here I am! Send me. Let me serve You Lord! Let me show how much of an impact Your presence has made in my life by worshiping You through the act of serving.”
Let our vision, knowledge, and understanding of God launch us into this world to fulfill His call on our life. That we draw near to hear our marching orders, to gain comfort and care, so that we might be sent out into this world to fulfill the Father’s will.
Let us not be as ones who would use God as a teddy bear or college basketball game. Going to Him for comfort, warm fuzzies, a chance to shout and sing praises, or an emotional release, all to be followed by no significant change when it comes to their outward actions or personal holiness.
Isaiah saw the Lord and was changed. He saw Him high and lifted up and wasn’t satisfied to simply sit and watch the glorious things before him, he wanted to serve. How about you?
Holy Father, truly to behold You is an overwhelming experience, but it is one that calls us to action. Forgive me for times that I would use your presence as a place to see Your glory, to feel Your presence, and receive a blessing to my heart yet plug my ears to hear what you would have me do in this world. Help me to enter your presence with all my senses, to see You, feel You, and to hear You that I might leave Your presence with purpose. Here I am Lord, speak to me for I am listening.
Daniel – Unsatisfied with the Socially Acceptable Holiness
But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.
Daniel 1:8 (English Standard Version)
In the world in which we live there are many people and institutions we work at pleasing and presenting ourselves as acceptable. We work diligently every year at filing an acceptable tax return that the IRS will not reject and trigger an audit. If you are a student or employed you dress in such a manner that is acceptable to your peers, school, or your business. If you have a driver’s license, you drive (hopefully) in a acceptable manner as to not wreck or get pulled over by the police. A lot of our life is spent in working at being acceptable.
Many in our world are content with the bare minimum of what is acceptable as is reflected in their work ethic, clothing, friends, grades, speech, and overall way of living. They do just enough to not get arrested, keep their job, not lose friends, or pass a grade.
Others are the opposite, rather than just doing what is acceptable they over achieve and do everything they can to go above and beyond what is expected of them. They show up to work early every morning and work late very day. They dress in the latest, most expensive fashions, they do every extra credit project to make sure their final grade is 104 instead of just a 100.
Whichever category you fit best I think we can all learn much from Daniel. In Daniel chapter 1 Daniel and his fellow countrymen were placed in a situation where not doing what was acceptable could cost endanger their lives, the lives of others, and their future.
Daniel and all the youths that were taken were being educated and trained to work for the Babylonian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar had appointed them food from his own table, the idea being that these men would grow up healthy and strong and be fit for service. The problem was that all Jews were still under the dietary restriction found in the Law handed out by Moses in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible). They could not eat pork or other unclean animals or eat animals sacrificed to pagan gods. This presented a huge problem for Daniel.
On the one hand Daniel and his friends could do what was socially acceptable and safe to do in this situation. They could eat what the king gave them and no one would say anything because they were in Babylon and everyone else was doing it. This is in fact what many of them did as only Daniel and his three friends decided to take a different path.
Daniel exhibited a heart that was not satisfied with the socially acceptable form of holiness. In his heart it did not matter if all his fellow countrymen were partaking of food that was forbidden by God’s law. What mattered to Daniel was whether his life was holy in the eyes of God.
For Daniel it did not matter whether all his friends would tell him that it was okay to eat the food. It wasn’t good enough to rationalize in his mind that he had no choice or it was okay because of the culture he was in. Daniel would only be satisfied when the holiness that God had called him to was satisfied.
How about you? What holiness are you satisfied with? In the world that we live in there are many socially acceptable forms of holiness available. There is a type of holiness worn by Christians every Sunday morning and Wednesday night. It is donned as soon as the church parking lot is entered and makes people tremendous saints for God during the service. However as soon as church is over and the church parking lot is empty that holiness also departs.
Let us not be satisfied with a holiness that is a culturally and socially accepted norm that makes us no more than religious hypocrites. Let us embrace an attitude that we are unsatisfied with any standard of holiness unless it is one that brings glory and honor to God.
Daniel pursued a holiness that he was only satisfied with when it was present in every part of his life. Daniel pursued this holiness here at the dinner table in Daniel chapter 1 as well as during his prayer time in Daniel 6, and when he also gave the interpretation of the handwriting on the wall in Daniel 5. He was unsatisfied with a holiness that only touched part of his life, it had to cover ever aspect of his existence.
The question that this passage asks us is what kind of holiness brings satisfaction to our souls? Are we content with a holiness that our friends and coworkers will give a big thumbs up to but that God will call hypocrisy, or do we seek a holiness the permeates every aspect of our life? Daniel was not seeking the approval of his peers, those in authority over him, or even the king of Babylon, he sought the approval of the King of Heaven and that is what would satisfy him.
3 questions to contemplate
→ What would change in my life if I sought the approval of Jesus for my actions and attitude before the approval of any one else?
→ Does holiness permeate my life, or do I just use it as a paint to make certain parts of my life pretty to others and ugly to God?
→ What do my answers compel me to do?
Dear God, I am thankful that you grant forgiveness whenever it is asked. Please forgive me for pursing the approval of others at the cost of holy living. Help me to allow you to control every aspect of my life and please let me be unsatisfied until you reign over every part of who I am.
David – Unsatisfied apart from God
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
Throughout David’s life, he called many places home. He grew up in his father’s home in Bethlehem, probably in a typical home for someone of his father Jesse’s income and holdings. He lived for sometime running for his life from king Saul and spent many nights sleeping in caves, fields, and other areas of the wilderness. He spent some of his time dwelling on the battlefield as he led his armies into battle. A very large portion of his life was also spent living in the palace in Jerusalem where there was comfort and luxury.
Now Psalm 27 was most likely written in the earlier years of David’s life. More than likely he had not spent a great deal of time in the palace or on the battlefield. In fact there is a pretty good chance David had no idea of all the places he would dwell as he wrote these words.
It is interesting to notice what he does write and where he does long to be. He writes that there is one singular desire of his heart and that is to dwell and be in the presence of the Lord. David was unsatisfied being apart from God. David could have cried out for the luxury of the palace, the simplicity of life back on his father’s estate, or a peaceful place where all his enemies were defeated. Instead he desired to be in the presence of his Lord.
David knew something that is often forgotten. David knew that in the presence of God there is peace, comfort, joy, and tranquility like no other place we could ever be. He knew that in the presence of God his enemies would fall and be destroyed, his worries would vanish, and God would meet any need of his life.
More than a place of abundance or security David knew he needed the presence of God. The same lesson that David learned so long ago is one we need in our present life. How often is the seduction of comfort and ease pushed upon us for all our worries and fears? How often have we been driving down the highway and looked at the billboards announcing how much the jackpot for winning the lottery is and heard the lie that money will solve all our problems?
There are many places we can long for in this life. We can long for places of financial security, or health and well being. We can daydream about a place where our problems are solved and are worries are but a thing of the past. We can dream and long for places of luxury and opulence, however it is only in the presence of God can we ever truly find peace, comfort, victory, and a future.
Too often the dissatisfaction of our life channels our hope to places where satisfaction can never be achieved. In times of anxiety, stress, and opposition we long for an escape like a tropical island or mountain cottage. Both of which can bring relaxation and solace but they are not strongholds in which trouble can never enter. Let the burdens of this life drive us to long for the presence of God.
Lord, I acknowledge that in your presence is peace, comfort, and true joy. Help me to long for this in my life whatever trial or tribulation might come my way. Allow me the wisdom to see the false hope that this world offers and the true hope that is found solely in You. Amen
Paul – Unsatisfied with the past looking forward to Jesus
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Philippians 3:13-14 (New Living Translation)
Of all of the Apostles, Paul is the one we know more about than anyone else. He was used by God to write more of the New Testament than any other person. His comings and goings are chronicled in the book of Acts and through his epistles. Because of these writings we know all the amazing things God was able to do through his life. Miracles, numerous conversions, and the planting of many churches are just a few of the things that God used Paul to accomplish.
Now with a career like that you might think that Paul would be satisfied to live the rest of his days in quiet solitude and enjoy a contented life off somewhere. However Paul wasn’t satisfied with all that had been accomplished through his life or even where he was at in his spiritual life. In fact he writes to the church at Philippi that we wants to forget the things of the past and press on to the end of his life to receive his prize in Christ Jesus.
What Paul was talking about was the entirety of his Christian life. His ministry, his spiritual life, his prayer life, his scripture reading, his preaching, everything he did. He was saying that he was not content with the successes that he had achieved. Nor was he concerned about his age or how far he had come. This was because he knew there was more to learn, more to do, and more ways to grow in Christ. Paul had a heart that would only be satisfied when his race would be finished and passed from this life into the next and into the arms of his Savior.
What a picture of perseverance, passion, and commitment to Jesus. To have a soul that longed to satisfied with Christ, that hungered and thirsted for the Savior. All these things begs the question, do we have such passion and desire in our own hearts?
For me I can most readily link that type of passion to video games. I grew up in the years when Nintendo and Sega were still dueling for top position in the video game console market and there were a slew of new games constantly being released to stores. I would get a new game, either by renting, or borrowing, or the rare occasion of buying one and work my fingers till they were sore trying to beat that next level. I had an all consuming passion to learn, become more skillful, and to win.
For you it might be something totally different. When passion is mentioned it may be that your mind goes to shopping and how you will not rest until you find the best deal on a new pair of shoes or blouse. It could be that the game of golf or fishing comes to mind when passion is mentioned and of countless hours and dollars spent perfecting a cast or swing.
We all understand what passion is and we all have passion for certain things in our life, but do we have it for the things of Christ? Paul was not satisfied with what he had already done or had come to know, he passionately pursued more. Is that you when it comes to the knowledge and service of Christ or have you allowed your passion to fizzle out?
Young person let me encourage you there is a wealth of knowledge and service you can learn and render to the King of kings. The amazing thing about this service and knowledge is that it is an unending source of wonder and joy. There is always more to do, more to learn, and new gems of joy that will bless your life in ways you never imagined. Charles Haddon Spurgeon had no idea the life he would have after surrendering to the call of Christ. Yet what amazing things God was able to show him and use him for as he followed Christ. Spurgeon, during his life, preached to over 10,000,000 people well before the use of radio and decades before commercial flight was available. All because as a teenager he gave his life to Christ and pursued Him and His will for the rest of his days.
Seniors and adults do not let your passions pass by the wayside. God can use us at any age to do great things. Think of your experiences and how that has prepared you for so many ministries. Think of your knowledge of Christ and how that can be passed on to other you do not know. Think of Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Paul and how God used the later half of their life far more than the first. Think of the Apostle John and how, towards the end of his life, Jesus came and revealed all of the events of the book of Revelation.
I know many that have done great things for God in their high school years only to fall away from Christ and His calling when they enter college. I know others that have served Christ faithfully for many years that now have the attitude that they have aged out of effective ministry. Presently they are content to simply sit back and retire from serving Christ and the church.
This should sadden our hearts. God desires that we passionately pursue Him throughout all the seasons of our life. For in each one of the seasons of our life He has a plan and purpose and something wonderful for us to be part of.
Let us not sit on the laurels of our past spiritual victories and milestones. Let them be checkpoints of encouragement through this life that tell us there is a finish line ahead and One Who is waiting for us with open arms.
Lord Jesus help me to passionately pursue You, Your will, and Your glory through all the seasons of my life. I know you have a purpose and plan for me at wherever I am and whatever age I might be. Reprove me when I become satisfied with the things of the past and look for a place to sit on the sidelines of the Christian life. Please, remind me also that there are greater things to come. Amen