Monday, August 27, 2012

The Contented Dwelling Place

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” Psalm 90:1

This morning as I was reading, I was mentally taken back to the first few years of my marriage when my husband and I were not believers, but we were searching for a way to make where we lived and what we did meaningful and fulfilling. We would spend our evenings dreaming together as we watched the travel channel and at that time we even considered a move to Australia (Yes, we were searching hard). We would watch home improvement shows thinking that maybe it was just a few fixes to our starter home or maybe even a bigger home some day that would ease our seeking itch. Even as we did travel we considered dropping all we were pursuing – careers, home, a traditional lifestyle – to start up our own business in the remotest parts of the country - possibly a camping resort on the road to Alaska.

Our dreaming soon became all consuming, almost a passion to achieve what we could not see and what we dared to reach out for. People often ask us what made us move from Minnesota to Oregon, and our easy answer is that we both finally had bad days at work and decided to leave Minnesota behind in pursuit of something we felt would be better for us in Oregon. In a way that short answer to a more complicated transition is true, but it does not contain the whole story. We really moved because we were looking for a place that would give peace to our souls. The only problem with moving was that our desired peace was not in the place we moved.  But thankfully in our move, we did find the peace we were looking for.

The peace and contentment our souls had been searching for, not just that for our physical bodies or minds as we had originally thought had driven us to Oregon, was found in a body of believers we were led to in Lake Oswego, OR. These wonderful people who became our family as we settled in a place we had no ties in gently showed us how to have a personal relationship with Christ and how to find everything we had been so desperately searching for.

How often do we see those around us searching? Looking for contentment and a peaceful dwelling place amidst the raging storms of this world...yet never finding what they are looking for. Trying to use worldly ways to still their unsettled spirits...and never finding the resting place that they so desperately seek. As Psalm 90:1 says above, the Lord is the only dwelling place and has been through all generations.

I wanted to share Job 28 with you this morning because this book is thought to be chronologically one of the first recorded stories in the history of man (beyond Adam and Eve). The search for something greater than oneself is as old as man as these verses testify.

But where can wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Man does not know its value,
Nor is it found in the land of the living.
The deep says, ‘It is not in me’;
And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
It cannot be purchased for gold,
Nor can silver be weighed for its price.
It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
In precious onyx or sapphire.
Neither gold nor crystal can equal it,
Nor can it be exchanged for jewelry of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral or quartz,
For the price of wisdom is above rubies.
The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
Nor can it be valued in pure gold.
From where then does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
It is hidden from the eyes of all living,
And concealed from the birds of the air.
Destruction and Death say,
‘We have heard a report about it with our ears.’
God understands its way,
And He knows its place.
For He looks to the ends of the earth,
And sees under the whole heavens,
To establish a weight for the wind,
And apportion the waters by measure.
When He made a law for the rain,
And a path for the thunderbolt,
Then He saw wisdom and declared it;
He prepared it, indeed, He searched it out.
And to man He said,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
And to depart from evil is understanding.’”
Job 28: 12-28

Have you been looking for internal peace? Have you been wanting more in your life than you have been able to achieve from your efforts? Have you felt unsettled in your spirit, but are unsure of what efforts will bring you to a place of contentment? Your search does not need to take you to another country, another state, or even another city. The Lord Himself is where you are right now, and if you seek Him out and fear Him in what He shows you about Himself, then that is where the peace you are searching for will be found.

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content...” Philippians 4:11

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