Summary: Are you ready to stop chasing after God and let Him become your number one priority?
CHASING AFTER GOD
Psalm 42:1-5, 11
A young teenage boy had just gotten his driver's license. When he got home, he asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss the use of the car. His father took him into his study and said to the boy, "I'll make a deal with you. If you bring up your grades, study your Bible a little, and get a haircut, then we'll talk about the use of the car."
After about a month, the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss the use of the car. They again went to the father's study where his father said, "Son, I've been so very proud of you. You have brought up your grades, you've studied your Bible diligently, but you didn't get your haircut." The young man waited a moment and replied, "Dad, I've been thinking about that. You know, Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, even Jesus had long hair..." His father interrupted him at that point and said, "Yes son, and they walked everywhere they went!"
He was so close, but so far, from getting what he wanted. The boy was willing to pay most of the price, but not all of the price. The boy knew what he wanted. His desire was strong. But, there was a problem: he wasn't willing to go all the way. He wasn't willing to pay the entire price.
Listen to me carefully. Most of us know what we want in life. Most of us have goals, objectives, and dreams. Most of us want a good job. Even though the salary is important and pays the bills, it is just as important for us to be happy in the job we have. Most of us would say that what we want in life is for our kids to grow up to be healthy, happy, and well- adjusted. Most of us want our marriage to work. And yes, most of us even know what we want in our relationship with God and the church. In most of those situations, we will do just about whatever it takes to make them work, won't we?
Unfortunately though, when it comes to our relationship with God and to His church, we sometimes allow other things to hinder that relationship. We are willing to go only so far with God. We are willing to go only so far with the church. When we get to that point, and I might add that that point is different for each person, when we reach that point, we stop. At that point, we find ourselves backing up, pulling away, or being unwilling to get any closer to God or to our church family. We want to get close, we just don't do it.
I want you to understand something this morning. God has a desire for you. God's desire is to have a close, personal relationship with you. God wants to be the driving force in your life. God wants to be the Lord of your life. Listen to me carefully. God wants to be more than just involved in your Sunday life. God wants to be involved in your every day life. That's God's desire for each of us.
However, here's the question for us. Are we going to let God be in control of our life? Let me ask that question in a little different way: when you think about control in your life, what controlled your life last week? Was it your schedule that controlled you? Was it your job that controlled you? What about your family? What about your free time? What controlled you? What was the driving force behind what you did last week?
When we look at Psalm 42, we quickly see an individual who had one driving force in his life—he had one focus—he had one desire—worshiping God. Everything in his life seemed to revolve around his desire to worship God. For that writer, the greatest priority in his life was worshiping God. Period. That's it.
That's an amazing priority, isn't it? It is really amazing when we read further in Psalm 42. As we continue to read, it becomes painfully obvious that the writer was not in a good situation. The writer was lonely. He was separated from everyone else. He felt abandoned. His entire life seemed to be crashing in around him. However, the writer was determined not to let those things drag him down. His focus was certain—his hope was secure—no matter what came his way—he was determined to worship God.
But, notice what the writer tells us. He was so far away from the Temple or from any house of worship, that he just did not see how he could worship God. Because he could not worship God and without genuine worship in his life, he was afraid, he was alone, he did not see how he could keep going. He wanted to worship, he just didn't know how he could worship.