Eternity’s Shout: Is the Switch On Mute?
Lessons from Solomon and Four Questions!
“Eternity: it’s a powerful word that penetrates deep into the soul of every human being,” advises Harvest Bible Chapel Pastor, James MacDonald, in his book Vertical Church. “It’s a deep and abiding sense of something outside the boundaries of the senses,” adds the Chicago Pastor, “and every time we make a choice that detours our search for fulfillment, Eternity shouts within us, ‘You’re getting colder.’”
If Eternity can ‘shout,’ it’s important to know how it got ‘within us’ and where it got its voice. King Solomon, David’s successor on the throne of Israel, knew answers to those questions. “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time,” declares Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has also set eternity in the human heart.”
Solomon is credited in the Bible with extraordinary discernment and wisdom. But his recognition that an ‘Eternal seed’ was planted in the hearts of men and women by an Eternal Planter didn’t come from his inward brilliance. It came from the ancient Hebrew Scriptures, Genesis 2:7 to be exact. We have every right to believe Solomon read Genesis in his time. It told him (and us) this, “… the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.”
That God-breath is ‘ruach’ the Hebrew term for ‘spirit.’ Centuries later, the prophet Ezekiel called on the same God-breath to prompt the dry bones in the valley to “come to life.” Ruach is the source of the Eternal ‘shout’ within us and what gives it ‘voice.’ It’s also what uniquely distinguishes humankind from every other life-form on the planet. We are not a higher form of chipmunk; the ‘breath of life’ has invaded men and women and makes us Eternal.
In my book, Metamorphyx: Embracing Life Change for Life Purpose, I’m developing the theme of Eternity’s ‘call’ on our life. Ruach was in Solomon’s heart too. He knew it, but desperately tried to mute its shout. Solomon had 700 hundred wives (and another 300 snooze partners), he was the biblical originator of ‘eat, drink, and be merry,’ had more parties than he could sleep off, and was denied nothing from life’s epicurean menu. Yet his self-modeled, self-scripted formula for life failed to satisfy his cravings. This frustrated the stew out of Solomon so he vented his anger at the Seed Planter. “So I hated life because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:17)
Solomon’s desire was to squelch the call of Eternity in his heart … and that same battle rages in our culture today. Nike’s “Just Do It” swoosh, for example, is much more than a trendy advertising theme. It’s a cultural mantra for a self-scripted, Eternity-squelching life style. Another popular TV ad beats the same drum, “Life is Best Played in Your Own Script.” C’mon, really?
But it gets worse. Gene R. (a real person!) is another drummer in the self-scripting community. In a recent blog about the Eternal God, he says, “If this is your God, he’s not very impressive. He’s got so many psychological problems; he’s so insecure. He demands worship every seven days. He goes out and creates faulty humans and then blames them for his own mistakes. He’s a pretty poor excuse for a supreme being.” A warning … if you’re walking with this fella in a lightning storm, stay back a few paces!
Self-actualization is the more trendy term for following one’s own life script; it’s a dominant cultural motif today and mocks the transcendent God whose voice it prefers to mute. Os Guinness (a man with a great legacy of beer, books and spiritual insight) adds this, “In short, the modern world quite literally manages without God.” Os’ counter-punch delivers, opposing but refreshing redemptive clarity, “but in God’s descent to us, we start out searching … and we end up being discovered. We think we are searching for something; we realize we are found by Someone.”
That’s the same supernatural jolt that blasted C.S. Lewis out of complacent atheism. In classic C.S. Lewis irony he tells us, “They might as well have talked about the mouse’s search for the cat.”
Where are you in this battle? What drum are you marching to? Can you hear Eternity’s shout? Will you permit the Someone of Eternity to guide your discovery of life purpose?
Stay tuned. Shalom,