Fill in the Blanks
“Why am I here?” and “What’s my purpose in life?” are popular questions among most people, especially those who find themselves down and out. Ultimately these are spiritually driven questions, yet the askers never seem satisfied with the spiritual answer: serving God and elevating the world is your purpose.
“Nah, has to be more than that,” is a reply I’ve often heard by those attempting to shirk off any religious duty that would interrupt their daily schedules. As palliatives to empty hearts and flagging souls these searchers fill their lives with materialistic things and external decorations. Yet, happiness evades them.
The epitome of such lives can be found in the entertainment world where the beautiful people seem to have it all, yet their lives are fraught with divorce, depression, drugs and often early demise. These glaring examples in neon lights should teach us that the shallow pursuit of more and plenty will never satisfactorily answer the questions above but will even further exasperate us as our hands are filled with “gold” but are our hearts empty of peace. It is true for people; it is true for nations.
I find the question, “What does God want from us?” the most wasteful question we can ask. He has already told us. He has given us his Good Book filled with directives. It’s there in black and white. Yet we are more inclined to believe the print in the National Enquirer than God’s own word. God and all his rules are such an inconvenience; there must be a quicker fix to happiness than that burdensome book. And so mankind builds its golden calves....How’s that been working out?
I’ve always hated when people preached religion to me even as I was inclined toward it, so I won’t preach here. But I will say, don’t ask those questions if you don’t want the answer. It’s tantamount to the person who asks, “How can I lose weight?” When he is told that it would involve eating less and exercising, he gets frustrated and opts for other ways such as diet pills, mouth braces, and gastro-surgery, etc., as he watches himself get fatter every year. When it comes down to TRUTH, you can’t go shopping for answers that you like.
It is the law of nature that every empty space calls to be filled--crevices get filled with dirt or water, blank walls cry out for art work, a bucket, a chair, a heart and a soul all desire to be filled. But the choice has always been ours with what we fill emptiness.
In this week’s Biblical portion we read about how king Balak sought out Bilaam to curse the Jewish people. He brought Bilaam to three different vantage points to observe them and to assess what their vulnerabilities might be so that his curse could have effectiveness. Bilaam could find none. Because the Jewish nation at the time had filled itself with God’s word, they left no gap or crevice wherein a curse could enter and eat away at them. They were impervious to any harm because they didn’t open the door to Satan with such insipid questions as, “What’s my purpose?” They read God’s memo; they knew. “How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel.” As such those who cursed them would be cursed and would drown in the overflow of their own hate.
Today, as the Jewish nation and Jewish people stand at the precipice of opprobrium and curses, we too must remember that armies alone don’t defeat our enemies. Being a light among the nations involves lighting up the world through observance of God’s commandments. Maybe a small clue as to Israel's purpose, for those who forgot, is found in its appellation, “The Holy Land.” For the past few weeks we have often heard how the international criticism of Israel is irrational—so why would we seek an answer in the rational realm? Something deeper is clearly at play. The Jewish State and Jewish people must fill in the blanks spiritually or they will continually be filled by others--hexers and vexers.
They say that there is no soldier in a foxhole who does not pray to God, why, oh why then, my fellow Jews, do we always have to wait until that doomsday hour to seek Him?
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