February 10, 2011

Too Fast, Too Busy to Notice

Psalm 139

You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Psalm 139:5


When you’re busy and trying to get out fast, you can miss things. Jacob was in a rush, trying to leave quickly with his whole household and all his livestock.

He had good reason to leave; in fact, the Lord had told him to go (Genesis 31:3). Jacob’s fatherin- law, Laban, had swindled him again and again (Genesis 29-30), and now Laban’s sons were stirring up trouble against him (31:1-2). They were jealous because Jacob had become wealthy in spite of Laban’s cheating.

What they didn’t know was that God had blessed Jacob despite all the trouble Laban had been giving him. They were really no match for God and his power.

The same was true, though, for Jacob. Although God was on his side and he knew it, Jacob still chose to deceive Laban “by not telling him he was running away” (30:20). Jacob still resorted to his old deceiving ways. When would he notice that he could depend on God and not his own methods?

Generations later, another sinner put it this way: “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.” Jacob would learn, but it would take a while. Later God even laid his hand on Jacob, and that really slowed him down.

In what ways might we be running? Is our busyness an excuse to avoid facing the truth about ourselves? Are we making so much noise that we can’t hear the quiet voice of God’s Spirit?

Lord, keep us in step with you, and help us listen to your voice. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

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