The way we scarf our meals. The time we spend swiping and clicking on the web. The article after article of partially chewed information jammed down our throats in humungous gulps. The tug of war in dietary perspectives. The spine-cracking political roller-coaster with its violent whiplash and wooden frame that threatens to collapse at any minute. The religious back and forth of theological leaders trying to pull us off the horse on one side and the other. The constant worry that the kids are behind their peers in school. The events. The news. The job. The meetings. The money. The social media.
Have we ever considered that the pace of our lives may not be the way God originally intended his creatures to live? Our fallen world is filled with frenetic people flitting about and falling over one another in pursuit of unattainable superiority. The Tower of Babel is not made of bricks and mortar these days. It is the pile of human existence: men and women clamoring over one another in desperate pursuit of the heavens.
I and II Kings are books filled with men with restless souls. Wicked kings vying for power, constantly jockeying for lead position. Clawing, biting, and kicking, most of the kings of Israel and Judah clamor one by one up to the top of Babel’s tower only to plummet from the precipice. They are a paranoid lot–people who trust no one, enjoy nothing, and die alone. Their hearts flutter and flap, beaten mercilessly by the winds of uncertainty until the remaining sun-bleached shreds are finally laid to rest in the dirt.
In this Old Testament landscape, there is one particular stand out. Under King Solomon, the people of God experience a brief foretaste of the contented life God designed humanity to experience:
“Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy.” (1 Kings 4:20)
King Solomon was the king of contended peace. The enemies were subdued. Wars ceased. The land was prosperous and fruitful. For the first time in the promised land, the people were able to sit down to a meal together, relax, eat, drink, and be happy.
Soak that image in. Imagine if your heart wasn’t being torn out of your chest by a thousand concerns. What if your mind wasn’t constantly distracted by the buzzing phone in your pocket? What if you had a contented conversation with someone that wasn’t an exercise in verbal goose-stepping? What if for a brief moment you could sit down, eat and drink and simply be happy?
From the top of Babel’s tower, the men of earth look up. In the unattainable heights of Heaven, they catch a glimpse of a humble gathering of people. They are not frantic or restless. They are a people ruled by a peaceful King contently “receiving their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people” (Acts 2:46). They are a people whose greatest enemies have been laid to rest. They are a people who have received their King of Peace. They are a people who quietly gather to eat and to drink and to be happy. Their contentment is protected by their Savior King. Their rest is an eternity of contentment in his mighty and final salvation.
The Church should feel different from the world. Our contentment ought to be something marveled at by outsiders in the throws of angst and struggle. Our rest in King Jesus ought to look like Judah and Israel, sitting down to eat, drink, and be merry in the midst of the nations. Christ’s eternal sacrifice was meant to usher in the eternal life of Immanuel’s land. “God with us” is a place where contentment and peace shall reign.
Refuse to become a building block in humanity’s tower to the skies. Jesus Christ has come down from Heaven upon Jacob’s ladder. He is gathering his people making them ready to eat, drink, and be merry with him forever. His people get to relish the Prince of Peace even now. Our churches ought to be quiet places of deep, restful contentment.
May Christ’s rule bring eternal sabbath rest to our frantic little souls.