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The Quest for Permanence (Proverbs 23)

Deep within the soul of every human being there is a quest for permanence, an earnest longing for things that will last. We save and plan in order to secure retirement funds when we are old. We experience hurt when promises are broken, when trust is broken, and when loved ones die, or worse, abandon us. This ache for the imperishable is never truly satisfied except through Jesus Christ and His gift of eternal life.

Yet, this drive is so strong that, even if we reject Jesus or have never heard the gospel message, we formulate, sometimes from our own fallible imaginations, a host of different views regarding existence after death. Even those who believe nothing is permanent have taken comfort in depending on that as a permanent truth. Clearly, the quest for permanence remains deeply rooted, though we may try to escape or deny it.

Regardless of our final conclusion, every person, even the atheist, asks, “What happens to me after I die?” In fact, to identify as “atheist” one has already thoroughly considered this question and arrived at a conclusion. But why can’t we just stop thinking about it? Why do we deem the subject so important that we give ourselves titles to encapsulate our views on it? If we cannot stop or escape something even when we try, a force more powerful than ourselves must be involved. The Bible says that God has “put eternity into man’s heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). God planted the thought. Why? I believe He did it “in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).

We may want to engage in debate with an atheist and swing with the verse, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 53:1). While the verse is true, our desire to win hearts to Jesus may be more fruitful if we take care to earnestly apply the wisdom of God to our own lives and conduct. The Lord has the power to turn the ”fool” into a wise man, but if, as Christians, we claim to be wise-men and yet are living like fools according to the Word we preach, we are doubly foolish!

God has given us very great and precious promises regarding eternity. Eternal life in the love and presence of God is too glorious for the earthly mind to conceive! In light of this, we are warned not to pursue earthly riches but to “cease from [our] consideration of it” (Proverbs 23:4). I recently heard of a man who lost 35 million dollars in one day, and through that one devastating loss, the Lord woke this man up and called him to mission work. The proverb is true that “wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies toward the heavens” (23:5). Jesus told us to store up treasure in heaven, where none of the natural effects of decay can destroy or diminish it!

In similar monetary terms, we are told, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it” (23:23). If there is a truth claim that costs nothing, this verse tells us it certainly is not the truth. Jesus said, “any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). Gaining the truth requires total surrender. But through surrender, God changes our lives and our eternity, which is infinitely valuable.

When we have our eyes on temporary things, we might become envious toward sinners due to their earthly comfort and ease. Instead, we need to “live in the fear of the LORD always,” because, “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off” (23:17-18). Be reminded of the very great and precious promises of God regarding the end-result of your love for Him. That hope will not be cut off if you remain with Jesus.

Pastor Alex

Teaching Pastor

The Rock Church

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