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I can get satisfaction

The Rolling Stones famously, and to the annoyance of grammarians, sang, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” And that is a shame. They could have got satisfaction had they looked in the right place. I was reminded of this when, in Spurgeon’s devotional book, “God’s Treasury,”[1] his text was Jeremiah 31:14, “…and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the Lord.”

The problem for most people before and since the days of the Stones song, is that they chased satisfaction in pleasure, wealth and so on. In other words, they sought to be satisfied in the things that God has made and not in God himself. Solomon, the King of Israel whose wisdom was renowned, writing in the book of Ecclesiastes, tells of his pursuit of meaning in wisdom, in pleasure, in riches, in work and so on. As King, with untold wealth and free time he could pursue each to its fullness. In the end he came to this conclusion, (and he fronts up the book with it), “Meaningless! Meaningless!...Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” Several thousand years before the Rolling Stones, Solomon knew what it meant to find no satisfaction in all these things.

So why do we chase them? The answer is that we were made to worship and adore God and find satisfaction in all that he is for us. But instead we edge God out of the picture and proclaim ourselves to be masters and mistresses of our own destiny. But the heart is still trained to worship. You see that in the adoration of fans at the latest boy band, at the chants of the football fans and so on. But we also see glimpses of it in our wonderment at a fantastic scene or our delight in a great piece of music. So we are worshipping, but instead of worshipping the Creator we worship the things he has created and we, unsurprisingly, find no satisfaction in them. They are finite and can only bring so much pleasure.

This chase after something meaningful is, I am convinced, what lies behind alcoholism and gambling and so many other addictions. And it is why so many chase the big deal, the ideal kids, the perfect husband or wife (and jettison him or her as soon as they find out they are imperfect after all) and so on. All are distorted forms of worship. They are attempts to find meaning and identity from the way we are perceived or from artificial stimulants. We have forgotten that our true meaning and identity comes from him who made us in his image.

Jeremiah reminds us that true satisfaction comes from God’s goodness and, in fact, is his goodness. His very goodness towards us and in himself is an eternal source of satisfaction to his people. But you will notice that the apprehension of that is for a specific group of people. They are those whom the Lord calls “my people.” Unless we have given ourselves to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will not find this satisfaction. Unless our eyes have been opened by the Holy Spirit to be able to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8), the idea of being satisfied in the goodness of God will seem weird, alien and unrealistic. But those who have had even a glimpse of the true goodness of God will never be fully satisfied without it.

I will allow Spurgeon the last word; “It is no wonder that the Lord’s people should be satisfied with the goodness of the Lord. Here is goodness without mixture, bounty without stint, mercy without chiding, love without change, favor without reserve. If God’s goodness does not satisfy us, what will? What! are we still groaning? Surely there is wrong desire within if it be one which God’s goodness does not satisfy.”[2]



[1] Charles H. Spurgeon, God’s Treasury: The Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith (Belfast: Ambassador, 2000), 167.

[2] Spurgeon, God’s Treasury, 167.

 

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