We Don't Need God
America doesn’t need God!
You don’t need God!
We are a desire, appetite, pleasure, entertainment, and need-driven society of self-absorbed individualists. Think about it. We need more: more money, more time, more clothes, more friends, more investments, more benefits, more savings, more life insurance, more opportunities, and more sex. We need a better job, better food, better healthcare and better retirement. We need a bigger house, a newer car, a vacation, a vacation home, a recreational vehicle, a swimming pool, a nursing home policy, and a younger (more eager) lover.
But we don’t need God.
The truth is, we’ve already got too much: We’re too healthy, too secure, too well off financially, too blessed to even need God. With all of our interests and energy focused on ourselves, we will not tolerate something that distracts form us, something that requires us to share ourselves with an unseen Deity. God would surely demand something of us, and that would divide our interest. It would be counterproductive.
If we needed God that would mortally wound our egos. We would be inwardly confessing that we are not sufficient within ourselves, that we require outside help. We would be admitting our incompleteness, that we are mere mortals and not gods after all.
If we needed God it would require adjustments in our goals, priorities, values, and habits. We would have to end illicit relationships and mend broken ones; we would have to take a moral stand; and we would be under obligation to discover God’s will for our lives and do it.
Think about the effort, time, money, and concentration needing God would entail. The changes it would involve would be numerous, and the investment in Bible study, prayer, and church attendance would rob us of many hours of pleasure.
It’s just not worth it!
Why entangle ourselves in this elusive, immaterial kingdom of God when it offers us little immediate gratification? Why would we commit to a carefully disciplined lifestyle including restrictive teachings, religious dogmas, rituals, and ceremonies, when there are no tangible benefits? And who wants to be bothered with church goin’ and doin’?
We don’t need God – at least not now. But if we ever dohe’s always eager to jump at the chance to help us, to forgive, save and restore us. Meanwhile, why take him off his shelf,
Why bother him? If we can ever use him we’ll let him know. He needn’t call us. We’ll call him if anything changes.
We’ve all heard the saying: “There are no atheists in foxholes,” apparently, if we don’t need a foxhole, we don’t need God either. But eventually the artillery of the enemy may take aim at us. The dreaded storm may come, we could lose a job, lose our health, suffer financial ruin, a catastrophe may sweep down upon us, or famine, or war –obviously the hour of our death, though uninvited, will arrive. We may need a refuge tomorrow. Will we be able to find the Shelter? Maybe the shelter door will have been shut and sealed by God, the way he sealed the door on the ark he had Noah build.
Often, those who come to God in a last-hope crisis are not coming to him at all. They are just running to the nearest available shelter. Once the crisis passes, they will leave the shelter and go back to life as usual. Hey, once our needs are met, the shelter has served its purpose; there’s no need to set up housekeeping in the shelter.
We recall how Israel toyed with God, how they teased and tried him. They played with God like a cat plays with the mouse it has caught, until they decide to leave it to die or finally eat it. How frightening! How fatal – for them!
Now we see America doing the same thing. We know of family members and friends who are doing it. And we ourselves are doing it! We’re doing it to our own eternal destruction.
We don’t need God. Or, our need of him soon passes and we’re stubbornly off again on our insatiable quest for carnal pleasure.
Let’s review some verses of scripture from Psalm 106:
“When our fathers were in Egypt,
they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
and they rebelled by the …Red Sea.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up…
He saved them from the hand of the foe…
The waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them survived.
Then they believed his promises
and sang his praise.
But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his counsel.
They forgot the God who saved them,
who had done great things…
miracles in the land…
and awesome deeds…
They despised the pleasant land;
they did not believe his promise.
They grumbled in their tents
and did not obey the LORD.
They provoked the LORD to anger
by their wicked deeds…
By the waters of Meribah they
angered the LORD…
They rebelled against the Spirit of God…
They mingled with the nations
and adopted their customs.
They worshipped their idols…
They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons.
They shed innocent blood…
They defiled themselves by what they did.
Therefore the LORD was angry
with his people…
He handed them over to the nations,
and their foes ruled over them.
Their enemies oppressed them
and subjected them to their power.
Many times he delivered them,
but they were bent on rebellion
and they wasted away in their sin.”
*(Verse 7 and selections through 43)
Israel didn’t need God. That is, they didn’t need him much, just from time to time. America doesn’t need God right now. But we will.
Why must we wait until we have a crisis, a desperate need of God before we give him our attention, our love, our loyalty? Why is it so hard to worship, pray and honor him? Why not come to God and worship him unselfishly, for nothing, free of charge, for who he is instead of for what he will do for us? We need to be in love with God, not for us, but for him.
Many marriages are doomed from the start because our love of the other person is just a carefullydisguised love of ourselves. We don’t actually love them. We love ourselvesand good cooking, good cleaning and good sex - but their value to us is the pleasure they bring us – they
must meet our selfish desires. That’s why husbands and wives are so impatient with each other, so unwilling to compromise and adjust. We just get a divorce. We don’t love that person; we love what that person does for us. That’s the way most of us love God.
We don’t need God. We just need him to do a bunch of prayer answering, blessing, providing and comforting. We cannot imagine going to hell, so we need barely enough of God to keep us from scorching; and we cannot see ourselves barred from heaven, so we need enough of God to serve as a passport into glory. But we don’t need God on a regular basis.
God is forced to limit his blessings to us. He must ration his gifts because we are such ingrates - we often try to bite the hand that feeds us. God must allow us to stay in trouble, stay poor, stay sick, and stay in a dead-end job or career – out of love for us. He knows our fickle hearts and what happens to us when all our needs are met. He must consider our ultimate well-being and greater good by not cooperating with our attempts to overcome all need of him. Pain and suffering and poverty often serve us better than comfort and ease. God knows how much we can safely own, how far we can go, and how much authority, power and opportunity we can handle before we walk off and leave him.
We have all seen people become obsessed or possessed by their good fortune, blessings, miracle, or position: God is deliberately shoved out. (Like America has expelled God from our land, like you no longer want him around.) People, and nations, outgrow their need of him. We have seen people get a new job, buy something, get married, have a child, get healed – and wham! They slam the door in God’s face. They desert him and the church. Why can’t we allow God to bless us? Why can’t we let him minister to us without losing or destroying us?
Jesus was forced to tell the crowd around him, after he had just fed them the day before by a clear miracle: “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill” (Jn. 6:26).
Deut. 6:5,10-13a, 17,18 “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength…
When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers… to give you – a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant – then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
Fear the LORD your God, serve him only. Be sure to keep the commands of the LORD your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. Do what is right and good in the LORD’S sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land that the LORD promised…”
We know how badly Israel failed because they never felt a consistent, lasting need of God.
“God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
These things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did…
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1Cor. 10:5,6,11,12).
We don’t need God. The world and our sinful activities are enough. We don’t have a need at the moment. We’re pretty comfortable right now.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne.” (Rev. 3:15-21).
Maybe we do need God!
Oda Shouse, Jr. 1999