Read Hosea 13
Focus on verse 6
The American Dream…I have often wondered exactly what this dream looks like? It would seem that it is different to different people. It used to be to own a home in a nice safe neighborhood, with a new car in the driveway and secure job and a healthy retirement plan. Many Americans have achieved that dream, many others are still dreaming. Currently it would seem the American Dream is a little more nebulous. It seems that regardless of how much a person has already accumulated, there is a perception that they need just a little more to get to “the dream”. This subtle need to acquire more is a form of deception; we might call it “wealth deception”.
The reason wealth deception is harmful to us is that it blinds us to our genuine needs.
In today’s reading in Ezekiel God says of Israel,
But when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me.” (v. 6)
This pattern of becoming arrogant and self-reliant when blessed with the prosperity that God blesses us with is not new. This is also why we sometime mistakenly equate physical poverty with spiritual holy living and material wealth with secular lifestyles. It is not that wealth is evil and poverty is good. That would be as misguided as it is to become deceived by the lure of wealth.
There is nothing intrinsically evil about enjoying the prosperity that God blesses us with despite the fact that we have done little to deserve it. What makes it evil is when we forget where it came from, when we begin to believe that it actually belongs to us rather than viewing it as God’s stuff that He has entrusted us to steward for Him. This not only keeps us from becoming greedy, but also prevents us from becoming self-reliant which leads to forgetting and abandoning God.
Perhaps if instead of pursuing the American Dream, we focused fully on pursuing God, we would find that what He has in store for us is so much more wonderful and amazing than the minuscule dream we can imagine that it would blow our mind.
Trusting that God has something better for us can be scary at times, because He typically leads us along paths that require us to learn to trust Him, however, the places of greatest blessing are often located on the other side of these dark frightening places.
He will also give us the option to stay where we believe we are safe, but this also is risky since what appears safe to us – may not be safe at all! The safest place for us to be at any time is in the center of God’s will – even it that happens to be what appears to us to be a swamp full of alligators.