For the week of August 7, 2021 / 29 Av 5781
Torah: D’varim/Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:11 – 55:5 &
1 Shmuel/Samuel 20:18-42
Originally posted the week of August 3, 2002 / 25 Av 5762
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Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. (Isaiah 55:2)
Many of us live in what is called a consumer society. Whole nations are built on the need of its people to buy things. The accumulation of things is perceived as a mark of personal success. If the people in these societies ever stopped spending, whole economies would collapse.
If we ever took the time to ask ourselves if we really needed all the things we buy, I wonder what we would say. The fact is that we don’t stop to ask the question; we just continue doing what we have been doing – buying things, believing that the more things we have the better our lives will be.
But God does ask us the question. We hear him through Isaiah in this passage. We would hear him asking us this very same question regularly if we would take the time to listen.
The question is actually a rhetorical one – one that assumes the hearer already knows the answer. Rhetorical questions are necessary, because, while we know the answers, we usually don’t want to face up to them.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?
God wants us to take a good hard look at what we are giving ourselves and our resources to. This is not to say that none of us are doing good things. But we need to take inventory of our spending. Not just the spending of our money, but also of our time and energy. Are the things we are giving ourselves to really of benefit?
We purchase goods and services believing that they benefit us. But how many of us know in our hearts that all our consumerism is a big waste? Yet instead of changing our lifestyles, we just buy more.
Consumerism is another way we hide from God. It is so easy to fill our lives with things, even though they don’t provide us with what we claim they do.
The alternative? Listen to God:
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
It is in God and in his Word that we will find true satisfaction in life – that is if we stop and allow ourselves to hear the question.