Devotion: Our Hearts are Prone to Wander

“You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear.  Today you are driving me from the Land, and I will be hidden from your presence, I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
Genesis 4:12-13

One of the deepest longings in a man is a restless and wandering heart.  In Genesis, we are told that this is due to our disobedience, self-centeredness and pride that Cain represents.  And to wander is a devastating punishment.

The ancient story of Ulysses shows another man prone to wander once life became too routine:

“Ulysses was now safe at home, after twenty years of warfare and adventure, and at first greatly enjoyed the quiet and peace of his home life; but after a while these tame joys grew wearisome and he decided to renew his wanderings.  He therefore prepared a fleet and sailed “out into the West” whence he never returned…”
And the great song Come Thou Fount has the lines:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!

Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above. 

In the song there is a plea that God would bind our wandering heart to Him…that He would be a stabilizing force in our lives as we tend wander and the leave the very things that we love.

For men, we daily struggle against wandering hearts.  Whether its actively pursuing an affair, or passively observing pornography.  Whether its an actively amounting piles of debt, or passively gambling away our savings.  We long for something different, and are inevitably left exhausted, empty, and chasing the next adventure from “whence we will never return.”

The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ took the very punishment Cain described for us so we no longer have to wander like Ulysses out into the black unknown alone.
      1) hidden from your presence:  When Christ cries out on the cross “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me,” He is feeling the hiddenness of God
      2)  restless wanderer on the earth:  Christ says that while “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His Head” and so He became the restless wanderer.

       3)  whoever finds me will kill me:  Once they realized who Jesus Christ was claiming to be they crucified Him.

Instead of wandering in search of fulfillment, Christ invites us to follow Him onto His well-trodden path.

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