Renewed Affections

Renewed Affections

Today’s Passage: Psalm 84
In 1977, NASA launched a pair of probes into space, on a course, eventually, out of our solar system. On those Voyager craft, they put a golden record (the height of technology!) 30 years later, Annie Druyan, the creative director behind the project, said the following about what she chose to include in The Sounds of Earth:

The first thing I found myself thinking of was a piece by Beethoven from Opus 130, something called the Cavatina Movement … When I [first] heard this piece of music … I thought … Beethoven, how can I ever repay you? What can I ever do for you that would be commensurate with what you’ve just given me? And so, as soon as [my colleague] said, “[This message is] going to last a thousand million years,” I thought of … this great, beautiful, sad piece of music, on which Beethoven had written in the margin … the word sehnsucht, which is German for “longing.” Part of what we wanted to capture in the Voyager message was this great longing we feel.

Longing. I think she was onto something there. Longing is so much of what it means to be human. We are creatures who yearn for more. We are creatures driven by our desires. Ideally, I believe that we were created with a hunger for God. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God “has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” We were made to long for more than this world. We were made to long for God.

C. S. Lewis puts it so well:
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.

This weekend, we’re looking at Psalm 84, a beautiful song whose author(s) longed to be with God more than anything else in this world. Their hearts were set on that; being with God was the compass to their lives. Being near to God was their deepest affection.

Our affections are the deep longings of our hearts. They are what drive us. They are the source, ultimately, of what we think, say and do.

Psalm 84 is a beautiful song. And the idea of us being made to long after God is beautiful too. But we are sinners. Our hearts, so often, are not set on God. Our strongest desire – our deepest affection – is not to be with Him. So often, our minds are set on the things of this world. We believe the lie that what God offers us is not for our best. We’ve been doing that since the fall. Why did Eve eat from the tree of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil? Says Genesis 3, because she saw that it was good for food, and pleasing to the eye, and desirable for gaining wisdom (Gen 3:6). She became convinced that it, not God, would best provide for her.

We were made to long. We are always driven by our affections, our deep desires. If we want to be holy, then what we need is for our deepest desire to be for God.

The good news is that our hearts can be rewired. Our affections can be restored to Christ. Oh, that God would captivate us with His goodness – and that we would be transformed by His Spirit.

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