A couple of weeks back I was given the opportunity to take a family vacation to the beach. Being at the beach with my family and my children was very enjoyable. We played, swam, napped, and ate well. This beach trip provided a fun time, especially for Tucker and I. Tucker is old enough now to play in the ocean and on the beach. Tucker is maturing in such ways that he practiced discretion and patience with one of the most infamous and fantastic architectural masterpieces that the white sugar sand of Orange Beach could provide. Yes! I am the Dad who obsessively builds a sandcastle while his 3 year old stands by anxiously awaiting the destruction phase of the project.
While building the castle with Tucker, I was reminded of my past sermon series at the Downtown Campus. The previous series was on Nehemiah. The skinny on Nehemiah is that he was a Jewish diplomat serving in the inner courts of the most powerful man on Earth, Artaxerxes, king of the Persian Empire. Nehemiah hears that the city of his heritage and God, Jerusalem, lies in ruins. The walls are broken, the city is broken, and thus, susceptible to every band of ruthless raiders. Not to mention, a disgrace to the name of the God over all creation. After hearing, praying, calculating, and planning, Nehemiah asks for leave from his very important position to rebuild the wall, the city, and ultimately the faith of the Jewish people.
As I meticulously and cautiously crafted my castle, I told the Nehemiah story to Tucker again. It was a super-spiritual moment for me in which I assumed the God-given destiny of teaching my son about the sovereignty and faithfulness of an unchanging God. As I built the walls surrounding my castle, I finished my spiritual moment by asking Tucker, “Do you want to be Nehemiah and help me with the wall?” In that sacred moment the words of my preschooler rang more true that any from my super-spiritual story revealing the heart of every man. He said very simply and innocently, “I want to be God!”
In the great narrative of life, Tuck’s words ring so true. All men and women wish to be God at more moments than we even realize. Every claim that God is unfair, every wish for a different life, every frustration with one another, every refusal to forgive, every refusal to be forgiven, and every sin is rooted in this simple statement, “I want to be God!”
We see the picture in Genesis when Satan says to Eve, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” and she eats.[i]
We see the struggle in a more positive light regarding forgiveness of his brothers, when Joseph says, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?” and he forgives.[ii]
We see it in the description of Satan’s life purpose, “I will ascend to heaven, above the stars of God. I will set my throne on high” and he is thrown down.[iii]
We read it from the revelator John saying, “Everyone who practices sin practices lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness.”[iv]
The simple truth of all these Scriptures and Tuck’s statement is this: We can’t sit in the seat of God. By “can’t” I mean we have no capacity to hold, fill, and maintain the seat, but I also mean we will be opposed by God for attempting to sit in His chair.
God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.[v]
In all that you face today, refuse to take the chair, but do build the wall.
[i] Genesis 3:4-5
[ii] Genesis 50:19
[iii] Isaiah 14:13
[iv] 1 John 3:4
[v] James 4:7