Psalm 142:3b – In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me. (NIV 2011)
Are troubling snares set in your path these days? What about the snare of advertising, those countless forms of uninvited messages barraging our minds day in and day out? I realize that these may not feel distressing. But they are destructive, at least to the extent that we absorb their insidious lie: The stuff of this world can help us to attract and keep friends; can make us loved, accepted, secure, worry-free, and well-liked; and can give us a sense of companionship and belonging.
In truth, all these needs are legitimate, and that's why advertising has so much pull. But the world's offerings can't satisfy. That's a lie! I say: The lie, itself, is the actual snare!
Apparently, most people believe that they aren't affected by advertising. I'm one of them. At least I was — until I started de-cluttering my home. Then I wasn't so sure.
Really, it's not a matter of how much or how little we possess, but how deeply we are ensnared by the lie. Advertising creates a distorted sense of need and then promises solutions through an endless multitude of products. Advertising, or more specifically, the lie it carries, tempts us to be a covetous kind of people. As long as we covet temporal things, we won't seek God.
All of this came to my mind today when I read about the snare in Psalm 142. Of course, advertising is quite different from that snare in David's path, but the antidote is not. What gave David victory can give us victory, too.
Consider David's needs: He felt abandoned and alone, without caring friends and without security. Imagine what today's marketing would have offered David! But David would not have been lured. Notice what he writes:
Psalm 142:5-6a – I cry to you, O Lord; I say, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living." Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need. (NIV)
David seeks after God. Nothing else will do! He wants freedom to simply praise God and enjoy His goodness:
Psalm 142:6b-7a – Rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. (NIV)
This is a beautiful utterance of trust in God's ability to care for him. It is a sweet prayer in God's ears, and He will answer. The psalmist knows it. And he knows that God's goodness to him will attract trustworthy, caring kinds of people:
Psalm 142:7b – Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me. (NIV)
Here's the question: Even if the products of marketing could help you to be liked, wouldn't you prefer to draw those who are attracted by God's goodness in your life?
Prayer: O Lord, set us free from any craving for temporal things so that we may seek You with all our hearts. May Your goodness to us draw those who delight in giving You the glory. Amen.
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